Seduction and Recognition in the Story of Judah and Tamar and the Book of Ruth
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 23, Spring-Fall 5772-3/2012
- pp. 87-109
- Additional Information
The seduction of Lot by his daughters (Gen. 19:30–38) and of Judah by his daughter-in-law Tamar (Gen. 38), and the near-seduction of Boaz by Ruth the Moabite (Ruth 3), constitute the problematic background of the Davidic dynasty. In this article, I compare these three stories of female subterfuge and suggest that a “redemptive” thread can be traced over time. Following the deployment in these texts of the Hebrew verbs “to know” (y,d,‘) and “to recognize” (n,k,r) indicates an increasing acknowledgment of the other over the course of these narratives, towards an embrace of the stranger “under the wings of God” (Ruth 2:12). I suggest that this movement does not necessarily entail a breach of the Law—of the taboo against incest or forbidden marriage—but rather a redefinition of its line.