The structure of change: A structural interpretation of the biblical story of joseph

Samuel Cooper, Shlomo Guzmen-Carmeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In recent years, theories of structuralism in anthropology are being re-examined. This article uses structural analysis to create an anthropological interpretation of the Joseph story in the Bible and to evaluate its modes of interpretation and how it influences the formation of Jewish religious practices. The structural interpretation shows how stories serve as models for the process of cultural creation. In the case of Joseph’s story, the narrative creates a mythology but also a recurring operational infrastructure that echoes in different contexts: in ethical actions, in halachic perception, and in the foundation of various practices in Judaism including concealment and removal, covering and disrobing, that appear repeatedly and function as structures that signify and enable change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Anthropology
  • Cultural change
  • Judaism
  • Rituals
  • Scriptures
  • Structuralism
  • The biblical Joseph


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