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Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 243 Reviews fmal chapter, and the cultural valences of those cultural situations in which the mother-in-law controls the daughter-in-Iaw's life. Untreated are literary-critical concerns about the absence of motives and the naturalizing of readings. For example, Nielsen sees Ruth as motivated to produce a child for Naomi's line (she "dares with all her might to carry on the family which she had bound herself to through marriage to Mahlon"), but the book never ascribes to her this motive; similarly, she insists that Tamar's motive is the perpetuation of Judah's line, while it may have been a concern for her own needs, or even, as the folktale motif of the dangerous bride suggests, the death of Judah himself. The more conventional approach is again, however, a hallmark of this series. The Old Testament Library has found a permanent home on the bookshelves of many a Christian minister and not a few rabbis. This newest addition, with its attention to intertextual concerns, women's narratives, and a promising move toward analysis in light of the author's political needs, will fmd a welcome place with its companion volumes. Should the reader want more detailed discussion of philological analysis, feminist treatments, historical implications, or Jewish interpretation, the select bibliography offers a helpful starting point. Amy-Jill Levine Vanderbilt Divinity School Nashville, TN 37240 amy-jill.levine@vanderbilt.edu WOMEN ON THE BIBLICAL ROAD: RUTH, NAOMI, AND THE FEMALE JOURNEY. By Mishael Maswari Caspi and Rachel S. Havrelock. pp. xiv + 219. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1996. Paper, $28. While feminist postmodern scholars have rejected essentialist claims about women during the last decade, Mishael Maswari Caspi and Rachel S. Havrelock consider the book of Ruth a "journey cycle" with "a uniquely female twist" (p. 65). The biblical narrator blended the conventions of female and male journey stories to describe the journey of Ruth from Moab to Israel. Consequently, "traditional roles are overturned in the narrative switch" (p. 129), and women take central roles, the "most stunning aspect" (p. 129) in the book of Ruth. Five chapters attempt to prove this thesis by "retelling, reframing, and reimagining" (p. 75) the story of Ruth. Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 244 Reviews Literary analysis, historical considerations, the history of interpretation, and tradition criticism infonn the endeavor. Chapter one describes the female and the male journey stories of Genesis, because Caspi and Havrelock consider the book of Ruth as a synthesis of these stories. In Genesis the journey of the women follows the pattern of the monthly cycle. Eve, Sarah, Rebekkah, Rachel, Leah, and Tamar discover their relationship with God through the experience of barrenness , pregnancy, and birth. The journey of the men probes "the external environment for signs of God" (p. 12). Adam, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob leave their home, wander around in the land, and discover their relationship with God through the cycles of nature. Chapter two discusses the authorship of the book of Ruth in the lust part. Caspi and Havrelock show that this biblical book originated from "a female oral tradition" still recognizable in the "female chorus" in Ruth 1:19 and 4:14-15. The tradition was transmitted orally for centuries and became the basis for the novella written by a woman during the reign of Solomon. The narrator attributed the various elements of the female and the male journey stories to Ruth, and so the book of Ruth became "a model for understanding the journeys of women in the Bible" (p. 69). A second part offers selected and very useful readings from the midrashim and the targumim. In contrast to the strong role of Ruth in the biblical narrative, these interpretations present a different view: "Ruth, the female hero, was often cast into a role of submission by the rabbis and writers of midrash" (p. 91). They cast the book of Ruth "from a female domain into a male one" (p. 90). Chapter three considers the book of Ruth as a piece of "propaganda" (p. 107) within the historical context of the reign of Solomon. Caspi and Havrelock Imd the monarchical the most convincing period because references...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 243-246
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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