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The Bible and FeminismRemapping the Field$
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Yvonne Sherwood

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198722618

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198722618.001.0001

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Miriam ben Amram, or,

Miriam ben Amram, or,

How to Make Sense of the Absence of Women in the Genealogies of Levi (1 Chronicles 5:27–6:66)

(p.355) Chapter 20 Miriam ben Amram, or,
The Bible and Feminism

Ingeborg Löwisch

Oxford University Press

1 Chronicles 1–9 presents an archive of genealogies that performs memory and identities of Israel in a highly nuanced manner. Numerous references to women fulfil structural functions at the core of the genealogy performance, first and foremost in the genealogies of Judah. In contrast, the central genealogies of Levi only provide a single gendered fragment: they list Miriam as one of the ‘sons’ of Amram (5:29). Other Levite women, for example those listed in Exodus 6:16–25, are missing. Miriam herself is not formally linked to the many sisters that are mentioned in 1 Chronicles 1–9, nor are her capacities as musician, dancer, prophet, and leader brought into play. Embarking from this striking gap, the chapter addresses the question of how Bible texts that are predominantly male-centred can be read from a gender perspective, specifically in view of submitting them to a critical post-secular discourse on the Hebrew Bible and beyond.

Keywords:   1 Chronicles 1–9, genealogy, genealogies of Levi, Miriam, cultural memory, archive, Hebrew Bible, feminist exegesis

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