The Story of Jephthah's vow, recorded in "Judges", chapter 11, has attracted the attention of generations of Bible scholars and has gripped the imagination of creative artists from ancient to modern times. The story has served as an inspiration for the composition of dramas, novels, songs, cantatas, oratorios, and operas. The appeal of the story has been attributed to the emotional qualities and the dramatic possibilities that it holds. According to the biblical account, Jephthah, newly elected as leader over Israel, vows to the Lord that should he be granted victory over the Ammonites he will sacrifice to Him the first one who greets him upon his return from battle. The first to greet him following his defeat of the Ammonites is his daughter, who is then sacrificed. "Jephthah and His Vow" challenges the widespread opinion that Jephthah literally put his daughter to death. It maintains that the almost unanimous support this opinion has received in recent years is not justified and the alternate conclusion that the daughter was not put to death but had to remain a virgin, consecrated to God, for the remainder of her life has equal, if not more validity.
Marcus demonstrates that the Hebrew text of the story is often ambiguous and is open to different interpretations. He analyzes the history of the exegesis, the original intent of the vow, as well as, biblical and non-biblical literary parallels. Marcus concludes that the evidence is such that both conclusions for the fate of Jephthah's daughter are equally possible, and that this very ambivalence was in fact the original intention of the narrator. Dr. David Marcus was born and educated in Dublin, Ireland. He did his undergraduate work at Trinity College, Dublin, and at Cambridge University in England. He did graduate work in Philadelphia and New York, and he received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in the Department of Middle East Languages and Cultures. Dr Marcus is the author of numerous scholarly articles and two language manuals, one on the Akkadian language, and the other on the language of the Talmud. He has taught for many years at Columbia University and currently is teaching at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
Publisher: Texas Tech Press,U.S.
Number of pages: 80