Old Testament

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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)

Sample text

Clytaemnestra is angry with Agamemnon for tricking her into sending Iphigenia to Aulis (supposedly to be married) and then 36 Anti-Covenant sacrificing her. Clytaemnestra kills Agamemmnon upon his return, and Orestes in his turn murders Clytaemnestra, his mother. The Erinnyes wish to avenge her death by pursuing and tormenting Orestes, and there are versions of the story in which they do. But in the play by Aeschylus Orestes is absolved of guilt because: The mother is no parent of that which is called her child, but only the nurse of the new-planted seed that grows.

If we take Sarah as the focalizer in this text, we quickly see that the divine speaker avoids and rewords her question, just as the biblical commentator does. Sarah's laughter and question explicitly address her body and sexuality. Laughter is a human response to the release of tension. It is a human, spontaneous reaction to and a linguistic euphemism for orgasm. Laughter here may be more related to sexual pleasure than to incredulity. Further evidence which supports this speculation is found in Gen.

However, a comment on the moral behavior of Abraham and Isaac is forfeited. The 'privileged dual status' of women is actually 'dual usage'. As wives masquerading as sisters they obtain riches and safety for their husbands. As sisters discovered to be wives they create an indebtedness on the part of the abductor to the husband 52 Anti-Covenant who lent his wife in the first place. Both ways, the husband gains and the abductor is off the hook. The woman remains degraded as an object. Her beauty and status initially attracts and protects, then it becomes the cause of calamity.

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