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Bibil Identifier bibil:246090
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) The Ruse of Zelophehad's Daughters
Author Aaron, David H.
Journal Hebrew Union College Annual (Volume: 80)
Year (Publication) 2009
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2009
Year (Copyright) 2011
Year (Reference) 2009
Language English
Pages 1-38 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract This essay evaluates a number of major claims regarding the history of inner-biblical interpretation. The case under consideration is the inheritance rights of women as expressed in the two stories that treat the brother-less daughters of Zelophehad. The present study asserts that the "event" is a fiction designed to undermine the common custom of antiquity, which was to allow for female inheritance whenever a father (or mother) deemed it their will. Also argued is that both passages treating this issue (Numbers 27 and 36) were penned within a single generation as part of an attempt to reform the standard practices in the face of changing post-exilic social circumstances. The dominant approach is to see two texts that are related thematically and which reference one another (tacitly or directly) as having emerged over centuries of literary evolution, with the later text responding as an interpretation or emendation of the earlier written tradition. This article argues that inner-biblical innovation is sometimes a literary ruse, constructed to undermine an otherwise stable social custom. The interpretive "development" is feigned, allowing biblical authors to acknowledge a longstanding practice even as they seek to subvert it.
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Old Testament (Introduction) : Theology : Themes : Inheritance
Thesaurus BiBIL : Old Testament (Introduction) : Theology : Themes : Woman
Pericopes Numbers 27
Numbers 36
Links Online document (PDF, French)
Last modification 2018-01-30