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Title page for ETD etd-03262010-101728


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Pressner, Daniella
URN etd-03262010-101728
Title Righteous Gentile and Divine Daughter: An Analysis of Bat Pharaoh's Character and Identity in Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Times
Degree Master of Arts
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Annalisa Azzoni Committee Chair
Leah Marcus Committee Member
Keywords
  • Bat Pharaoh
  • Moses
  • Pharaoh's daughter
  • myth
  • Sargon
Date of Defense 2010-03-26
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
RELIGION

RIGHTEOUS GENTILE AND DIVINE DAUGHTER: AN ANALYSIS OF BAT PHARAOH’S

CHARACTER AND IDENTITY IN ANCIENT, MEDIEVAL, AND MODERN TIMES

DANIELLA PRESSNER

Thesis under the direction of Professor Annalisa Azzoni

This thesis explores the character of Bat Pharaoh in the Exodus 2:1-10 narrative and the interpretations of

this story in traditional Jewish scholarship. By analyzing myths as dynamic and changing depending on the

societies that create and promulgate their variations, it investigates how earlier traditions shape and perpetuate the

social and cultural expectations of their time and how foundational myths function to create identity, meaning, and

purpose for the societies in which they are imagined.

The extent to which the commentators are willing to address the conflicts presented in the biblical narrative

is, in many ways, reflective of the societies and cultures for which they write and the anxieties and aspirations of

their times. While the rabbis of the Talmud and Midrash present an ongoing struggle between Bat Pharaoh,

Pharaoh, Moses, God, and Israel, the commentators in the medieval time period are more interested in viewing the

textual ambiguities as part of the divine plan or inner logic of the story. Feminist scholarship focuses on finding

ways to make the stories of old relevant and purposeful for the communities for which the myth is being retold

today. By focusing on the nuances contributed by each commentary to the myth, this work offers a new perspective

regarding the characteristics that are considered less crucial, as well as those that are vital in creating the boundary

lines of our existence and our self-identification as a nation.

Approved _________________________________________________ Date _______________

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