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Thoughts on the Book of Ruth

Discussion in 'Judaism DIR' started by Jayhawker Soule, May 26, 2020.

  1. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    TheTorah.com offers Dr. Yael Avrahami's Recasting David's Foreign Origins. She concludes:

    If I am correct that the claim of foreignness haunted the Davidic line, perhaps the book of Ruth is meant as a corrective, not by denying but by embracing this tradition. By telling a story about the great grandmother of David, we find a pious woman who has adopted Yahwistic practices, rather than a Chemosh worshiping princess.[9] Ruth’s author has penned a favorable and corrective evaluation of the tradition that may very well be historically accurate, that David was actually of Moabite descent.

    In short, Ruth tells the story of David’s ancestry without the doubts or negative evaluations of David’s (and Solomon’s) foreignness. It retells the story of the David by taking the same elements that caused this tradition to be excised in the Samuel and Kings, and presenting them in a positive light.​

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. Harel13

    Harel13 Well-Known Member

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    This isn't a new idea, though. That is, perhaps Dr. Avrahami thinks she thought of this first, but she didn't.
     
  3. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    The way I was taught is that when a person converts to Judaism, such as Ruth, they give up their former heritage, and become a son/duaghter of Abraham/Sarah. They take on themselves a new name. They are now a bar/bat Yisrael. IOW they are no longer a foreigner.

    That would mean, since Ruth was no longer a foreigner, David was not the descendant of a foreigner, nor was he a foreigner.

    Thoughts?
     
  4. Shaul

    Shaul Well-Known Member

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    There is another component. According to Torah no Moabite could convert. This means that female Moabites could but not the males. Since Ruth became a convert this shows that tribal is patrilineal.
     
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  5. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Conversion was a post-exilic concept/process. There was no "conversion" of Ruth in my opinion.

    See:
    Foreigner? No. Foreign origin with Moabite ancestry? Yes.
     
  6. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    Do you have access to these books? If so, please provide citations where these books support your opinion that there was no conversion. It is common knowledge that the story of Ruth is about a Moabite convert. I will be greatly interested to see whether or not these two books actually support your conclusion without some qualification.
     
  7. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    Historical negationism - Wikipedia

    Historical negationism, also called denialism, is a distortion of the historical record.

    In attempting to revise the past, illegitimate historical revisionism may use techniques inadmissible in proper historical discourse, such as presenting known forged documents as genuine, inventing ingenious but implausible reasons for distrusting genuine documents, attributing conclusions to books and sources that report the opposite, manipulating statistical series to support the given point of view, and deliberately mistranslating texts.
     
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  8. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    That is an interpretation. See, for example. Prof. Rabbi Tamara Cohn Eskenazi's


    As quoted by Eskanezi, Torah states:

    Deut 23:4 No Ammonite or Moabite shall be admitted into the congregation of YHWH; none of their descendants, even in the tenth generation, shall ever be admitted into the congregation of YHWH, 23:5 because they did not meet you with food and water on your journey after you left Egypt, . . . 23:7 You shall never concern yourself with their welfare or benefit as long as you live” (NJPS with adjustments).​

    It should be noted that the Rabbi is one of the two authors of the JPS Commentary mentioned above.
     
  9. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    From the linked article "Yet the book of Ruth teaches a number of seemingly subversive messages." o_O:rolleyes:

    Subversive? Good grief, what an over-reach.
     
  10. Harel13

    Harel13 Well-Known Member

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    As I mentioned above, this idea that David was suspected of being a non-Jew and that Ruth was written to extinguish disputes to his Jewish identity is not an idea invented by Dr. Avrahami. First, the midrashic sources she brings - in particular, those of Ruth Rabbah and Yalkut Ha'mechiri. Second, Rabbi Yehoshuah Bachrach (noted Tanach teacher and winner of the Israeli Prize for Rabbinical Literature) writes about this in his introduction to his book about Ruth (Imma Shel Malchut) and in a note quotes Rabbi Yehudah Leib Maimon (note: the rabbi who signed Israel's declaration of independence):

    "In the introduction to Shoresh Yishai, by Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz (note: the rabbi who authored Lecha Dodi) there is a quoted saying of Rabbi Shmaryah the Ikritite:

    "And I say, that this book (Ruth) both in general and in detail was written to legitimize David, peace be upon him, and to show that a Moabitess can legally enter the community. And if you say, if this book was written as a ruling of law about the matter of Ruth, if so, then why wasn't this book brought as evidence in the dispute between Avner and Doeg in the days of Shaul? And why did they need to accept Amasa who said: So have I received from the court of Shmuel the Ramatite, 'Moabite' and not 'Moabitess'?
    Answer: This book still hadn't been written in those days, for our sages said that Shmuel, peace be upon him, wrote Judges and Ruth, as is written in the first chapter of Bava Batra, and Shmuel still hadn't written this, for in all likelihood, he wrote it at the end of his days.
    And I believe without a doubt that at that time they sent before Shmuel, peace be upon him, and asked him about this ruling and then wrote this book for the ruling of law as he received [the tradition of this law], that the Moabitess can legally enter."
    And in all probability he copied this from the commentaries of Rabbi Shmaryah the Ikritite to the Five Megillot that are still in manuscript form." (Chagim U'moadim by Rabbi Y.L. (Fishman) Maimon)​

    It's true that it's an interpretation, but it's the interpretation that became halacha. Kind of like how in the time of the Mishna, eating dairy with chicken was still debated and even allowed in some places while forbidden in others. Eventually, the prohibition was finalized and cemented into general Jewish law.

    So why would David's lineage be disputed, according to you?
     
    #10 Harel13, May 31, 2020
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
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  11. Jake1001

    Jake1001 Computer Simulator

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    I’m in agreement here. The story of Ruth is about a Moabite convert. Even Jewish children know this. Any other thought is farcical.


     
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