Fortress Press

Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives

Texts of Terror

Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives

Phyllis Trible (Author)

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Professor Trible focuses on four variations upon the theme of terror in the Bible. By combining the discipline of literary criticism with the hermeneutics of feminism, she reinterprets the tragic stories of four women in ancient Israel: Hagar, Tamar, an unnamed concubine, and the daughter of Jephthah. In highlighting the silence, absence, and opposition of God, as well as human cruelty, Trible shows how these neglected stories—interpreted in memoriam—challenge both the misogyny of Scripture and its use in church, synagogue, and academy.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800615376
  • eBook ISBN 9781451416183
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 148
  • Publication Date March 1, 1984


If without stories we live not, stories live not without us. Alone a text is mute and ineffectual. In the speaking and the hearing new things appear in the land. The word goes forth from the mouth; even the tongue of the stammerer speaks readily and distinctively. The ears of those who hear hearken; even the ears of the deaf unstop. Thus the word does not return empty but accomplishes that which it purposes. Storytelling is a trinitarian act that unites writer, text, and reader in a collage of understanding. Though distinguishable and unequal, the three participants are inseparable and interdependent. Truly, "in the tale, in the telling, we are all one blood."

In this book my task is to tell sad stories as I hear them. Indeed, they are tales of terror with women as victims. Belonging to the sacred scriptures of synagogue and church, these narratives yield four portraits of suffering in ancient Israel: Hagar, the slave used, abuse, and rejected; Tamar, the princess raped and discarded; an unnamed woman, the concubine raped, murdered, and dismembered; and the daughter of Jephthah, a virgin slain and sacrificed.

Table of Contents

Editor's Foreword



Introduction: On Telling Sad Stories

1. Hagar: The Desolation of Rejection

2. Tamar: The Royal Rape of Wisdom

3. An Unnamed woman: The Extravagance of Violence

4. The Daughter of Jephthah: An Inhuman Sacrifice


Authors and Editors
Hebrew Words