When Aseneth Met Joseph: A Late Antique Tale of the Biblical Patriarch and His Egyptian Wife, Reconsidered
This is the study of an anonymous ancient work, usually called Joseph and Aseneth, which narrates the transformation of the daughter of an Egyptian priest into an acceptable spouse for the biblical Joseph, whose marriage to Aseneth is given brief notice in Genesis. Kraemer takes issue with the scholarly consensus that the tale is a Jewish conversion story composed no later than the early second century C.E. Instead, she dates it to the third or fourth century C.E., and argues that, although no definitive answer is presently possible, it may well be a Christian account. This critique also raises larger issues about the dating and identification of many similar writings, known as pseudepigrapha. Kraemer reads its account of Aseneth's interactions with an angelic double of Joseph in the context of ancient accounts of encounters with powerful divine beings, including the sun god Helios, and of Neoplatonic ideas about the fate of souls. When Aseneth Met Joseph demonstrates the centrality of ideas about gender in the representation of Aseneth and, by extension, offers implications for broader concerns about gender in Late Antiquity.
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adjuration ancient angelic figure Aphrahat appears Aptowitzer argues Aseneth story associated Batiffol bees biblical blessed bride Burchard chapter chariot Christian consonant daughter Dinah discussion divine earlier early Egypt Egyptian Enoch Ephrem evidence father fourth century C.E. garments gender Genesis Rabbah God’s Greco-Roman Greek Hammath Hammath Tiberias heaven heavenly Hebrew hekhalot hekhalot traditions Helios honey honeycomb Hymns identified identity imagery Interestingly Jacob Jewish Jews Joseph and Aseneth Joseph et Aséneth Judaism Judges 13 late antique longer reconstruction longer text longer version Lord LXX/OG manuscripts marriage Metanoia Metatron Midrash Morray-Jones Moses mystical narrative Neoplatonic numerous Odes of Solomon particularly passage Pentephres Pharaoh Philo Philonenko Porphyry Potiphar Potiphera prayer precisely Pseudepigrapha rabbinic repentance scene Schäfer scholars Sepher ha-Razim sexual shorter and longer shorter text shorter version significant Song of Songs souls sources suggest Symbols Syriac theurgy third century Tiberias tion transformation translation virgin Wisdom woman women