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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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“The Living God” and the Provenance of Joseph and Aseneth

“The Living God” and the Provenance of Joseph and Aseneth

Chapter:
(p.16) 1 “The Living God” and the Provenance of Joseph and Aseneth
Source:
Arguing with Aseneth
Author(s):

Jill Hicks-Keeton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190878993.003.0002

Chapter 1 addresses the disputed date and provenance of Joseph and Aseneth. The question of whether the tale is “Jewish or Christian?” is the central frame in which its provenance has traditionally been sought. Yet, this formulation assumes that “Judaism” and “Christianity” were distinct entities without overlap, when it is now widely acknowledged that they were not easily separable in antiquity. This chapter suggests that the question of whether Joseph and Aseneth is Jewish or gentile is more profitable for contextualizing Aseneth’s tale and offers fresh evidence for historicizing its origins in Judaism of Greco-Roman Egypt. Placing the narrative’s concerns for boundary-regulation alongside the discursive projects of other ancient writers who engaged the story of the patriarch Joseph suggests that the author of Joseph and Aseneth was a participant in an ongoing Hellenistic Jewish interpretive tradition in Egypt that used Joseph’s tale as a platform for marking and maintaining boundaries.

Keywords:   Second Temple Judaism, Joseph and Aseneth, provenance, Hellenistic Egypt, Jew/gentile boundaries, Jubilees, Joseph in antiquity, Philo, Jewish identity, ethnicity

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