[Avodah] Identifying Achashverosh and Esther in Secular Sources

Prof. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Thu Feb 21 01:17:22 PST 2013

 From http://tinyurl.com/bblfpzm

In this article, we will explain how scholars were finally able to 
identify Achashverosh in secular sources. We will also show that 
Esther can be identified in secular sources as well. Finally, we will 
utilize these sources to shed light on the story of the Megillah.

Before we get to these sources, we have to point out that an 
important clue to the identity of Achashverosh is found in the book 
of Ezra. Achashverosh is mentioned at Ezra 4:6 in the context of 
other Persian kings. The simplest understanding of Ezra 4:6 and its 
surrounding verses is that Achashverosh is the Persian king who 
reigned after the Daryavesh who rebuilt the Temple,[1] but before 
Artachshasta. But what about the secular sources? Was there any 
Persian king known as Achashverosh or something close to that in these sources?
      Until the 19th century, a search in secular sources for a 
Persian king named Achashverosh or something close to that would have 
been an unsuccessful one. Our knowledge of the Persian kings from the 
Biblical period was coming entirely from the writings of Greek 
historians, and none of the names that they recorded were close to 
Achashverosh. The Greek historians (Herodotus, mid-5th cent. BCE, and 
the others who came after him) described the following Persian kings 
from the Biblical period: Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes.

See the above URL for more. YL

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