Hesed: Divine or human? The syntactic ambiguity of Ruth 2:20.
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Clarity may be cherished by biblical interpreters; but ambiguity evokes their ingenuity, generating vibrant debate. Ruth 2:20, a turning point in the tale of two destitute widows who suddenly perceive a silver lining on their cloudy horizon, vividly illustrates this maxim... The exegetical tradition, culminating in modern scholarship, produced two viable readings of Ruth 2:20, but could interpret this verse no further. Literary criticism, which introduces the technique of intentional ambiguity, provides an environment in which readings A and B can coexist. The concept of dramatic irony further contributes a vocabulary for defining precisely how the two readings interact, forming a motivating force within the drama of Ruth, essential to its religious meaning. (from Introduction and Conclusion).
Cohen, Mordechai Z.
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