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[Re]Naming Cozbi: In Memoriam, Cozbi, daughter of Zur

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image of Biblical Interpretation

This paper re-reads the story of Cozbi, Zimri and Phinehas as told in Numbers 25. After establishing the significance of names as interpretive devices in Old Testament writings, the story is read as a way of examining the validity of Cozbi's name. What is found is that her name coerces us to understand the story in a particular fashion that paints her as an enemy and Phinehas as a hero, an outcome totally at odds with the text as it presents itself. Should Cozbi then be re-named? Would this redeem her from the text? Or perhaps could her name point us towards to some other way of understanding this text?

Affiliations: 1: Charles Sturt University


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