[b-hebrew] Zonah v Qadeshah in Gen 38

Medina, Vincent VMedina at cbcag.edu
Wed Jul 14 14:31:04 EDT 2004

In biblical narrative the narrator is omniscient and has a
G-d's-eye-view of the story and the characters (See R. Alter, The Art of
Biblical Narrative). Therefore his suggestion that Judah regarded Tamar
as a zonah is decisive. It is not clear what made Judah think she was a
zonah. Perhaps the very fact that she was sitting beside the road gave
this impression (as previously noted, the veil would not have been the
clue). The narrator does not tell us, so it is beside the point. 

The fact that Judah his Canaanite friend applied different appellatives
for prostitute could be the narrator's way of distinguishing between
Judah's Israelite perspective and his friends pagan perspective. This
would not be the only time this happens in Genesis. Another possible
example is the Genesis 31 where Laban gives it an Aramaic name and Jacob
a Hebrew name.



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