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Hebrew Studies 31 (1990) 200 Reviews For all the above reasons I highly recommend this book to all who are interested in Hebrew Scripture, ancient Near Eastern law, and the history of women. For its bibliography alone it is a welcome addition to college and seminary libraries wherever the latter disciplines are studied. Mayer I. Gruber Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Beer Sheva.lsraeI84120 JOSEPH: A STORY OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. A TEXT THEORETICAL AND TEXTLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF GENESIS 37 AND 39-48. By Robert E. Longacre. Pp. xiv + 322. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1989. Cloth. The title and sub-titles give a good idea of the content of this book. It begins with a confession of faith regarding the antiquity and authenticity of the book, then goes on to describe the work literarily and linguistically. These perspectives are presented in four parts and eight chapters. The organization is confusing, with the chapters numbered consecutively but spread over three of the four parts (part 4 contains no chapters), while each of the "parts" has an unnumbered introduction. Part 1 contains a general introduction and a description of the "macrostructures" of the Joseph story; part 2 proposes a structural analysis according to verb form; part 3 discusses various aspects of direct speech ("participants, speech acts, and dialogue"); and part 4 gives a structural break-down of the text according to morpho-syntactic and literary criteria with a translation (Oen 37:2b-36, 39:1-45:28 only). What I fmd most laudable about this ~ork is the basic perception of the verbal system-though it is astounding that such major scholars as W. Richter and W. Gross, who have reached similar conclusions, are not even cited. What is most distressing is the mixing of categories. Let us begin with the latter flaw, since the introduction to part 1 provides one of the more blatant examples of the mixing of categories. There, the author asserts that we must "take the patriarchal narratives seriously and not simply as retrojective creations of a later age" (p. 12), and that one must "believe in the general coherence of the patriarchal narratives with the rest of the Pentateuch" (p. 13). Most disturbingly, he believes that only "as Hebrew Studies 31 (1990) 201 Reviews theists and as believers in divine providence [can] we get ourselves inside the henneneutic cartouche along with the writer and message that we are studying" and that "otherwise the story reduces to a pleasant pabulum" (p. 16). In these statements we fmd several categories confused. First there is a confusion of genres: the author wishes to study the Joseph story using the tools of linguistic and literary analysis, but he wishes the text to be in some sense a historical document-at least this is what I understand from the sources he quotes in favor of a unitary text (Bimson et a1.). We must either assume that he is blind to the belletristic aspects of this text and that he is using belletristic methods to study what he considers to be a historiographic document, or else that his assertions as to the historical validity of the document are irrelevant to the belletristic study of the story. However that may be, since the inception of the literary study of ancient texts the Joseph story has been taken seriously as a literary production. Even oldfashioned source critics can recognize the literary quality of the work. A few seam problems aside, there is little in a source-critical analysis that would stand in the way of a literary analysis of the text as it stands. Given the quality of this text, whether the present fonn of the text is the result of original unity or of a redactor's efforts is virtually immaterial for literary study. What apparently motivated Longacre's stance is the need for a seamless text on which to do discourse analysis. If the text were a hodgepodge of unrelated fragments, the analyst would have to distinguish between true discourse structural markers and accidental juxtapositions of in fact linguistically unrelated features.ยท Though there are not great numbers of such seam problems, Longacre's prejudice does require him to fit the apparently disparate chap...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 200-204
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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