The Introduction claims that the ancient romance Joseph and Aseneth moves a minor character in Genesis from obscurity to renown, weaving a new story whose main purpose was to intervene in ancient Jewish debates surrounding gentile access to Israel’s God. Aseneth’s story is a tale of the heroine’s transformation from exclusion to inclusion. It is simultaneously a transformative tale. For Second Temple-period thinkers, the epic of the Jewish people recounted in scriptural texts was a story that invited interpretation, interruption, and even intervention. Joseph and Aseneth participates in a broader literary phenomenon in Jewish antiquity wherein authors took up figures from Israel’s mythic past and crafted new stories as a means of explaining their own present and of envisioning collective futures. By incorporating a gentile woman and magnifying Aseneth’s role in Jewish history, Joseph and Aseneth changes the story. Aseneth’s ultimate inclusion makes possible the inclusion of others originally excluded.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.