The Joseph Paradox

A Radical Reading of Genesis 37–50

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About the Book

This book is a reader-friendly treatment of the Joseph story—one of the most popular tales in the Bible. Instead of the usual interpretation as an Horatio Alger success story, the text proposes that we are presented with a cautionary tale of high achievement and the pursuit of success. In the context of the larger biblical narrative, Joseph’s short-term success leads to the enslavement of his descendants and the centuries-long derailment of the destiny of the Children of Israel. The self-limiting nature of the pursuit of power is just one of the themes illuminated in this work.

About the Author(s)

Hillel I. Millgram, ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, lives in Israel. He combines research and writing with teaching graduate courses in Bible.

Bibliographic Details

Hillel I. Millgram
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 260
Bibliographic Info: maps, appendices, notes, glossary, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6850-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8982-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction      5

Prologue: The Way of the Fathers      31

1. A Family Tragedy      41

2. Rehabilitation      54

3. The Slave      68

4. The Interpreter of Dreams      76

5. The Egyptian      88

6. Cat and Mouse      96

7. The Entrapment      108

8. The Unmasking      123

9. The Long Farewell      135

10. The Egyptian Trajectory      150

11. The Write-Off      158

12. Legacy      169

13. The Closing of Accounts      182

14. Conclusion 1: Between God and Man      197

15. Conclusion 2: Joseph’s Place in History      207

Appendix 1.: Who Sold Joseph into Egypt?      221

Appendix 2.: Can Judah and Tamar Be Fitted into the Joseph Narrative?      225

Appendix 3.: What Is a Poem Doing in the Joseph Story?      228

Glossary of Terms and Place Names      233

Who’s Who in the Joseph Story      239

Bibliography      243

Scriptural Index      247

General Index      249

Book Reviews & Awards

“Millgram focuses on the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors as a self-contained literary unit within the larger narrative of Genesis”—Reference & Research Book News.