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Yahweh and Moses in Conflict

The Role of Exodus 4:24-26 in the Book of Exodus


John T. Willis

The interpretation of Exodus 4:24-26 is very controversial. Scholars have treated this text from various viewpoints on the basis of divergent methods or approaches. Two fundamental problems cause uncertainty about the origin and meaning of this text. One problem has to do with the nature of Exod 4:24-26. Another problem is the identity of the persons mentioned in Exod 4:24-26. This book arranges forty-two documented interpretations under each approach or approaches, presenting the view of each scholar proposing his/her interpretation of Exodus 4:24-26 in chronological order. The author presents his own view in the concluding chapter, essentially adopting a redactional, canonical, narrative, rhetorical methodology.


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Chapter III – Ideological and Psychological Criticisms 33


Chapter III Ideological and Psychological Criticisms Several explanations of Exod 4:24-26 belong in general terms in the discipline of ideological criticism or psychological criticism. It is very difficult to define these terms. In the volume, To Each Its Own Meaning, D. N. Fewell identifies Feminist Criticism with ideology, and F. F. Segovia identifies Socioeconomic Criticism with ideology, dealing largely with Liberation Hermeneutics.1 G. L. Byron describes Ideologi- cal Criticism in very broad terms: ‘[...] Ideological criticism intersects with different forms of biblical criticism such as postcolonial, literary, rhetorical, reader response, and a host of hermeneutical stances such as feminist and womanist, disabilities, history of sexuality, and cultural engagements of the Bible by historically underrepresented interpreters […] to expose racialized discourses, marginalized perspectives, and hid- den hegemonic social and cultural assumptions. Moreover, ideological criticism exposes the political stakes of biblical texts and the political uses to which the Bible has been put in contemporary and historical set- tings. This rich interpretive framework is a valuable tool for dealing with the inherent struggles, dilemmas, and tensions that are operative in bibli- cal texts and contexts, traditions of interpretation, and the interpreters themselves.’2 Some psychologists and medical scholars have offered views for understanding Exod 4:24-26. Psychology is the study of human behav- ior, and this certainly lends itself to attempting to interpret various bibli- cal texts. D. A. Kille’s observations about Psychological Criticism are quite appropriate for understanding certain views concerning Exod 4:24- 26: ‘Psychological biblical criticism [...] is a way of reading...

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