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Arguing with AsenethGentile Access to Israel's Living God in Jewish Antiquity$
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Jill Hicks-Keeton

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190878993

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190878993.001.0001

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Narratives of Life, Death, and the “Living God” in Hellenistic Judaism

Narratives of Life, Death, and the “Living God” in Hellenistic Judaism

(p.92) 4 Narratives of Life, Death, and the “Living God” in Hellenistic Judaism
Arguing with Aseneth

Jill Hicks-Keeton

Oxford University Press

An investigation into the appearances of the epithet “living God” in Esther OG, 3 Maccabees, and both versions of Greek Daniel (OG and TH) reveals that Greek-speaking Jewish authors understood and depicted Israel’s “living God” in a variety of ways. In all of these narratives, the epithet regulates boundaries, but the varying locations of the boundary lines in these texts reveal their differing emphases. While life and death appear throughout these stories as literary markers of inclusion and exclusion, respectively, the full-blown characterization of Israel’s “living God” as life-giving, creator God (as in Joseph and Aseneth) is not the meaning of the “living God” in Hellenistic Judaism. The epithet had a range of meanings—a fact which makes the distinctive aspects of Joseph and Aseneth’s living God motif all the more important for articulating the significance of this narrative in Second Temple Judaism.

Keywords:   Joseph and Aseneth, living God, Jew/gentile boundaries, rewritten Bible, Esther, 3 Maccabees, Daniel, Bel and the Dragon, Hellenistic Judaism, ethnicity

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