The Sacrifice of Isaac: The Aqedah (Genesis 22) and Its Interpretations

By Ed Noort; Eibert Tigchelaar | Go to book overview

THE SACRIFICE OF ABRAHAM AS A (TEMPORARY)
RESOLUTION OF A DESCENT CONFLICT?
A GENDER-MOTIVATED READING OF GEN 22

Heleen Zorgdrager


1. Introduction1

An important characteristic of gender-motivated reading of biblical narratives is its attention to knots, tensions, fractures and silences in the text. Questions arise such as: Who is speaking in this story? From whose point of view the story is written, whose voice might have been erased in the process of redaction of the text? Whose interests (M/F)2 are being served by the transmission of this story, and can any countervoices be heard in the story or in its context?

In order to find an answer to these questions it is important to lay open the relief of the text, to listen to the joint voices, the opposing voices and the complementary voices arising from tradition. For that purpose, feminist exegesis uses literary approaches such as the deconstructivistic reading and the narrative model of analysis.

However, the more 'classical' method of splitting up the sources can also be useful in enlightening gender issues in the Pentateuch. Discerning of the different layers in the text can be very helpful in discovering the different voices and traditions which still resonate, still evoke a lot of tension, even in the 'Letztgestalt' of the text before us. Ed Noort refers to this critical method of splitting sources when he says that the naming and 'labelling' of the sources need not lead to annoyance only: 'These labels do represent voices, voices

1 With special thanks to Wieteke van der Molen for her first concept of the trans-
lation.

2 The codes F and M (female/feminine, male/masculine) are introduced by
Fokkelien van Dijk-Hemmes in her study on traces of women texts in the Hebrew
Bible. They are theoretically useful in the labelling of texts as products of 'women's
culture' or 'male culture'. They do not designate the sex of the texts' authors, but
might offer insights on the question of whether the dominant speaker or narrator
in these texts can be identified either as a female/feminine voice or a male/mas-
culine voice. See Athalya Brenner & Fokkelien van Dijk-Hemmes, On Gendering Texts,
Leiden 1993.

-182-

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