Joseph and aseneth: Loyalty, traitors, antiquity and diasporan identity

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The final part of Joseph and Aseneth (chs. 23-29) tells a story that seems unconnected to the main part of the book. It recounts an attempt by Pharaoh's son to kill Joseph and Aseneth, his death and Joseph's 48-year rule over Egypt. Scholarly research barely relates to this story, probably since it inhabits the margins of the love story of Joseph and Aseneth. Neither does this story contribute any valuable commentary on the biblical Genesis narrative. It is suggested that this part of the book underscores the unbroken Jewish loyalty to the Ptolemaic-Egyptian regime in the unique circumstances of deep-rooted Jewish participation in that regime alongside adversarial elites, as well as the need to exhibit and emphasize Jewish loyalty while also depicting an internecine struggle within the royal family. The probable date of the book is therefore the last decade of the second century or the first two decades of the first century BCE.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)53-67
Number of pages15
JournalJournal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Diaspora
  • Joseph and Aseneth
  • loyalty
  • Oniads
  • Ptolemy Alexander
  • Ptolemy Lathyrus
  • reconciliation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies


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