[Avodah] Identifying Achashverosh and Esther in Secular Sources
llevine at stevens.edu
Thu Feb 21 01:17:22 PST 2013
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, 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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