Communications in an Ancient Empire: An Innisian Reading of the Book of Esther

Menahem Blondheim, Elihu Katz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Harold Innis famously found that the empires of antiquity were based on models of communications that sustained centralized, hierarchical systems of politics, social structure, and culture. We find that the Book of Esther can serve as a corrective to Innis’s top-bottom perspective by revealing latent processes of counter-flow. Alongside the imperial network the book describes communication networks sustaining the peripheral perspective of minorities such as Jews and women scattered over the empire. Mildly subverting Innis we apply his notions of time bias and space bias to describe these two systems of communication densely inhabiting the Book of Esther.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationAt the Interface
Subtitle of host publicationProbing the Boundaries
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameAt the Interface: Probing the Boundaries
ISSN (Print)1570-7113

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


  • Book of Esther
  • Harold Innis
  • Jewish communications
  • Persian Empire
  • ancient empires
  • communication and religion
  • communication history
  • media history
  • orality and literacy
  • social networks
  • social organization
  • women and communication


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