A close examination of biblical theophany narratives reveals the existence of a
fixed set of elements. The use of the rubric "theophany narrative" allows for a
better understanding of the literary dynamics of these texts than the form-critical
model, which is usually applied to these stories. As a result, texts that have been
traditionally grouped according to a variety of genres—call narratives, annunciation
stories, dream reports—are here treated together. This study identifies the
following distinct stages in these narratives: (1) separation from society; (2) visual
and verbal encounter with the divine; (3) human response to the encounter, ranging
from fear to skepticism; and (4) externalization of the experience. Insofar as
each of these stages displays a range of literary strategies that highlight the
unique concerns of the particular narrative, a type-scene model proves to be most
useful as an interpretive key for these texts.
Transforming Comfort: Hermeneutics and Theology in the Haftarot of Consolation [Access article in PDF] Subject Headings:
Judaism -- Liturgy.
The selection and arrangement of lectionary texts are powerful tools for the
interpretation and transformation of Scripture. The most extensive example of
this phenomenon within the Jewish lectionary is the sequence of haftarot surrounding
the ninth of Av. The redactors of this haftarah sequence use strategies
of selection and arrangement to transform a collection of texts from Isa. 40-66
into a coherent unit with a dialogic structure and a defined sequence. While this
new liturgical unit is composed solely of biblical texts, it articulates a theology of
consolation that differs from that of its constituent texts in their biblical context.
In Isa. 40-66, reconciliation and redemption are inextricably linked to each other.
The haftarah sequence unhitches reconciliation from redemption and asserts that
even though redemption lies in the future, the reconciliation between God and
Israel occurs in the present in the midst of the worshiping community.
When Dvora Baron sought, in the absence of a Hebrew-speaking culture, to create
a vernacular literature, how did her associations and choices differ from those
of her male colleagues? How do those differences nuance our understanding of
the continuities and discontinuities with traditional Hebrew and religious texts
presented by a modern vernacular literature in the making? In her stories
"Genizah" (Holy burial, 1921) and "'Agunah" (Abandoned wife, 1920), Dvora
Baron's depiction of sermons sheds light both on the stylistic development of a
vernacular Hebrew literature at the turn of the twentieth century and on the
social implications of the burgeoning vernacular consciousness during that period.
Learning traditional Jewish texts orally and aurally, Baron was better
equipped than her literary peers to recognize the importance of representing the
juncture of voice and text in modern Hebrew literature. In her texts, she posed a
number of crucial social questions about Jewish literacy as well as about vernacular
literatures. Who is speaking and who is listening in traditional as well as in
modern Jewish literary culture? Who chooses to read and who chooses to hear?
Who must hear because they cannot read, and what do they lose, or gain, in the
process? Baron achieves a fine balance, in her representation of the relationship
between textually erudite orators and illiterate auditors, between the oral voice
and the literary text.
Blood, Identity, and Counter-Discourse: Rabbinic Writings on Menstruation [Access article in PDF] Subject Headings:
Fonrobert, Charlotte Elisheva. Menstrual purity: rabbinic and Christian reconstructions of Biblical gender.