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No One Better

Essays in Honour of Dr. Norman H. Young

Edited By Kayle B. de Waal and Robert K. McIver

In honour of the work and legacy of Norman H. Young, this compilation of essays covers a range of topics on the Old Testament, New Testament, mission, sociology of religion, identity, and church history. The Old Testament essays include typological readings of Esther, the goodness of God, and the centrality of the cross in understanding all of Scripture. The New Testament essays reflect research in the Gospel of Matthew, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the book of Revelation, offering new insight into the interpretation of the Apocalypse. Additional essays provide focus on mission, identity, and sociology of religion. This cutting-edge collection breaks fresh ground in research and analysis, bringing the latest scholarship to bear on each chosen topic.
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Finding Christ in a Godless Text: The Book of Esther and Christian Typology



Newbold College

The Hebrew text of Esther makes no explicit reference to the God of Israel, nor indeed to any of the gods of the Persian Empire. Also absent is any mention of religious practices such as prayer, circumcision or Sabbath observance, even when, in some instances, they would seem easier to include than to exclude. For example, in Esther fasting is not accompanied by prayer as it habitually is elsewhere in the Old Testament (e.g. Neh 1:4; Ps 35:14), nor with any expressly stated intention of interceding with God.1 Such features have troubled many readers who have pondered the book’s place in the biblical canon.2 Arising in part from such concerns, Esther’s godless text has been accommodated to a theistic reading by the use of many strategies.3

My particular focus here is to investigate how Christian interpreters have read the text from an avowedly typological perspective so as to enable an explicitly theistic, or even specifically Christological, reading of Esther. It is a pleasure to offer this study to honour my friend and former colleague Norman Young, with whom I have had many stimulating conversations over the years on the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.

The following definition of typology sets out the classic position.

In typology the interpreter finds a correspondence in one or more respects between a person, event, or thing in the Old Testament and a person,...

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