Mute and Mutilated: Understanding Judges 19-21 as a משל of Dialogue

In: Biblical Interpretation
Jennifer M. Matheny University of Kent, UK

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Judges 19-21 has been a source of conflict in scholarly debate in regards to genre identification. This study explores possible genre identification with the Hebrew term, משל. With the assistance of Mikhail Bakhtin’s work with dialogism, this study uncovers theological and political nuances in close readings of the text, especially with the Hebrew terms סף (“threshold”) and המאכלת (“the knife”). The book of Judges is a book in which Israel struggles for identity, for becoming, for futures. But this story provokes notions of a future founded on rape and dismemberment. What kind of future can be propped up by this past?

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