• While I usually greatly enjoy the JPS commentaries because they include a great amount of information from Jewish tradition, history, etc., I am a bit disappointed with this book. The author seems to believe that many of the Biblical stories are myths or fairy tales. Here is a quote from the book: "The story itself is implausible as history and, as many scholars now agree, it is better viewed as imaginative storytelling, not unlike others that circulated in the Persian and Hellenistic periods among Jews of the Land of Israel and of the Diaspora." Here is another quote from the book: "...it would be a mistake to equate the Ahasuerus of Esther with a historical figure. Ahasuerus is no more a real historical personage than the obviously pseudo-historical “king of Nineveh” in Jonah or “Darius the Mede” in Daniel. These impossible royal personages are indicators of a fictional mode." The author also calls Esther a "comedy", "farce" and "burlesque". Here are a few more quotes from the book: "Understanding the Book of Esther as a comedy allows us to recognize that the threat to the Jews is not real." "It is in this light that we should understand Esther. The largest interpretive problems melt away if the story is taken as a farce or a comedy associated with a carnival-like festival." Sorry, but I have read Esther a few times and don't remember ever laughing. But don't get me wrong, there is a lot of material in the book that is useful. I just wish the author didn't try to go out of their way to make the story of Esther into a myth or fairy tale.