2009, 2010, 2011
Sara J. Milstein
- New Faculty Fellow
- Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Expanding Ancient Narratives: Revision through Introduction in Biblical and Mesopotamian Texts
This dissertation focuses on the expansion of ancient narratives over time via the method “revision through introduction.” The method of seamlessly affixing a new introduction to an older text enabled secondary authors to transform the reception of their received material while simultaneously preserving it. In the process, the autonomy of the original narrative was eclipsed, so that all of its content was seen through the lens of the later perspective. Yet the tendency of authors to preserve received material, even when its details now conflicted with those of the new perspective, allows us to reconstruct the original storyline. By tracking this method in a set of case studies, this dissertation develops a model for retrieving other “lost texts” in the Bible and in Mesopotamian literature.
Revamping Ancient Texts: Revision through Introduction in Biblical and Mesopotamian Narratives
In the dual effort to preserve received material and to rework it to serve new ends, ancient near Eastern scribes would affix new introductions to older narratives. In numerous cases, this method involved the seamless attachment of new material to the received text, so that the logic and autonomy of the older work were obscured in the process. Yet the ancient inclination to preserve received material, even when its content was now in conflict with that of the new perspective, makes it possible to recover the perspectives of the original stories. By tracking the ways in which this method was employed in biblical and Mesopotamian narratives, this project proposes a new model for reading and interpreting the abundance of multilayered texts preserved in these two bodies of ancient literature.
PhD, Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University appointed in Jewish Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Dissertation: "Reworking Ancient Texts: Revision through Introduction in Biblical and Mesopotamian Literature"