Activities per year
Because Jewish women have traditionally been barred from studying their tradition's sacred texts, they have been forced to find covert ways to read and interpret them. Much of Jewish feminism has been devoted to gaining access to the Jewish canon, in an enterprise Adrienne Rich has called Re-vision. In Genesis Leah, Jacob's wife, rarely speaks, and when she does, her feelings towards her situation as the "hated woman" are only hinted at. In my paper, I shall focus on what may be called feminine “midrashic poems” dealing with Leah that give voice to a feminine protagonist whose voice we hardly hear in the original text. Steven P. Schneider observes that, “As a mode of writing, postmodern Jewish American poetry by women delights in creating ‘midrashic commentaries.'” Daniel Boyarin defines Midrash as “a model of the relation between text and interpretation between the present and the past.” Midrash thus realizes its goal by means of a “hermeneutic of recombining pieces of the canonized exemplar into a new discourse.” However, while the early midrashists regard Scripture as a sacred text and its interpretation a form of divine revelation, modern poets use the biblical texts as a springboard for their own ideas. The divergent approaches are elegantly summed up in Ari Elon's distinction between the rabbani and the ribboni—the rabbinic exegete and the independent thinker/writer. The leeway afforded by the latter position enables poets to engage with tradition in more radical and explicitly fictive ways. I shall analyse some poems by Jewish American women poets following Alicia Ostriker, who tries to outline different forms of biblical revisionism by women poets who can be considered ribboni midrashists. Some of the poets give Leah voice, their poems being modern dramatic monologues (Kaufman, Rena Lee, Hollander, and Wass-Shufenthal) and some bring her into their own modern world (Gottlieb and Soul). Hence, the poets let us hear Leah's feelings, modernizing the almost speechless biblical character from various angles.
|Original language||American English|
|State||Published - 2017|
|Event||SBL: INTERSECTIONS: A FORUM FOR RESEARCH ON ANCIENT ISRAEL, HEBREW BIBLE, AND COGNATE TOPICS - SBL, Berlin, Germany|
Duration: 6 Aug 2017 → 10 Aug 2017
|Conference||SBL: INTERSECTIONS: A FORUM FOR RESEARCH ON ANCIENT ISRAEL, HEBREW BIBLE, AND COGNATE TOPICS|
|Period||6/08/17 → 10/08/17|