Israel’s “Living God” in Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic History
Chapter 3 makes a new suggestion about the categories of inclusion operative in Joseph and Aseneth: Aseneth is anachronistically incorporated into the covenant forged by Israel’s “living God” at Sinai. Joseph and Aseneth’s portrayal of Israel’s “living God” as giver of life to Aseneth, a foreigner originally external to the covenant, is a revision of a Deuteronomic literary motif surrounding the epithet. Deuteronomy’s “living God” exercises ultimate authority over who lives and who dies and uses this prerogative, in part, to separate Israel from other nations. Joseph and Aseneth engaged and adapted this cultural repertoire to reflect on the proper relationship between Joseph and Aseneth and on the possibilities for the relationship between Aseneth and Israel’s God. Comparison with the narratives of the Deuteronomistic History, particularly that of David and Goliath, further illuminates the ideology that Joseph and Aseneth constructs surrounding the relationship of Israel’s “living God” to covenantal outsiders.
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