Further, it is just this advent of a contemporaneous and newly developed genre in the 5th century BC that affords us with a unique opportunity that arises for the first time in the Persian era; specifically, the opportunity to utilize an additional tool, alongside traditional archaeology, in the effort to examine the historicity of the scriptural record. We must, of course, be careful about submitting the biblical text to a verification process that places these other sources on a level above the Bible in their assumed accuracy; still, comparisons and correlations can be attempted wherever various sources intersect as is the case during the reign of the Persian overlords.
With these thoughts in mind, a tripartite endeavor is pursued in the following paragraphs in which selected samples of 1 Scripture, 2 historical texts [i. Herodotus and Thucydides] and 3 archaeological artifacts are briefly compared on a king by king basis for the purpose of considering the historicity of Ezra and related sections of the Bible. As indicated above, Ezra begins our key passage with Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian empire.
Further, the correlations between Scripture and history get even tighter when archaeological artifacts are considered, one of the most important being the Cyrus Cylinder. This object, now located in the British Museum, was discovered in Babylon in and describes how Cyrus restored the gods and temples of his conquered subjects in Mesopotamia.
Located on the western fringe of the Persian domain and sorely lacking in political unity, the Greeks began their dustup with the Persians by attacking the city of Sardis in western Asia Minor.
In order to ensure that the empire struck back, Darius employed a memory device well suited to a busy monarch. However, here we take a diversion to America, to the city of Chicago in particular, to examine an archaeological artifact located in the Persian Gallery at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago. The most striking items in the exhibit are the colossal—and beautiful—animal head sculptures that come directly from Persepolis; yet, one rather small and nondescript item can serve our purposes in regard to an archaeological artifact related to Darius.
And so we come to Xerxes, and here both warfare and romance come to the forefront. Yet, despite his fame and fortune, he was not much of a catch. Indeed, based upon the similar portrayals in both Esther and Herodotus, it appears that the king had a terrible temper. In a similar vein, Herodotus relates a story of the wild anger of Xerxes when a newly built bridge was ruined in a storm. In a fit of rage, Xerxes had the bridge supervisors beheaded and the water itself whipped with a lash!
This object, which was found in Egypt, is located in Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York—a truly world class museum—and is inscribed with the name of Xerxes himself. Accordingly, our connections between the Bible, Herodotus, and archaeology continue to grow. In Israel, Jews this week celebrated the holiday of Purim. The centerpiece of the holiday is the biblical Book of Esther , a tale about an ancient Persian king whose evil viceroy, Haman, hatches a plot to kill the Jews of the kingdom.
- Four Persian Kings - HopeChannel.
- Classics of International Relations: Essays in Criticism and Appreciation;
- The Persian Empire (Bible History Online).
For most Israeli Jews, the holiday is an excuse to dress in costume and party. But for some in Israel — and in Iran — this story from the Bible is very much alive. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought up the biblical story in his contentious speech to Congress last year to urge US lawmakers to reject a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.
In his speech the day before the Jewish holiday, Netanyahu evoked the Book of Esther. A scroll of the biblical Book of Esther, read on the Jewish holiday of Purim. The large letters on the right spell out the names of the ten sons of Haman, the villain of the story. Last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Iran's supreme leader a modern-day version of the biblical villain.
He was not Iranian. A minor point, perhaps. But from a historical point of view, there is no written record outside the Bible of the events of the Book of Esther ever taking place.
Sections in this entry
An older Persian legend has a very similar plot line, though, and the Book of Esther could be a Jewish spin on that Persian tale, Eilam Gindin said. But at that time, we were just another ethnic group or nationality in the empire.
- Persia In the Bible.
- Introduction to the Story of Esther.
- Invisible Idiot?
Eilam Gindin admits it is not the nicest part of the book, and it may not reflect an actual historical event. On the 13th and final day of the holiday, Iranians leave the house and picnic.
What Does the Bible Say About Persia?
This video — as well as some respectable Iranian news sites, Eilam Gindin said — claim the tradition is meant to recall the ancient Persians who ran away from the massacring Jews of the biblical story. Eilam Gindin insists that modern-day politicized or anti-Semitic readings of the Book of Esther do not reflect the thousands of years of historical connection between Jews and Persians. Jews in Iran today live in peace. They usually live on good terms with their neighbors.
Most Iranians are not anti-Semitic or anti-Israel. For the last 37 years because of the political enmity, some people have been brainwashed on both sides to believe that the other side is bad. Yes, we are political enemies and there are bad people on both sides, but the nations are not enemies.