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Joshua and Judges

edited by Athalya Brenner and Gale A. Yee

Publication Year: 2013

Joshua and Judges focuses attention on themes and tensions at the beginning of Israel's story in the Bible. How do these books represent conquest, war, trauma, violence against women and their marginalization? How does God appear to relate to these realities? And what do contemporary men and women do with biblical ambivalence?

Like other volumes in the Texts @ Contexts series, these essays de-center the often homogeneous first-world orientation of much biblical scholarship and open up new possibilities for discovery.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Series: Text @ Contexts


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

Other Books in the Series

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pp. vii-viii

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Series Preface, Updated: Texts in/at Life Contexts

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pp. ix-xiv

The discipline of biblical studies emerges from a particular cultural context; it is profoundly influenced by the assumptions and values of the Western European and North Atlantic, male-dominated, and largely Protestant environment in which it was born. ...


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pp. xv-xviii

List of Contributors

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pp. xix-xxii

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pp. 1-10

Land is central in Joshua and in Judges. It is defined as a pledged land, promised by the Hebrew God to his very own people. Much as the link between the God and his people is described as exclusive, later also as monogamist and monotheistic, so is the land. ...

Part I. What Do We Do, What Can We Do, about Joshua and Judges?

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1. The God of Joshua: An Ambivalent Field of Negotiation

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pp. 13-26

The contours of critical issues in the book of Joshua are relatively clear, even though these issues have not been settled in any consensus. For that reason, I do not need to engage further those critical questions, but can move to a post-critical probe of theological-interpretive matters concerning the text of Joshua. ...

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2. Joshua-Judges and Postcolonial Criticism

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pp. 27-38

With this essay, a Joshua/Judges veteran becomes a neophyte in postcolonial studies. Joshua grabbed my attention over forty years ago during an M.Div. seminar with Dr. Don Williams. An assigned paper on the Song of Deborah led me into new depths of critical study and new amazement with the accomplishments of women in the “patriarchal” Hebrew Bible. ...

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3. Teaching Bible Stories Critically: “They Did Not Spare a Soul”—The Book of Joshua in an Israeli Secular Education Environment

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pp. 39-68

The mind rebels against the cruel impression left by the story of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan.2 We cannot accept with equanimity the description of the Israelites’ passage like a storm from town to town, slaughtering the residents, men and women, young and old, setting fire to their cities, sometimes hanging their kings, ...

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4. Inside, Outside, or in Between: Feminist/Womanist Hermeneutical Challenges for Joshua and Judges

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pp. 69-90

When I think of biblical texts for empowering, inspiring, or comforting people, Joshua and Judges do not come to mind. Rarely have I heard sermons or lectures on these texts. I hear the occasional reference to Joshua and the battle of Jericho during African American history month, ...

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5. The Finns’ Holy War against the Soviet Union: The Use of War Rhetoric in Finnish History during the Second World War

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pp. 91-108

The Second World War was a traumatic experience for Finland. The nation had achieved national independence in 1917, after having been colonized by Sweden (from the twelfth century to the War of Finland, 1808–1809) and then part of the Russian Empire, although autonomous. ...

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6. Indigenous Helpers and Invader Homelands

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pp. 109-122

On the north bank of the Sandusky River, not far from the business district of Tiffin, Ohio, a bronze statue of the Indian Maid of Fort Ball keeps vigil over the city. She stands with relaxed serenity, her head bowed slightly so that her eyes welcome the onlooker. ...

Part II. Case Studies in Judges

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7. Women Frame the Book of Judges—How and Why?

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pp. 125-138

This article was originally written for a Festschrift in honor of my friend and colleague Yairah Amit, published in 2012. Hence, its contents and context are primarily academic: the wish to honor a colleague, as is so often done, by presenting a piece of writing within that colleague’s expertise, and utilizing her own scholarship for that purpose. ...

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8. Jael, ’eshet heber the Kenite: A Diviner?

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pp. 139-160

My experience in volunteering at an abused women’s shelter in Tel Aviv gave me firsthand acquaintance with violence against women in the Israeli community of the twenty-first century. I could hardly understand how it was possible for a woman in our “modern, democratic, egalitarian, and liberal” society to undergo and accept abusive, humiliating, and painful situations. ...

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9. Choosing Sides in Judges 4–5: Rethinking Representations of Jael

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pp. 161-174

Judges 4–5 juxtaposes two accounts of Jael’s murder of Sisera, one in prose (Judges 4) and the other in poetry (Judges 5).1 These texts, which describe an Israelite victory over the Canaanites, have long since attracted the interest of biblical scholars. ...

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10. The Woman Warrior Revisited: Jael, Fa Mulan, and American Orientalism

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pp. 175-190

I purchased the paperback version of Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior when it appeared in 1977. The irony is that I never read it until I had to teach it for a women’s studies class in the late 1980s. It was the concept of a Chinese woman warrior, not the book itself, that intrigued me as a Chinese American female: ...

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11. This Season You’ll be Wearing God: On the Manning of Gideon and the Undressing of the Israelites (Judges 6:1—8:32)

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pp. 191-208

In this essay I shall examine the process that shaped Gideon into being a Man. The process that made a Soldier Man out of him did not end until Gideon wore God the warrior, and God wore Gideon (Judg. 6:34); moreover, the process was fully realized only when Gideon undressed himself from Yhwh by creating the ephod, ...

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12. From the Margins to the Margins: Jephthah’s Daughter and Her Father

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pp. 209-234

My full-time teaching career is nearing its conclusion. In the next year or two, I hope to retire. If I had it to do over again, I surely would not choose a career in the same field, nor would I want to work at the same institution. And if I had to find one word to characterize my career, it would be marginalization. ...

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13. Delilah—A Forgotten Hero (Judges 16:4-21): A Cross-Cultural Narrative Reading

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pp. 235-256

The book of Judges presents some of the unforgettable female characters of the Hebrew Bible, and Delilah is one of the most famous figures among them. The history of interpretation has given much attention to this character since ancient days: much ink has been spilled and tons of paper has been used to narrate her story from different perspectives. ...

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14. Narrative Loss, the (Important) Role of Women, and Community in Judges 19

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pp. 257-274

This essay reflects research that began with a very different end in mind. Initially, I began research on Judges 19 with the intention of sorting out how the story functioned in the subsection of Judges 17–21, how that subsection fit within the wider narrative of the book of Judges, and how the author used the female figure to deliver the story. ...

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15. Judges 19: Text of Trauma

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pp. 275-290

Judges 19 tells the story of an unnamed woman who is gang raped, murdered, and dismembered. Though there has been significant scholarship on this passage from a variety of perspectives, there has been little or no scholarship that focuses on reading the text through a psychological lens. This essay aims to fill this gap. ...


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pp. 291-318

Author Index

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pp. 319-324

Scripture Index

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pp. 325-333

E-ISBN-13: 9781451426328
E-ISBN-10: 1451426321
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800699376
Print-ISBN-10: 0800699378

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Text @ Contexts