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


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In ‘her’ book, Ruth is linked to Rachel, Leah, and Tamar, bringing Ruth into the assembly of matriarchs and tricksters. Sexuality is a significant component of Ruth's trickster‐ness. The ‘did they or did they not’ question raised by the threshing‐floor encounter between Ruth and Boaz has been much discussed among scholars. A comic reading of Ruth 3, however, does not require an ‘answer’, but instead revels in the tantalizing possibilities. Following the events of chapter 3, the story shifts away from being the story of Ruth and Naomi into the all‐to‐familiar patriarchal territory of men defining the destinies of women. For feminist critique, Ruth's movement from woman to matriarch remains problematic, yet the Moabite Ruth's entry into patriarchal society and into the line of David remains a comic triumph. The comedy emphasizes and celebrates the attributes of Ruth and Naomi, as it also undercuts the patriarchal context into which it is subsumed.

Keywords: Boaz; comedy; matriarch; Naomi; Ruth; sexuality; trickster

Chapter.  7196 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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