By Mieke Bal
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Additional resources for Anti-Covenant: Counter Reading Women's Lives in the Hebrew Bible (Bible and Literature Series)
Archaeological evidence indicates that 'the end of the EB 2 period is marked in Southern and Western Anatolia by a catastrophe of such magnitude... that nearly every village was deserted and never again occupied'. Furthermore, the earlier population 'seems to have been of preIndo-European stock, or rather speech, practising a type of agricultural fertility religion in which a goddess played a predominant part'. I suggest that many of the changes are due to the influence of these invaders both in the Near East and in Greece.
Anthropology helps one to see the social rules which were conditions of the fulfillment of the covenant in Genesis 11-35. By studying kinship patterns it becomes clear that women were used by men to ensure the continuity of the covenant. Yet kinship theory does not explain the deviations from the normative rules which occur in the text. Narratology allows one to see and interpret the deviations. These deviations occur in three different types of events: women being exchanged according to rules which do not fit neatly into structural patterns, autonomous acts of self-care and self-pleasuring by women.
Evidence for widespread practice of child sacrifice is confined to the first millenium BC. This is not, however, to deny that instances of it occurred earlier. Jephthah's daughter is a prime example. 5. This puts Abraham in a category apart from Agamemmnon or Jephthah; as well as Saul who would have sacrificed Jonathan had not the people protested (1 Sam. 14). 6. Kierkegaard also places Abraham in a separate category from Agamemmnon and Jephthah for reasons similar to Philo. It may be significant that Agamemmnon and Jephthah are more comparable in time, and both sacrificed daughters.
Anti-Covenant: Counter Reading Women's Lives in the Hebrew Bible (Bible and Literature Series) by Mieke Bal