Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38) in Ancient Jewish Exegesis: Studies in Literary Form and Hermeneutics

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BRILL, 1997 - Religion - 412 pages
This exploration of Genesis 38 in three interpretive writings shows how new meanings emerge through encounters between the biblical text and later Jewish communities. A literary reading within the canon suggests that the story of Judah and Tamar points to the morally ambiguous origins of David's lineage. Ancient Jewish exegesis, however, challenges this understanding. "The Testament of Judah" interprets Genesis 38 as the story of a warrior king's tragic downfall. "Targum Neofiti" develops it to illustrate the concept "sanctification of the (divine) Name." and "Genesis Rabbah" portrays it as a series of providential events issuing in the royal and messianic lineage. Esther Marie Menn pioneers a fresh approach to the study of biblical interpretation by analyzing the relation between interpretative genre, altered plot structure, and cultural values.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
View of Israelite History Implied by the Presence of Genesis
78
Downfall of the Warrior King
107
Central Themes in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
166
Sanctification
214
Rabbinic Exegetical Traditions?
262
2526
292
Royal and Messianic Themes
310
Conclusions
355
Selected Bibliography
369
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Esther Marie Menn, Ph.D. (1995) University of Chicago Divinity School, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia.