By Sandra Ladick Collins

The biblical tales of Lot's daughters, Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba percentage a lot in universal - singular girls who're left to depend upon their very own wits to accomplish a few degree of victory over the lads round them. Scholarly interpretation of those ladies usually reduces them to mere inventory characters who tell civic notions approximately Israel, the perennial underdog who, like those girls, achieves opposed to nice odds. Or, they mirror the trickery and ethical ambiguity inherent of their line as ancestresses of the home of David. notwithstanding, whilst learn for his or her gender info (and now not for what they could inform readers approximately Israel), one unearths girls who hire recommendations of deception and trickery, stimulated via person self-interest, with a purpose to effectively maneuver in the procedure to their profit. Such initiative may be noticeable as valorous: they retailer themselves via their very own pluck and ingenuity. hence, an in depth attention of those tales unearths that heroic biblical ladies hold their crucial guns upon and inside of themselves of their force, their get to the bottom of and their cleverness. utilizing equipment from biblical research in addition to folklore, this research identifies biblical ladies prompted via self-interest coupled with deception and an occurrence of the bedtrick, an example of sexual trickery that demanding situations the text's energy and gender dynamics. This id places Lot's daughters, Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba in league with girl heroes from people story and legend. by means of contrasting and evaluating universal motifs and activities with features verified via different non-biblical woman heroic narratives, powerful heroic subject matters can be found in all 4 narratives. this provides a dynamic argument for settling on the feminine biblical heroic. This paintings concludes that this new id of heroic ladies within the Bible profoundly impacts extra interpretation of the Bible.

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Extra resources for Weapons Upon Her Body: The Female Heroic in the Hebrew Bible

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Furthermore, the literary perspective offers some noteworthy ideas about persons and actions in the story. My intent is not to challenge the efficacy or import of these various perspectives. But I believe that these interpretations keep us from discovering much that is new or insightful about biblical women. As historians like Amos Funkenstein and Yosef Yerushalmi will each claim in their own way, what the Bible gives us is an idealized image of Israel as a people of God. By situating our reading and interpretations within this emblematic or theological framework, scholars continue to ask how women fit within that somewhat idealized notion.

But the Bible is not descriptive, as one would expect of objective history. Like others before him, Alter argues for the Bible’s roots in oral literature and folklore. 47 The focus for Alter is on the Bible as a narrative instrument through which theology and history are communicated to God’s people: Language in the biblical stories is never conceived as a transparent envelope for the narrated events, or as an aesthetic embellishment of them, but as an integral and dynamic component—an insistent dimension—of what is being narrated.

For our purposes, Genesis-Kings presents narratives replete with historical as well as literary elements which add to the texture and richness of the stories. From the patriarchal narratives of Genesis down to the monarchical accounts of 1 and 2 Kings, the stories selectively demonstrate the lives of people who walk in a special relationship with their God. The hero of these stories is the God of Israel. This added theological dimension impacts our interpretive approach. The continuing tension between the Bible’s own claims about God and divine intervention in light of our four non-theological stories provides the nexus for our continuing discussion.

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