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Arguing with AsenethGentile Access to Israel's Living God in Jewish Antiquity$
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Jill Hicks-Keeton

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190878993

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190878993.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Arguing with Aseneth
Author(s):

Jill Hicks-Keeton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190878993.003.0001

The Introduction claims that the ancient romance Joseph and Aseneth moves a minor character in Genesis from obscurity to renown, weaving a new story whose main purpose was to intervene in ancient Jewish debates surrounding gentile access to Israel’s God. Aseneth’s story is a tale of the heroine’s transformation from exclusion to inclusion. It is simultaneously a transformative tale. For Second Temple-period thinkers, the epic of the Jewish people recounted in scriptural texts was a story that invited interpretation, interruption, and even intervention. Joseph and Aseneth participates in a broader literary phenomenon in Jewish antiquity wherein authors took up figures from Israel’s mythic past and crafted new stories as a means of explaining their own present and of envisioning collective futures. By incorporating a gentile woman and magnifying Aseneth’s role in Jewish history, Joseph and Aseneth changes the story. Aseneth’s ultimate inclusion makes possible the inclusion of others originally excluded.

Keywords:   Second Temple Judaism, Joseph and Aseneth, conversion, Jew/gentile boundaries, pseudepigrapha, rewritten Bible, living God, Jewish identity, apostle Paul, ethnicity

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