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Error Or Intention? Mixed-Up Metaphors

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Chapter Summary

A prominent feature of Pseudo-Philo is the revision or even contradiction of common biblical metaphors. Some commentators ascribe the changed metaphors to a faulty translation process or even to Pseudo-Philo's inability to keep her metaphors straight. This chapter argues that the re-shaping of common biblical metaphors also serves as the author's commentary on appropriate theology and ideology. There are two different kinds of results that we can see from the reshaped metaphors found in Pseudo-Philo. The changes in the metaphors move the theology and ideology of the text in a certain direction: toward an acceptance of suffering and grief, toward obedience to the law, toward a commitment to stay in Israel, and away from a positive assessment of foreigners. The changes also support certain views of the individuals described: Deborah is a strongly positive character, Jael an ambiguous character, and Jephthah a weak and shallow character.

Keywords: Deborah; Jael; Jephthah; metaphors; Pseudo-Philo



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