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Amnon and Tamar: A Case Study in Allusions

In recounting the episode of Amnon and Tamar, II Samuel 13 alludes to several other biblical narratives: Dinah and Shechem (Genesis 34), Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37, 39-45), and Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38). Allusions serve three types of literary functions in the narrative: they compare two character roles, such that one is a parallel or antithesis to the other; correlate similar plots, such that the reader anticipates a certain sequence of events; and clarify the moral of one passage against the backdrop of another similar or contrasting episode. Character allusions central in II Samuel 13 link Amnon and Tamar to Joseph, as well as Tamar of II Samuel to Tamar of Genesis 38. Allusions connected to plot development relate to the narratives surrounding Joseph, Tamar in Genesis, and Dinah and Shechem. These lead the reader to anticipate a resolution to the tension that spans the narrative in II Samuel, and highlight the absence of such a resolution.

Author(s):  Klapper, Robert, Gavy Posner, and Mordy Friedman
Format:  Article
Date:  1999
Source:  Nachalah: Yeshivah University Journal for the Study of the Bible
Volume:  1