Joseph IBN Kaspi on the secret meaning of the scroll of Esther

Robert Eisen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In his commentary on the Scroll of Esther, Joseph ibn Kaspi alludes to an esoteric reading to the story; however, he provides no information as to what this reading might be. In this article, an attempt is made to show, on the basis of clues in his other writings, that Kaspi treats the Esther story as an allegory unlocking important philosophical secrets about the nature of prophetic predictions. An attempt is also made to demonstrate that Kaspi saw these philosophical secrets as having important ramifications for understanding the process of Jewish history - in particular, the unfolding of the messianic era. Finally, it will be shown that Kaspi's esoteric understanding of the Esther story makes his commentary highly original within the tradition of medieval Jewish commentaries on Esther in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-408
Number of pages30
JournalRevue des Études Juives
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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