[b-hebrew] Re: Kadeshah & Zonah in Genesis 32

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed Jul 14 14:14:09 EDT 2004

On 14/07/2004 18:33, david.kimbrough at charter.net wrote:

>The author of Genesis 32 made a clear choice of words, kadeshah instead of zonah.  The author could have used the word zonah but did not, as was done just a few verses earlier.  The choice was made with a Hebrew speaking Isrealite audiance in mind.  The linguistic background of the Adullamites and the people to whom he was enquiring of is not the point.  The audiance and author understood the meaning of the Hebrew words kadeshah and zonah and understood the choice the author made.  What did that choice reflect?  Did reflect a different assessment of the social standing of a kadeshah vs. a zonah?  Did that assessment change by the time of that 2nd Kings was writen?
Or could it be that the author was carefully reflecting the different 
perspectives of the Israelite and the Canaanite by having the latter 
refer to qadesha and the former to zona? Just as a careful newspaper 
reporter would use a different words for how e.g. an Islamic leader and 
an American politician describe terrorist outrages. It seems clear that 
the author takes care not to put positive references to qadesha on 
Israelite lips, just as a reporter would not put positive references to 
terrorism on American lips.

As for * ky kSth Pnyh *, surely that explains not why Judah thought 
Tamar was a prostitute but why he did not recognise his own daughter. 
Probably any woman on her own, at least if not dressed as a widow, would 
have been assumed to be a prostitute. And because Tamar had taken off 
her widow's clothes, maybe she was revealing more of her body than a 
decent woman would have done.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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