Comedy and Feminist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible: A Subversive Collaboration

Hardcover | August 12, 2012

byMelissa Jackson

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Comedy is both relative, linked to a time and culture, and universal, found pervasively across time and culture. The Hebrew Bible contains comedy of this relative, yet universal nature. Melissa A. Jackson engages the Hebrew Bible via a comic reading and brings that reading into conversationwith feminist-critical interpretation, in resistance to any lingering stereotype that comedy is fundamentally non-serious or that feminist critique is fundamentally unsmiling. Dividing comic elements into categories of literary devices, psychological/social features, and psychological/social function, Jackson examines the narratives of a number of biblical characters for evidence of these comic elements. The characters include the trickster matriarchs, the women involvedin the infancy of Moses, Rahab, Deborah and Jael, Delilah, three of David's wives (Michal, Abigail, Bathsheba), Jezebel, Ruth, and Esther. Nine particularly instructive points of contact between comedy and feminist interpretation emerge: both (1) resist definition, (2) exist amidst a self/other, subject/object dichotomy, (3) emphasise and utilise context, (4) promote creativity, (5) acknowledge the concept of distancing, (6) worktowards revelation, (7) are subversive, (8) are concerned with containment and control, and (9) enable survival. The use of comedy as an interpretive lens for the Hebrew Bible is not without difficulties for feminist interpretation. While maintaining an uncomfortable, even painful, awareness of thehold patriarchy retains on the Hebrew Bible, feminist critics can still choose to allow comedy's revelatory, subversive, survivalist nature to do its work revealing, subverting, and surviving.

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Comedy is both relative, linked to a time and culture, and universal, found pervasively across time and culture. The Hebrew Bible contains comedy of this relative, yet universal nature. Melissa A. Jackson engages the Hebrew Bible via a comic reading and brings that reading into conversationwith feminist-critical interpretation, in resi...

Melissa, a native of North Carolina, did her undergraduate study in journalism and business at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Veering from that course of study took her to Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (Virginia), where she obtained a Master of Divinity and was subsequently ordained as a Baptist minister. Afte...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.98 inPublished:August 12, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199656770

ISBN - 13:9780199656776

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Table of Contents

1. An introduction to comedy2. Trickster matriarchs: Lot s daughters, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Tamar3. Shiphrah and Puah, Moses mother, Moses sister, Pharaoh s daughter4. Rahab5. Deborah and Jael6. Delilah7. David s wives: Michal, Abigail, Bathsheba8. Jezebel9. Ruth10. Esther11. Conclusions: comedy and the Hebrew Bible12. Conclusions: comedy, the Hebrew Bible, and feminist interpretation