Trickster Matriarchs: Lot's Daughters, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Tamar

Melissa A. Jackson

in Comedy and Feminist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199656776
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742170 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Trickster Matriarchs: Lot's Daughters, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Tamar

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The matriarchs and patriarchs of Genesis pass down through the generations a special family trait: trickery. Lot's daughters, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Tamar all exhibit the characteristics of the trickster, a humorous figure who prevails through alternative means such as deception, cunning, and sexuality, as power and position are not available to these marginal figures. These matriarchs maintain an ambiguous relationship to patriarchy, as they both preserve and undermine established society. This ambiguity creates difficulty for feminist critique in that the narratives celebrating these boundary‐crossing, subversive, survivalist figures are the same ones that reduce them merely to wombs whose ‘success’ is to bear sons. Comedy, serving its revelatory function, shows the incongruity between what is and what ought to be, so that viewing the trickster tales through the lens of comedy opens up interpretative options that themselves can aid in subverting established interpretations.

Keywords: comedy; Genesis; Leah; Lot's daughters; Rachel; Rebekah; Tamar; trickster

Chapter.  10308 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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