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date: 29 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Feminist and postcolonial readings of the Hebrew Bible share overlapping concerns, including amplifying voices of the marginalized—particularly women and indigenous or colonized peoples—in the biblical texts. This essay outlines some of the major concepts within feminist and postcolonial approaches, as well as the ways those approaches challenge each other. The essay then wrestles with the ways the Historical Books testify to ancient Israel’s experiences as both a colonizer and as the colonized. Finally, the essay examines the notion of the reviled “foreign woman” in the Historical Books, with particular attention to Rahab in Joshua and Jezebel in Kings. In its attempts to construct Israelite identity over and against that of foreign women, the text necessarily inscribes its own destabilization of that identity.

Keywords: feminist, postcolonial, Joshua, Kings, imperialism and conquest, Rahab, Jezebel, Fanon, Bhabha, hybridity

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