Longing for Egypt and Other Tales of the Unexpected explores seven cases of textual complexity masked by simple readings. One chapter uncovers a counter-intuitive longing for Egypt alongside the Exodus account of liberation from persecution. Another shows how what appears to be a critical attitude in the Bible towards other gods may reflect inner-Israelite tensions rather than some principled antipathy toward others. Yet another confronts the praise of God as a perfect king with the use of the language of divine kingship as a vehicle for constructive criticism.
All seven chapters share a focus on the formation of identity. Arguably the Bible's most sensitive subject, for its authors and for present-day readers, this topic has generated a host of simple readings that conceal immense complexity.
Diana Lipton is Lecturer in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at King's College, London.
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