Ruth and Esther : Berit Olam Hardback
by Tim Beal; Tod Linafelt;
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Ruth and Esther : Berit Olam
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In Ruth, the first part of this volume, Tod Linafelt highlights the most unresolved and perplexing aspects of Ruth. In doing so he offers an interpretation he calls "unsettling." Linafelt states that it is unsettling in the sense that he often refuses to “settle” on a single, unequivocal meaning of a particular word, phrase, or theme. Rather he prefers to underscore the dual or even multiple meanings that the narrative so often has. Another way Ruth differs from other interpretations is that Linafelt entertains the possibility that there might be complexity or ambiguity with regard to the various characters’ motivations, the presentation of God, or the book’s purpose. In this commentary, Linafelt explores the ambiguities of meaning built into the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of the story to discover how these ambiguities carry over to the larger interpretive issues of characterization, theology, and purpose. He also lays forth an argument that the book of Ruth is intended to be read as an interlude between Judges and Samuel.
The second part of this volume focuses on Esther, a story of anti-Judaism that raises strikingly contemporary questions concerning relations between sexism, ethnocentrism, and national identity. In Esther Timothy Beal guides readers into the meaning of the story using rhetorical criticism. He asks questions without assuming that there must be answers and allows for complexity, perplexity, and the importance of accidents in the text. In essence, Beal emphasizes the particular over the general and the tentative over the continuous; however, he does not altogether dismiss the importance of broader interpretations of Esther, especially those focusing on narrative structure.
Chapters in Ruth are “The Bond between Ruth and Naomi,” “Finding Favor in Boaz’s Field,” “An Ambiguous Encounter in the Night,” and “Making It All Legal.”
Chapters in Esther are “Beginning with the End of Vashti: Esther 1:1-22,” “Remembering to Forget: Esther 2:1-4,” “New Family Dynamics: Esther 2:5-18,” “Coup: Esther 2:19-23,” “Politics of Anti-Judaism: Esther 3:1-15,” “Another Quarter: Esther 4:1-17,” “Face to Face: Esther 5:1-8,” “Fifty Cubits for Mordecai: Esther 5:9-14,” “Sleep Deserts: Esther 6:1-14,” “Coming Out Party: Esther 7:1- 10,” “Overwriting: Esther 8:1-17,” and “Aftermath: Esther 9:1—10:3.”
Timothy K. Beal, Ph.D., is Harkness Associate Professor of Biblical Literature at Case Western Reserve University.
Tod Linafelt, Ph.D., is assistant professor of biblical studies at Georgetown University.
Ruth and Esther : Berit Olam by Tim Beal; Tod Linafelt was published by Liturgical Press in January 1999. The ISBN for Ruth and Esther : Berit Olam is 9780814650455.
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Details for Ruth and Esther : Berit Olam
|Page last updated||2nd February 2017|
|Author / Artist||Tim Beal; Tod Linafelt|
|Publisher||Liturgical Press (January 1999)|
|Number of Pages||272|