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esther -- novelizations


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#1 Peter T Chattaway

Peter T Chattaway

    He's fictional, but you can't have everything.

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 09:56 PM

I just got a parcel of "historical fiction" books I'm supposed to review, and one of them is Trudy J. Morgan-Cole's Esther: A Story of Courage (published by Review & Herald), and I've gotta say I am very curious to see how it compares to Gini Andrews' Esther: The Star and the Sceptre, a 1980 book published by Zondervan that was one of the very first novels I ever acquired (it was my payment for volunteering at our church's book table, IIRC); already I can see that both begin with a list of characters, but where Andrews uses asterisks to mark the fictitious ones, Morgan-Cole uses them to mark the biblical or historical ones.

Are there any other Esther novels that I should be aware of?

I feel obliged to say something about Esther movies, though I'm only aware of three -- one starring Joan Collins (gah!), one produced for TV as part of 'The Bible Collection' a few years ago (the same series that starred Richard Harris as Abraham, Ben Kingsley as Moses, Elizabeth Hurley as Delilah, Gary Oldman as Pontius Pilate, etc.), and an intriguingly self-critical film produced by Israeli director Amos Gitai, which draws fascinating parallels between the demonization of Haman in Jewish rituals at Purim and the marginalization of Palestinians today. Oh, plus there was that VeggieTales video, but I've never seen that particular one.

#2 MattPage

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 03:50 AM

I've seen the Veggie Tales one and the Bible collection one. The Veggie Tales one (and I've not seen many) seemed fairly typical of what I don't like about Veggie tales, basically airbrushing out all the parts of the story that they find distasteful. I'm perhaps not so much against this tatic in kids programmes, but its the fact that the stories never get beyond that for the adults that most bothers me.

In contrast I found that the Bible collection had me constantly thinking "Is that really in there?" and then checking it up and going - "yup!" Which is when bible movies are at their best for me. I don't think it was a great cinematic acheivement, but it was worth watching for the illumination it provided.

Matt

#3 Peter T Chattaway

Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 10:33 AM

MattPage wrote:
: In contrast I found that the Bible collection had me constantly thinking
: "Is that really in there?" and then checking it up and going - "yup!" Which
: is when bible movies are at their best for me.

Agreed. What was in their Esther film that you found especially surprising?

#4 MattPage

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 11:41 AM

Been a while since I've seen it, but it just seemed incredibly, well, seedy. I think the romanticised version of the story makes it seem wonderful that Esther got to have beauty treatment for a year before marrying a king. The film made me realise that pretty mush she was being forced into a sexual union with a spoilt child that neither her nor her relatives wanted to happen.

In fact having a llok at the bible I don't think I'd ever really clocked "Hareem" (2v8) and that she basically had to have sex with the king, so he could try them all out to see which one he wanted to be queen.

Matt

#5 Peter T Chattaway

Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 11:52 AM

MattPage wrote:
: Been a while since I've seen it, but it just seemed incredibly, well, seedy.
: I think the romanticised version of the story makes it seem wonderful
: that Esther got to have beauty treatment for a year before marrying a
: king. The film made me realise that pretty mush she was being forced
: into a sexual union with a spoilt child that neither her nor her relatives
: wanted to happen.

Ah, well, Gini Andrews' novel really plays up these aspects of the story -- Esther worries that the king might never call for her again, after that one night, and oh no, what if she were to get pregnant! etc. -- so none of that came as a surprise to me. But you're right, Sunday schools tend to get you thinking it was just a fun little beauty contest that all the girls enjoyed. (Whereas the seediness in Andrews' novel -- which is kind of a Christian romance novel -- was just the sort of thing a pre-adolescent boy like myself found intriguing. smile.gif )