When Aseneth Met Joseph: A Late Antique Tale of the Biblical Patriarch and His Egyptian Wife…

Paperback | July 31, 2015

byRoss Shepard Kraemer

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This is the study of an anonymous ancient work, usually called Joseph and Aseneth, which narrates the transformation of the daughter of an Egyptian priest into an acceptable spouse for the biblical Joseph, whose marriage to Aseneth is given brief notice in Genesis. Kraemer takes issue with the scholarly consensus that the tale is a Jewish conversion story composed no later than the early second century C.E. Instead, she dates it to the third or fourth century C.E., and argues that, although no definitive answer is presently possible, it may well be a Christianaccount. This critique also raises larger issues about the dating and identification of many similar writings, known as pseudepigrapha. Kraemer reads its account of Aseneth's interactions with an angelic double of Joseph in the context of ancient accounts of encounters with powerful divine beings, including the sun god Helios, and of Neoplatonic ideas about the fate of souls. When Aseneth Met Joseph demonstrates the centrality ofideas about gender in the representation of Aseneth and, by extension, offers implications for broader concerns about gender in Late Antiquity.

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This is the study of an anonymous ancient work, usually called Joseph and Aseneth, which narrates the transformation of the daughter of an Egyptian priest into an acceptable spouse for the biblical Joseph, whose marriage to Aseneth is given brief notice in Genesis. Kraemer takes issue with the scholarly consensus that the tale is a Jew...

Ross Shepard Kraemer is Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at Brown University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 0.98 inPublished:July 31, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190253991

ISBN - 13:9780190253998

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAbbreviations1. IntroductionPart I: Reinterpreting Aseneth2. Composing Aseneth: The Construction of Aseneth out of Traditional Elements and Techniques3. Recasting Aseneth: The Enhancement of Traditional Elements in the Longer Reconstruction4. Aseneth and the Adjuration of Angels5. Aseneth and Mystical Transformation in the Hekhalot Traditions6. Aseneth and Late Antique Religious Sensibilities7. Why Is Aseneth a Woman? The Use and Significance of Gender in the Aseneth StoriesPart II: Relocating Aseneth8. The Dating of Aseneth Reconsidered9. The Authorial Identity of Aseneth Reconsidered10. The Provenance of Aseneth Reconsidered11. Aseneth ReconsideredAppendix: Aseneth in Rabbinic TraditionsBibliographyIndex of Ancient SourcesIndex of Modern AuthorsIndex of Subjects

Editorial Reviews

"A challenging, provocative and refreshing book that should help to bring Joseph and Aseneth closer to classicists and to ancient historians... Kraemer's work is an impressive and dynamic display of scholarship and an excellent point of departure for any future exploration of Joseph andAseneth." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review