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A different kind of harvest: Contemporary women novelists respond to Ruth

posted on 2023-03-03, 16:09 authored by Mary BrewerMary Brewer

This chapter will explore selected literary retellings of the biblical heroine Ruth in 21st century women’s fiction. I will offer a close textual analysis of Eva Etzioni-Halevy’s The Garden of Ruth [2006 (Hebrew/English)], Marlene van Niekerk’s Agaat [2006 (Afrikaans], and Tessa Afshar’s In the Field of Grace [2016 (English). Each author offers an alternative perspective on Ruth that is rooted in their respective socio-cultural locations. Etzioni-Halevy writes from the perspective of a Jewish woman living in the Middle East; van Niekerk offers a post-colonial rendering of the story, while Afshar re-views Ruth’s story through a Christian lens. Together, how the novels interface with the biblical story demonstrates the ‘writerly’ nature of the text – and the plethora of meanings it invites allows this ancient text to resonate in significant ways with contemporary readers – particularly women. The chapter will reveal how Etzioni-Halevy, van Niekerk, and Afshar re-make the story of Ruth so that it is relevant to contemporary readers in terms of gender, racial and sexual differences, as well as faith.



  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • English

Published in

The Routledge Handbook of the Hebrew Bible in Contemporary Fiction and Poetry




  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Routledge Handbook of the Hebrew Bible in Contemporary Fiction and Poetry on [date of publication], available online: http://www.routledge.com/[BOOK ISBN URL]

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  • en


Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer


Dr Mary Brewer. Deposit date: 2 March 2023

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