Classics and Religious Studies


Date of this Version

January 2000


Published in Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible, Ed. David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, and Astrid B. Beck (Grand Rapids, MI: W. B. Eerdmans, 2000), pp. 426-27. Copyright © 2000 Eerdmans Publishing Company. Used by permission.


The book of Esther is unique in the Old Testament for having three distinct literary editions. Most familiar is that of the Masoretic text (MT), 10 chapters in Hebrew found in all Hebrew Bibles and most English translations. However, two Greek versions of Esther also exist, the Alpha (A) text, a Greek translation of a Hebrew version slightly different from the Masoretic text, and the Septuagint (LXX) Esther, a translation of the Masoretic text that has been altered and expanded enough that it should be considered a separate literary work from the Masoretic text Esther. The Septuagint version is canonical in the Orthodox churches.

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