Counter-stories in the Bible: Rebekah and her bridegroom, Abraham's servant

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Abstract

Interpretations of "the Wooing of Rebekah" (Gen, 24) tended to banalize Rebekah's position. The activation of her perspective, through a close reading of the text, will radically change our understanding of the story, turning it into a tale about bridegroom-swapping. The analysis of Gen. 24 will lead into a broader discussion of counter-stories in the biblical narrative. It is my contention that behind every biblical story there is a latent counter-story that takes part in a conflict of ideologies. The biblical narrative is a polyphony of human perspectives, which refects a hierarchy of clashing human agendas, whose conflict ultimately serves a divine agenda. Many of the counter-stories in the Bible are driven by women: the divine agenda, which requires voices that are lower in the hierarchy in order to undermine higher ones, maintains a continued coalition with women. This coalition opposes patriarchal and national voices. My analysis is meant to demonstrate how listening to female voices in the biblical narrative increases the text's exhaustion and can establish a significant factor in the biblical plots and meanings. In doing so we are not projecting on the text an interpretation imposed a priori by a feminist reading strategy, but rather tread its main road.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-323
Number of pages49
JournalProoftexts - Journal of Jewish Literature History
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

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