First Memories, Second Thoughts

in Loving Yusuf

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780226035864
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226035888 | DOI:
First Memories, Second Thoughts

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This chapter proposes the concept of cultural memory as the first in a small series of concepts that it puts forward as relevant for the interpretation of well-known—as well as ill-known—stories such as the one of Joseph's mishaps at the hands of a woman (Potiphar's wife). These stories circulate and shape minds and lives. The disciplines of philology are all based on this intellectual posture. Hence, on a gut level, the chapter tends to a qualified adherence to the tale's firm anchoring in the Hebrew Bible, as suggested by James Kugel in his study on biblical exegesis for which he uses this tale. Introducing the discursive genre of biblical exegesis Kugel calls “narrative expansion,” the subject of his book In Potiphar's House, he insists that “such narrative expansions are, by definition, exegetical because they are ultimately based on something that is in the text.”

Keywords: cultural memory; Joseph; philology; Hebrew Bible; James Kugel; biblical exegesis; narrative expansion; Potiphar; wife

Chapter.  8411 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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