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Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 256 Reviews around her interpretation (a step that Jacques Derrida recommends; see his Limited Inc., 1988, p. 141). "Why Ask My Name?" addresses questions that this reader has pondered , such as how some anonymous chamcters in the Hebrew Bible manage to linger in the reader's mind, long after an encounter with the narrative . Their identity comes through, even in that interplay with anonymity. Reinhartz explores this as well as how anonymity manages to destabilize chamcter, certainly an important issue. lbrough Reinhartz's detailed analysis of the presence of anonymity she shows anonymity to be something more than the monolithic existence of unnamed chamcters in Hebrew narrative . lbrough her patient, detailed exposition she shows anonymity to be a multi-faceted phenomenon with sophisticated nuances in individual passages . The book remains very accessible and readable throughout. Postmodemists and more traditional exegetes alike will find much of value in Reinhartz's work. Sarah J. Melcher Xavier University Cincinnati, OH 45207 melcher@xavier.xu.edu WOMAN AT THE WINDOW: BIBLICAL TALES OF OPPRESSION AND ESCAPE. By Nehama Aschkenasy. Pp. 181. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1998. Cloth. $39.95. Paper, $18.95. Using the image of the woman at the window as her keystone, Nehama Aschkenasy provides an interesting new look at pamdigmatic stories of female chamcters in the biblical text. Her stated intent is not to examine these tales from a "women's perspective," but to examine the meaning of these texts within the larger biblical context. In doing so, she first establishes the historical context of the metaphor of the woman at the window, and then explores its implications in her selected interpretive readings of biblical texts. The introduction explains the metaphor. Referring to the famous Phoenician ivory relief "Woman at the Window" from the eighth century B.C.E., as well as other similar portrayals found in the archaeological evi- Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 257 Reviews dence, she explains the context for her use of the image. From these portrayals she concludes that the image was linked to female sexuality and the fertility cults of the ancient world. Drawing upon Freud's interpretation of windows and other openings as symbolic sexual portals, she links the image to modem interpretations. She stresses that although a spatial image, confming the woman behind the window, it is also indicative of temporal marginality. Further, while noting that the image is more popularly a pagan image, she nevertheless suggests the status of most biblical female characters may also be indicated by this image. As she states, "The thesis of this study is that in its view of women, the Bible shuttles between its antipagan view of Israelite destiny and the nature-bound worldview of paganism.to The tales record spiritual and mental evolution not just physical stories on a horizontal plane. In many of the tales, she notes, "man is time and the woman is translated into the spatial element.to One can see that methodologically Aschkenasy is blending two strains of hermeneutical enterprise: historical critical and posbnodem. As she states, her treatment of the texts is not to impose alien modes of thought upon it, but to make the conscious present reveal the past to an extent that the past itself cannot do. She rejects the notion that she is reading against the text, but concludes that her midrashic style is what enables her to decode the fullness of the text. She calls her method a "geometric adjusbnent" of the position of the female character to enable this approach. She relies on the heterogeneity of authorial sources to allow her to search for the "hidden agenda, muffled voices, and countercultural attitudes" of the text she proposes to reveal via her "exegetical elasticity." One can see that this approach does indeed rely upon the rabbinic tradition of exegesis to the extent that in that tradition one can draw out detail out of proportion to its setting in the text in order to uncover significant meaning hidden within that text. This process, she claims, is not a betrayal of the text but is instead a heightened perception of it. The first chapter deals with the primary image of the women at...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 256-258
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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