b-hebrew digest: September 15, 1998

Larry Swain rmswain at rmcs.net
Wed Sep 16 02:12:07 EDT 1998

> While this is not particulalry relevant to h3ebvrew (and I apologize
> for that in advance), since several people have mentioned that other
> biblical writers speak positively of Jephthah as proof that he did not
> sacrifice his daughter, let me point out that Hebrews 11 praises
> Jephthah among others for his "faith."  While I have a high view of
> inspiration, let me say 1) that "faith" has nothing to do with whether
> Jephthah killed his own duaghter (as I think likely) and 2) finding
> evidence of "faith" in the origianl account is something I haven't been
> able to do, in English or in Hebrew.  Anyone else find it?
> Ken Litwak
> Trinity College/Univ. of Bristol
> Bristol, England
> (and Java instructor in California)

There have been several comments on this passage on the list.  Let me be
the first to point out that Hebrews 11 is an excellent indication of how
certain characters were perceived in Hellenistic Judaism(s?), but do
little to tell us of the original intent of the text on any level
(original source, canoncial, linguistic etc) nor much about what the
text means.  

I am not familiar with source criticism on this passage, or on the book
of Judges in general, is it possible that we have the conflation of two
stories?  One being the burnt offering, the other the "cleaner" version
of her celibacy?  


Larry Swain

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