Event Title

Fearless Foreign Women: Exploring Tamar And Ruth As Characters Within A Post-Exilic Debate on Intermarriage

Presenter Information

Rachel Sacks, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 325

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-28-2017 1:30 PM

End Date

4-28-2017 2:50 PM

Abstract

This research examines the influence of Genesis 38 on the Book of Ruth. Both texts feature women—Tamar in Genesis 38 and Ruth in the Book of Ruth—whose extraordinary actions result in the preservation of King David’s descendants. While the Book of Ruth draws on many received traditions, its use of Genesis 38 has been underappreciated and not fully understood. To explore this, I identify similarities in the stories, as well as the likely political purpose and historical context of each text. I apply the practice of retelling biblical stories to the Book of Ruth, and argue that evidence points to the Book of Ruth as a rewritten adaptation of Genesis 38 that advocated for intermarriage in Judean communities. The story was written as part of a larger tradition of post-exilic texts that use Genesis 38 as a basis for the debate on the legitimacy of intermarriage, which erupted under Ezra and Nehemiah during the Persian period.

Keywords:

Hebrew Bible, Genesis 38, Book of Ruth, rewritten Bible, intermarriage

Notes

Session I, Panel 7 - Political | Stories
Moderator: Joyce Babyak, Dean of Studies and Professor of Religion

Link to full text thesis at OhioLINK ETD Center:
http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=oberlin1509407369849818

Major

Religion; Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies

Advisor(s)

Margaret Kamitsuka, Religion

Project Mentor(s)

Cindy Chapman, Religion
Margaret Kamitsuka, Religion

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Apr 28th, 1:30 PM Apr 28th, 2:50 PM

Fearless Foreign Women: Exploring Tamar And Ruth As Characters Within A Post-Exilic Debate on Intermarriage

King Building 325

This research examines the influence of Genesis 38 on the Book of Ruth. Both texts feature women—Tamar in Genesis 38 and Ruth in the Book of Ruth—whose extraordinary actions result in the preservation of King David’s descendants. While the Book of Ruth draws on many received traditions, its use of Genesis 38 has been underappreciated and not fully understood. To explore this, I identify similarities in the stories, as well as the likely political purpose and historical context of each text. I apply the practice of retelling biblical stories to the Book of Ruth, and argue that evidence points to the Book of Ruth as a rewritten adaptation of Genesis 38 that advocated for intermarriage in Judean communities. The story was written as part of a larger tradition of post-exilic texts that use Genesis 38 as a basis for the debate on the legitimacy of intermarriage, which erupted under Ezra and Nehemiah during the Persian period.