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"Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do": Interpreting Joseph's authority through the lens of direct speech

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Rebecca Rhee
Abstract:
Pharaoh's command in Gen 41:55--"Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do"--aptly summarizes the breadth of authority Joseph attains in Egypt and the means by which he exercises it: direct speech. By interpreting Egyptian dreams, Joseph establishes himself as a "wise and discerning" (Gen 41:39) speaker whose revelations clarify divine communications and whose directives save human lives. When Joseph's brothers arrive in Egypt to buy food, however, they present new challenges: the puzzle of his own dreams (recalled upon sight of his siblings [Gen 42:9]); the problem of his family's survival; and the pain of family strife that has not been "forgotten" (Gen 41:51). Chapter I discusses how Joseph confronts these issues through ever-evolving speech. Using models from linguistic theory, Chapter II ("Joseph's Performative Speech") analyzes the morphology, intentionality, and authority of Joseph's rhetoric in Genesis 39-41 to determine how it "performs" in Egypt. Chapter III ("Joseph Tests and Interprets") isolates seven rhetorical features of the Creator's speech in Genesis 1-3 that inform Joseph's discourse as a tester and provider in Genesis 42-44. Chapter IV ("Joseph Interprets") explores how Joseph's revelatory speech in Genesis 45 interprets his dreams, rewrites his family's past, and secures its future. Chapter V ("Reading Joseph as 'the Man'") views Joseph's harsh discourse with his brothers through the lens of " ha'îs "--the epithet his family uses to identify the unrecognized ruler who detains Simeon and demands Benjamin. Reference to other 'îs -centered encounters in Genesis 18, 19, and 32 reveals how direct speech helps elucidate ambiguous text. Chapter VI provides fresh insight into how the last performative speaker in Genesis stands t[barbelow]ah[dotbelow]at[barbelow] 'elohîm ("in the place of God" as well as "under" God [Gen 50:19]). Appointed to serve Israel as well as Egypt, Joseph uses direct speech to reverse the curses imposed in Genesis 3 and redefine his role as the subject of his own dreams. He also challenges interpreters of biblical narrative to consider the ongoing dialogue between the powerful yet often puzzling "texts" before them and the "text" of their own life stories, each of which illuminates the other.

Table of Contents Acknowledgments iv Abstract vi Table of Contents viii I. Introduction 1 II. Joseph's Performative Speech: Genesis 39—41 16 III. Joseph Tests and Provides: Genesis 42—44 84 IV. Joseph Interprets: Genesis 45 142 V. Reading Joseph as "the Man" (M3is) 201 VI. Conclusions 268 Bibliography 284 Vita 302 viii

Chapter I Introduction "Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do" (Gen 41:55) ton as1? lo^-itiK nor-^K lab Pharaoh's command in Gen 41:55—"Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do"— aptly summarizes the breadth of authority Joseph attains in Egypt and the means by which he exercises it: direct speech. By interpreting Egyptian dreams, Joseph establishes himself as a "wise and discerning" (OSni ]i3D [Gen 41:39]) speaker whose revelations clarify divine communications and whose directives save human lives. When Joseph's brothers arrive in Egypt to buy food, however, they present him with new challenges as a divine spokesman and a human being: the puzzle of his own dreams (recalled upon sight of his siblings [Gen 42:9]); the problem of his family's survival during the famine; and the pain of family strife that is not "forgotten" (Gen 41:51). This interdisciplinary, dialogical study explores how Joseph confronts these challenges through his ever- evolving speech. Taking my cues from the master interpreter, I have attempted to choose my words carefully throughout this dissertation, which I characterize as "interdisciplinary" and "dialogical" for specific reasons. The term "interdisciplinary" describes the wide array of secondary source materials that inform my reading of the Joseph story (Genesis 37—50) in general and its well-spoken protagonist in particular. The four major analyses of direct speech that follow in Chapters II, III, IV, and V draw from literary, biblical, linguistic,

2 narratological, historical, and rabbinical scholarship and reflect an engagement with the Hebrew text from both Jewish and Christian perspectives. The term "dialogical" captures both the composition and character of Genesis 37—50 as narrative. The fourteen chapters of the Joseph story contain over three thousand words of direct speech (roughly half of its total word count) and twenty-one speaking characters (of whom Joseph is the most prolific).1 This volume of direct speech generates meaningful statistical data, which can be used to identify significant trends in Joseph's grammar and syntax as he matures in verbal authority. The Joseph story is also dialogical in that it presents its interpreters with a dream- based plot that both demands and resists resolution. My interest in Joseph's direct speech led me to conspicuous "gaps"2 in the plotline (e.g., Why does Joseph speak—and act—so subversively with his brothers in Genesis 42—44? Does he audibly interpret the dreams he remembers in Gen 42:9?) that required me to go "back and forth" with the text, reading and rereading for possible answers. Although Joseph speaks prolifically, he does not always speak transparently, and the critical reader attempting to deconstruct his discourse faces a task that is as formidable as it is rewarding. Sifting through the mountain of scholarly, homiletical, and artistic treatments of Genesis 37—50 presents its own challenges, not the least being to locate (and justify) another study within the larger context of already completed work on this well-known, much-loved story. Having devoted considerable time and effort to analyzing Joseph's 1 According to my tabulations, Genesis 37—50 contains 6138 words total, 3094 of which are framed as direct speech. Joseph speaks a total of 897 words or 23.5% more words than the next most prolific speaker, Jacob, who speaks 726 words. 21 derive the term "gaps" from Meir Sternberg, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 186-190, and passim.

3 interpretation of narrative (both dreamed and lived), I have decided that a narrative of interpretation would provide the clearest and most concise way to review the eclectic literature that has served as a "lamp unto my feet" (Ps 119:105) while I searched out the connection between the protagonist's authority and his direct speech. This scholarship can be divided into three broad categories: literary criticism; biblical criticism; and topical studies. Literary Criticism Efforts to study the Bible as "literature" over the last four decades3 have produced many fine studies by literary scholars who are able to encounter its artistry in the original languages. These range from general expositions of biblical narrative (e.g., J. P. Fokkelman's Reading Biblical Narrative: An Introductory Guide, Robert Alter's The Art of Biblical Narrative, Shimon Bar-Efrat's Narrative Art in the Bible, and David Gunn's and Donna Nolan Fewell's Narrative in The Hebrew Bible), to more theoretical analyses, such as Meir Sternberg's The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading and Adele Berlin's Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative.4 By applying the fundamental hermeneutics of literary criticism (characterization, point of view, plot, temporal and spatial ordering) to the biblical text and identifying prominent conventions of biblical storytelling (repetition, type-scenes, 3 Jan. P. Fokkelman's Narrative Art in Genesis (Assen, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum, 1975) is recognized as one of the earliest contributions to literary criticism of the Bible. 4 See Jan P. Fokkelman, Reading Biblical Narrative: An Introductory Guide (trans. Ineke Smit; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1999); Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative (New York: Basic Books, 1981); Shimon Bar-Efrat, Narrative Art in the Bible (Sheffield: Almond Press, 1989); David M. Gunn and Donna Nolan Fewell, Narrative in the Hebrew Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993); Meir Sternberg, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987); and Adele Berlin, Poetics and Interpretation in Biblical Narrative (Sheffield: Almond Press, 1983).

4 contrastive dialogue, reticent and ambiguous narration)5 these seminal works sensitized me to the integrity and intentionality of the final form of Genesis 37—50.61 became convinced that the prominent place and transformation of Joseph's speech throughout the narrative had a purpose, and that this purpose coincided with his development as an authority figure. Alerted to the biblical storyteller's use of direct speech as a means of narration, characterization8, and point of view,91 pursued other studies specifically devoted to biblical speech, discovering several that dealt with particular instances (e.g., stories or scenes in Genesis, Judges and 1 Kings)10 or types (e.g., the question, direct quotation, "double-talk," interior monologue)11 of direct discourse in biblical narrative. While these 5 On the use of repetition in biblical narrative, see Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 88-113; Sternberg, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 365-^40; Bar-Efrat, Narrative Art in the Bible, 201-206; I derive the terms "type-scene" and "contrastive dialogue" from Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 50-51; 72-73. On the reticent and purposefully ambiguous style of biblical narrative, see Sternberg, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 190-193; 230-235; Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 114-130; Bar-Efrat, Narrative Art in the Bible, 201-206; and Erich Auerbach's essay, "Odysseus' Scar," in Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (trans. Willard R. Trask; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 3-23. 6 W. Lee Humprheys' book, Joseph and His Family: A Literary Study (Columbia, University of South Carolina Press), 1988, also addresses characterization, plot, and rhetorical technique in Genesis 37—50, which the author characterizes as a "novella." By "final form," I refer to the Masoretic Text (MT) of the Hebrew Bible. 7 See Robert Alter's chapter, "Between Narration and Dialogue," in The Art of Biblical Narrative, 63-87. 8 See Bar-Efrat, Narrative Art in the Bible, 64-77. 9 See Adele Berlin, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative, 64—72. 10 Hugh C. White, "Direct and Third Person Discourse in the Narrative of the 'Fall',1' Semeia 18.01 (1980): 91-106; Ron Pirson, "The Twofold Message of Potiphar's Wife," Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 18.2 (2004): 248-259; Kenneth M. Craig, "Bargaining in Tov (Judges 11,4—11): The Many Directions of So-Called Direct Speech," Biblica 79 (1998): 76-85; Moshe Garsiel, "Revealing and Concealing as Narrative Strategy in Solomon's Judgment (1 Kings 3:16-28),"77je Catholic Bible Quarterly 64 (2002): 229-247. 11 See Ronald T. Hyman, "Questions in the Joseph Story: The Effects and Their Implications for Teaching," Religious Education 79.3 (1984): 437-455; George W. Savran, Telling and Retelling: Quotation in Biblical Narrative (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988); Meir Sternberg, "Double Cave, Double Talk: The Indirections of Biblical Dialogue" in Not in Heaven: Coherence and Complexity in Biblical Dialogue (eds. Jason P. Rosenblatt and Joseph C. Sitterson; Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), 28-57; and Maren Niehoff, "Do Biblical Characters Talk to Themselves?: Narrative Modes of Representing Inner Speech in Early Biblical Fiction," Journal of Biblical Literature 111.4 (1992): 577-95.

5 studies ably demonstrated what Sternberg has called the Hebrew Bible's "intensive working of the features and potentialities of language,"12 they did not provide an appropriate index for measuring the changes in Joseph's direct speech vis-a-vis his authority over several years of narrative time and several chapters of narrated time. Other language-oriented analyses of the Joseph story were either too technical for my purposes, 13or too focused on other topics, such as the mediation of knowledge,14 time,15 or memory.16 They also did not help me account for Joseph's all-important dreams (both "activated" and interpreted through direct speech) as a predominantly verbal phenomenon,17 a view informed by studies of dream interpretation in the ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible.18 12 Sternberg, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 367. 13 Donald B. Redford's chapter, "The Syntax of the Joseph Story," in A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970), 28-45, is devoted to the linguistic analysis of "word order in verbal, nominal and participial clauses," "the asyndeton clause," "the bound clause," "the verbal noun," and "the uninflected verbal morpheme." The title of Robert E. Longacre's book, Joseph: A Story of Divine Providence: A Text Theoretical and Text-Linguistic Analysis of Genesis 37 and 39-48 (2nd ed., Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2003), clearly indicates the author's highly technical approach to various forms of discourse in the Joseph story. 14 See Alter's chapter, "Narration and Knowledge," in The Art of Biblical Narrative, 155-177. 15 See Sternberg's chapter, "Temporal Discontinuity," in The Poetics of Biblical Narrative, 285-308. 16 See Aviva Zornberg's chapter, "VA-YESHEV: Re-membering the Dismembered," in The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis (New York: Doubleday, 1995), 243-283. Drawing from midrashic scholarship, Zornberg explores how characters in the Joseph story struggle with the alilah [sic], the divine plot that disrupts their lives and requires that they re-member or reintegrate their fractured perceptions and experiences. 17 Joseph's dreams are often explored as a predictive phenomenon. See Lawrence A. Turner, Announcements of Plot in Genesis (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1990); Barbara's Green's chapter, "Remembering the Dreams: Synthesis and Reflections," in "What Profit for Us?": Remembering the Story of Joseph (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1996), 196-217; and Gabriel Josipovici's chapter, "Joseph and Revelation," in The Book of God: A Response to the Bible (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), 74-89. (N.B., Josipovici describes Joseph's self-revelation in Genesis 45 as an "utterance" (78), but does not address the verbal nature of the dreams he reports in Gen 37:6, 7,9). 18 See A. Leo Oppenheim, The Interpretation of Dreams in the Ancient Near East: With a Translation of an Assyrian Dream Book (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1956); Robert Karl Gnuse, The Dream Theophany of Samuel: Its Structure in Relation to Ancient Near Eastern Dreams and Its Theological Significance (Lanham Md.: University Press of America, 1984); Jean-Marie Husser, Dreams and Dream Narratives in the Biblical World (trans. Jill M. Munro; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press,

6 In sum, what the "great cloud" of literary witnesses19 ultimately contributed to my quest was a better understanding of the Joseph story as story, a narrative with an intricate plotline (that unfolds on several levels and in several directions at once), an enigmatic protagonist (who fluctuates between remembering and forgetting, testing and providing, concealing and revealing), and a cast of other characters, human and divine, who propel Joseph towards his destiny in unexpected (and often counterintuitive) ways. Though greatly satisfying, their illumination of the rhetorical form and function of Joseph's direct speech left me hungering after a deeper exploration of its highly theological content, i.e., what Joseph's words say about his moral character and his development as an instrument of God's salvation, forgiveness, and redemption. In other words, the literary critics showed me much about how Joseph uses direct speech; but they left me wondering why he uses this particular form of discourse in the first place Biblical Criticism My search for answers amongst biblical critics brought me into a different country altogether, a terrain heavily divided between scholars with vastly different perspectives, presuppositions, and priorities. In the end, I found that synchronic20 readers, whether Jewish or Christian, who grounded their exegesis in the language of the text (grammar, syntax, vocabulary, rhetorical structures and patterns, etc.) shed the most light on Joseph's moral development as a man and spiritual development as leader. Specifically, 1999); Shaul Bar, A Letter That Has Not Been Read: Dreams in the Hebrew Bible (trans. Lenn J. Schramm; Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 2001). 19 See Hebrews 12:l:"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses..." (ESV) 201 use the term "synchronic" in opposition to the term "diachronic," which describes readers who study the redactional history of the biblical text, privileging its constituent parts over its final form.

7 these ancient (Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Rambam) and modern (Nehama Leibowitz, Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg, Terrence E. Fretheim, Victor P. Hamilton, John H. Sailhamer)22 interpreters and translators (Robert Alter and Everett Fox)23 discussed predominant themes such as justice, mercy, hope, forgiveness, sin, redemption, and divine authority— often by bringing the Joseph story into conversation with other parts of the Bible that either clarify or intensify their meaning. This intertextual form of criticism proved especially helpful in explaining Joseph's subversive discourse with his brothers in Genesis 42—44. Furthermore, these readers' familiarity with various forms of divine communication to and through human beings in the Bible expanded my perceptions of how Joseph stands tabat 3elobim (Gen 50:19)—"below" or "in the place of God, the all- powerful speaker who opens the book of Genesis and who also tests and provides for persons who have sinned against him. Lastly, what the cloud of biblical witnesses offered was the opportunity to ponder the processes of interpretation itself: how it unfolds within the Joseph story and how the protagonist's successes (and failures) might equip the reader of the Bible to proceed into 21 See Rashi, "Rashi" on the Pentateuch: Genesis (trans. James H. Lowe; London: Hebrew Compendium, 1928); Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg, Bereshis/Genesis (vol. 1 of The Saperstein Edition Rashi; Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1995); Ibn Ezra, Ibn Ezra's Commentary on the Pentateuch: Genesis (trans. H. Norman Strickman and Arthur M. Silver; New York: Menorah Publishing, 1988). The commentary I used by "Rambam" (Maimonides) appears in Nehama Leibowitz, New Studies in Bereshit, 497-98 (see full citation below). 22 Nehama Leibowitz, New Studies in Bereshit: Genesis (trans. Aryeh Newman; Jerusalem: World Zionist Organization, 1972); Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg, The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis (New York: Doubleday, 1995); Terence E. Fretheim, The Book of Genesis: Commentary and Reflections (vol. 1 of The New Interpreter's Bible; Nashville: Abingdon, 1994); Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 18—50 (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995); John H. Sailhamer, Genesis (vol. 1 of The Expositor's Bible Commentary; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993). 23 See Robert Alter, Genesis: Translation and Commentary (New York: Norton, 1996) and idem, The Five Books of Moses: A Translation and Commentary (New York: Norton, 2004); Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses (New York: Schocken, 1995).

8 the rest of the Canon. I began to see Genesis 37—45 as another to/dot in Genesis, one that chronicles Joseph's development as an interpreter of dreams and life-narratives. I saw that his speech in Genesis 39—41 evolves to serve the needs of the nation of Egypt, while his speech in Genesis 42—45 further evolves to serve the needs of his family. By attending to various discussions concerning the psychological, historical, and theological impact of Joseph's statements to his brothers in Gen 45:4-13,1 also began to suspect that this climactic, revelatory speech somehow addressed the heart of Joseph's own dreams, so conspicuously remembered by the protagonist in Gen 42:9. How was I to investigate this impression? Most biblical critics (and literary critics) I consulted treated the brothers' and father's exclamations in Gen 37:8,10 as accurate and exhaustive interpretations of Joseph two dreams rather than as "red herrings" meant to divert the reader from their deeper meaning(s).25 To determine whether (and if so, where) Joseph offered further 24 This word is variously translated as "account" (NIV, NAS), "story" (TNK), and "generations" (as in, "These are the generations... " [KJV, ESV]). See Gen 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10,27; 25:12, 19; 36:1, 9; 37:2. 25 The majority of biblical and literary critics I consulted viewed Joseph's dreams as self-explanatory statements (of divinely appointed destiny, human arrogance, or both) that require no further interpretation than what his brothers and father give in Gen 37:8, 10. See Gerhard von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary (trans. John H. Marks; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972), 351; Claus Westermann, Genesis 37—50 (trans. John J. Scullion, S. J., (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1986), 38; Bar, A Letter that Has Not Been Read, 47; Lindsay Wilson, Joseph, Wise and Otherwise: The Intersection of Wisdom and Covenant in Genesis 37— JO (Cumbria, United Kingdom: Paternoster, 2004), 63; A. Jeffers, "Divination by Dreams in Ugaritic Literature and the Old Testament," Irish Biblical Studies 12 (1990): 167-183; for emblematic examples of biblical critics expressing this viewpoint. Literary critics who concur with the transparency of Joseph's dreams include Alter, Genesis: Translation and Commentary, 209; W. Lee Humphreys, Joseph and His Family, 45; and Leslie Brisman, Voices of Jacob (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1990), 102. Green proves a rare exception in her assessment that "the family has interpreted [Joseph's dreams] too narrowly, too sensitively"; see her "What Profit for Us?", 54.1 discuss Ron L. Pirson's analysis of the inaccuracy of the brothers' and father's interpretations in my comments on the "topical studies" that inform this project.

9 comment on his own dreams, I required another inroad into his investigative and interpretive discourse with his brothers in Genesis 42—45.26 Topical Studies A collection of sources I categorize as "topical studies" ultimately provided a three-fold path into the Joseph's interpretive discourse with both the Egyptians and his family in Egypt. Neither literary exposition nor biblical exegesis of the Joseph story, these sources (some of which belonged to other academic disciplines) focused on some aspect of interpersonal communication through language. First, the speech-act theory of J. L. Austin and John R. Searle, who labor to define what makes some utterances "performative," (i.e., able to produce change in the world by virtue of being spoken) offered a new grid through which to examine Joseph's ability verbally to establish (and, when necessary, re-establish) his interlocutors' experiences of the past, present, and future.27 Their scholarship helped me trace the authority of Joseph's interpretation to the mechanics of his language (word-choice, grammatical and syntactical constructions, rhetorical strategies). Second, investigations of biblical anthropomorphism with arresting titles like " When Gods Were Men: The Embodied God in Near Eastern Literature, The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel, and "The Moment of Confusion,"29 have helped me connect Joseph's intense, "face to face" encounters with his 26 My project assumes that Joseph's conspicuous remembrance of his dreams in Gen 42:9 prompts readers to see his subversive engagement with his brothers in Genesis 42—44 as part of an ongoing effort to decipher their meaning. 27 See John L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962); John R. Searle, "How Performatives Work," Linguistics and Philosophy 12.5 (1989): 535-58. 28 I.e., the study of God's manifestation of himself through human qualities or attributes. 29 See Esther J. Hamori, "When Gods Were Men": The Embodied God in Biblical and Near Eastern Literature (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008); Benjamin D. Sommer, The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient

10 brothers as "the man" {M3is) in Genesis 42—44 to God's attempts to communicate with Abraham, Lot, and Jacob through the visitations of divine or semi-divine "men" (3anasini) in Genesis 18,19, and 32. These comparisons have enabled me better to see that Joseph's interpretive discourse "performed" not only because of its internal mechanics, but also because of its affinity with God's more intimate and compelling forms of discourse with chosen individuals in Genesis. The third inroad into Joseph's interpretive discourse emerged in Ron L. Pirson's The Lord of the Dreams: A Semantic and Literary Analysis of Genesis 3 7—50, which offers a fresh, language-driven reading of Joseph's dreams, one that seriously challenges his brothers' and father's interpretations of them in Gen 37:8,10. Through intertextual analysis of the words Joseph uses to speak his dreams and the words the storyteller uses to narrate his (Joseph's) announcement of them, Pirson showed me how Joseph's brothers and father vitally misunderstand these symbolic sequences, constructing a "bomb" from their basic components. His analysis has assisted me in identifying the specific points Joseph needed verbally to address in order to dismantle this bomb and reverse its effects. By applying these criteria to Joseph's speech in Gen 45:4-13,1 could determine whether this interpretive discourse qualified as the third and final dream interpretation logically Israel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009); and James Kugel, "The Moment of Confusion," in The God of Old: Inside the Lost World of the Bible (New York: Free Press, 2003), 5-36.1 also used the prosaically titled (yet no less substantial) study by Edmond La Beaume Cherbonnier, "The Logic of Biblical Anthropomorphism," Harvard Theological Review 55.3 (1962): 187-206. 30 Lacking knowledge of his true identity, Joseph's brothers and father refer to him as hatS nine times during their deliberations in Genesis 42—43. 1 See Ron L. Pirson, The Lord of the Dreams: A Semantic and Literary Analysis of Genesis 37—50 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002).

11 required of the story's star interpreter.32 Read in concert with the linguistic and anthropomorphic studies I have already mentioned, this oneiric study helped me appreciate the breadth of possible meanings one might find in all of the dreams Joseph encounters, and indeed in all of the various forms of divine discourse that critical readers encounter in stories throughout the Bible. Together, these and other works of literary criticism, biblical criticism, and topical inquiry have allowed me to construct a few devices of my own to analyze Joseph's evolution as a performative speaker and interpreter of divine discourse. In Chapter II ("Joseph's Performative Speech"), I examine the performativity of Joseph's discourse in Genesis 39—41 through a three-part hermeneutic of morphology, intentionality and authority. In Chapter III ("Joseph Tests and Provides"), I use a seven-part hermeneutic to examine Joseph's intense, interpretive interaction with his brothers in Genesis 42—44. The first three components (incisive discourse, the offer of real choices, and the equation of direct speech with character) clarify Joseph's role as a tester, and the remaining four (mystery, strategic timing, abundance, and empathy) define his role as a provider. In Chapter IV ("Joseph Interprets"), I examine Joseph's interpretive speech in Gen 45:4-13 through a four-part hermeneutic which focuses on his ability to: (1) strike a wise balance between God and self in speech; (2) forge relationship between his audience and God; (3) explicitly identify the speech-act he performs as an interpreter; and (4) offer hope in the midst of hard truth. In Chapter VI ("Reading Joseph as 'the Man'"), I examine Joseph's 32 Joseph's unique position as the story's only "bona-fide" interpreter of dreams was pointed out to me by Dr. Victoria Hoffer in private conversation. My assertion that the Joseph story logically requires its protagonist to interpret his own dreams flows from this observation.

12 intense engagement of his brothers in Genesis 42—44 through the lens of the oft-spoken epithet ha3is ("man"), demonstrating the value of using even a small part of direct speech to interpret difficult texts. My hope is that my use of these devices will not only illuminate Joseph as a speaking authority but also will assist my readers in their ongoing efforts to articulate their own interpretations of biblical narrative. A few concluding remarks on the language I use throughout this project are necessary to this purpose. My constant references to the "implied reader" and the "reader," are drawn from a diagram (depicted in modified form below) in Seymour Chatman's widely-cited narratological study, Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film.33 Chatman explains the reading process through a series of paired constructs: Narrative text Real —• Implied —» Implied —• Real author author reader reader Chatman describes the "implied author" —a term coined by literary critic Wayne C. Booth— as the creative genius who controls every aspect of how the narrative text unfolds: what happens; who acts; who speaks; how the story is told (e.g., direct speech vs. narration, direct vs. indirect characterization, single vs. multiple points of view).34 33 See Seymour Chatman, Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978), 147-151.1 have omitted the construct pair, "narrator-»narratee" from the center of my diagram, as these terms do not appear in my project. See ibid., 151, for Chatman's complete diagram (real author—^[implied author—•narrator—•narratee—•implied reader]—>real reader). 34 Chatman radically depersonalizes the concept of the implied author: "He, or better, // has no voice, no direct means of communicating. It instructs us silently, through the design of the whole, with all the voices, by all the means it has chosen to let us learn." See Story and Discourse, 148, which cites Booth's more

Full document contains 312 pages
Abstract: Pharaoh's command in Gen 41:55--"Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do"--aptly summarizes the breadth of authority Joseph attains in Egypt and the means by which he exercises it: direct speech. By interpreting Egyptian dreams, Joseph establishes himself as a "wise and discerning" (Gen 41:39) speaker whose revelations clarify divine communications and whose directives save human lives. When Joseph's brothers arrive in Egypt to buy food, however, they present new challenges: the puzzle of his own dreams (recalled upon sight of his siblings [Gen 42:9]); the problem of his family's survival; and the pain of family strife that has not been "forgotten" (Gen 41:51). Chapter I discusses how Joseph confronts these issues through ever-evolving speech. Using models from linguistic theory, Chapter II ("Joseph's Performative Speech") analyzes the morphology, intentionality, and authority of Joseph's rhetoric in Genesis 39-41 to determine how it "performs" in Egypt. Chapter III ("Joseph Tests and Interprets") isolates seven rhetorical features of the Creator's speech in Genesis 1-3 that inform Joseph's discourse as a tester and provider in Genesis 42-44. Chapter IV ("Joseph Interprets") explores how Joseph's revelatory speech in Genesis 45 interprets his dreams, rewrites his family's past, and secures its future. Chapter V ("Reading Joseph as 'the Man'") views Joseph's harsh discourse with his brothers through the lens of " ha'îs "--the epithet his family uses to identify the unrecognized ruler who detains Simeon and demands Benjamin. Reference to other 'îs -centered encounters in Genesis 18, 19, and 32 reveals how direct speech helps elucidate ambiguous text. Chapter VI provides fresh insight into how the last performative speaker in Genesis stands t[barbelow]ah[dotbelow]at[barbelow] 'elohîm ("in the place of God" as well as "under" God [Gen 50:19]). Appointed to serve Israel as well as Egypt, Joseph uses direct speech to reverse the curses imposed in Genesis 3 and redefine his role as the subject of his own dreams. He also challenges interpreters of biblical narrative to consider the ongoing dialogue between the powerful yet often puzzling "texts" before them and the "text" of their own life stories, each of which illuminates the other.