The Historical Jesus in Context

By Amy-Jill Levine; Dale Allison Jr. et al. | Go to book overview

23
Joseph and Aseneth: Food as an Identity Marker

Randall D. Chesnutt

Joseph and Aseneth, an apocryphal romance now often included in the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, recounts the conversion of the Gentile Aseneth to the God of Israel, her marriage to the patriarch Joseph, and the social and religious conflicts surrounding that conversion and marriage. Genesis 41:45, 50–52, and 46:20 provide the biblical point of departure for this tale by referring in passing to Joseph's marriage to Asenath (LXX Aseneth), daughter of the Pagan priest Potiphera (LXX Pentephres). The work was composed in Greek and is extant in sixteen Greek manuscripts and several versions.

The evidence remains compelling that Joseph and Aseneth was written by a Jew around the turn of the eras (Chesnutt 1995; Collins) despite a recent revival of the older view that the work may be a much later Christian composition (Kraemer). The very problem in the biblical text for which the story of Aseneth's conversion offers a solution—namely, that the revered patriarch married a Pagan woman—is a problem to the Jewish conscience. The ethnic particularism evidenced in Aseneth's physical profile (1:5: “She bore no resemblance to the virgins of the Egyptians, but was in every way similar to the daughters of the Hebrews; and she was as tall as Sarah and as graceful as Rebecca and as beautiful as Rachel”) is even more pronounced when the gap between the hero and heroine is explained in ethnic as well as religious terms: intimacy with anyone outside the tribe and kindred (phulĒ and suggeneias) is taboo (8:5–7). This taboo applies not only in the patriarchal setting of the narrative but also to the author's own social world, as discussed further below. Aseneth converts to “the God of Joseph” (6:6), “the God of my [Joseph's] father Israel” (8:9), “the Lord God of the powerful Joseph, the Most High” (11:7), and “the God of the Hebrews” (11:10), and the narrative is as concerned with her incorporation into the family of Jacob as with her acceptance by God (22:3–10). All this suggests Jewish rather than Christian authorship. Alleged affinities with late antique Christian sources are all very general; certainly there is nothing distinctively Christian in the work.

Egypt is the most likely place of composition. The pervasive contrast between Israelite and Egyptian characters and between the God of Israel and the Egyptian

-357-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Historical Jesus in Context
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 440

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.