Chapter

Zipporah’s Complaint: Moses Is Not Conscientious in the Deed!

Naomi Koltun-Fromm

in Hermeneutics of Holiness

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736485
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866427 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736485.003.0006
Zipporah’s Complaint: Moses Is Not Conscientious in the Deed!

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This chapter focuses on the person of Moses and the extra biblical tradition that he abandoned his conjugal life after God called to divine service. While the tradition is as old as Philo, it finds its full flourishing in the rabbinic writings. In a very similar form it is found also in Aphrahat’s Demonstrations and molds the foundation for his mystical celibate platform. This chapter traces the nuances and developments of this tradition, starting with its biblical roots in Exodus, suggesting that it was as attractive to the Rabbis as to Aphrahat, though they do not go as far as to conclude, as Aphrahat does, that celibacy is the only means to union with God, or to fulfilling the full extent of the divine law. This comparative exercise suggests a shared literary milieu available to all Aramaic reading biblical exegetes in the fourth century.

Keywords: Aphrahat; Rabbis; Moses; Celibacy

Chapter.  15952 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies ; Religious Studies

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