This study aims to point out the literary and socio-historical relationship between the prayers of Esther (Est.4.17.11-26 (Addition C) (14)) and Judith (Jdt.9). By making use of a literary analysis in terms of syntax, discourse structure, language, style, rhetorical figures, form and tradition, a comparison is made between the prayers to point out the literary agreements and differences. Subsequently an attempt is made to interpret the prayers against the social background(s) within which they originated. The events in the prayers are especially brought into relation with the Maccabaean era (168 BCE – 37 CE) with the purpose of determining how the authors of each prayer associated their own historical situation with the events of the Maccabaean crisis (168 BCE – 162/161 BCE). The characters that each of the authors introduces to the readers have a definite influence in the interpretation of Esther and Judith’s prayers. It is for this reason that the author, or at least what is learned about him through the text, and his interpretation of the events within his social situation, is investigated. A further investigation concentrates on the strategy that the authors used in terms of ‘genre’, contents and organization with the purpose of conveying their message to their readers. Further, an attempt is made to combine the results of this study with the intention of identifying the possible Grundlage, which may be the basic form of the prayers as they were accepted into the LXX. A hypothesis is also stated at the end of this study about how the Grundlage may have developed and which possible events throughout history could have played a role in the final form of Esther and Judith’s prayers, as accepted into the LXX. The theory of Moore (1982: 594) that the close relation of Esther and Judith with Daniel can best be explained by a possible common biblical heritage, is discussed and measured at the hand of the hypothesis of a common Grundlage for the prayers. Zeitlin’s argument (1972: 14, 15-21) that the prayers existed on polemical grounds, is also measured against the proposal of a common Grundlage. The eventual purpose of this study is then to point out what details can be derived from texts that are compared with each other by means of a literary and socio-historical comparison.
Dissertation (Magister Artium (Ancient Languages and Culture))--University of Pretoria, 2006.