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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

The Additions: Introductory Issues.

1.

The six major Additions are as follows:

  • A. Mordecai's dream and the plot of the two eunuchs against the king.

  • B. The text of the king's edict authorizing the destruction of Persian Jewry.

  • C. The prayers of Mordecai and Esther.

  • D. Esther's approach to the king.

  • E. The edict reversing the decree of destruction.

  • F. The interpretation of Mordecai's dream, followed by the colophon.

2.

There is little doubt that the Additions are secondary to the body of the text, that is, not present in any Hebrew Vorlage. The Additions are not found in any of the standard versions of Esther, except those that are recognized as having been based on the LXX, such as Old Latin, Coptic, and Ethiopic as well as Sefer Jossipon, a tenth-century work in which Hebrew translations of Josephus' versions of the Additions are present (Moore 1977: 154). Origen (185?–254), in his Epistle to Africanus, 3, testifies that several Additions, namely the prayers of Esther and Mordecai (C) and the royal letters (B, E), did not appear in the Hebrew texts current in his own day. Because of their absence from the Hebrew, Jerome (340?–420) placed the Additions at the end of the canonical portion of his own Latin translation rather than in the locations in which they are found in LXX Esther. Finally, Additions A and F (Mordecai's dream and its interpretation) are not present in Josephus' paraphrase of Esther, though this is not evidence that they were not yet in existence at this time.

3.

Four of the Additions (A, C, D, F) give clear internal evidence of having been translated from Hebrew (though no Heb. source is extant) while Additions B and E, the royal edicts, are Greek compositions (Moore 1977: 155; 1982: lxx). All six Additions, however, probably had a Jewish origin (Moore 1977: 160), betraying the concerns and perspectives of diaspora Jewry. Their presence in the LXX and the Vulgate led the Christian church to regard them as canonical, and they were sanctioned by the Council of Carthage in 397 CE and by several later councils, including Trent in 1546. Luther and later Protestants, however, considered the Additions to be apocryphal rather than canonical.

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