The Book of Ruth as Exegetical Literature

in European Judaism
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Something that is often quoted in exegetical literature is the saying that the Book of Ruth, 'the high intention of which is to give a king of Israel decent and interesting ancestors, is at the same time … the loveliest little epic and idyllic entity … that has been passed on to us.' This saying is attributed to Goethe, although he was not the first to see it. Since then, the ghost of the idea of a lovely, idyllic little Book of Ruth has haunted scholarly work. Can points be found in the text's content that give rise to this, or are these criteria that are brought in from the outside, caused for example by the gender of the two main persons, Naomi and Ruth, the repeated use of the diminutive form of speech, and the trivialization of what is narrated?

European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe


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