Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BBR 19:4 (2009) p. 591
Nancy Nam Hoon Tan. The ‘Foreignness’ of the Foreign Woman in Proverbs 1–9: A Study of the Origin and Development of a Biblical Motif. BZAW 381. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008. Pp. 223. ISBN: 978–3-11–020063–8. $95.00 cloth.
In a revision of her doctoral thesis, Tan examines the historical background of the foreign woman motif in Prov 1–9 and traces its subsequent development (p. 1). Chapter one is foundational as Tan critiques influential works and examines characteristic lexemes of this motif, נכרי and זר. Important are two conclusions. First, when occurring together, Tan asserts, “זר draws its meaning from נכרי” (p. 19). Second, Tan concludes that נכרי is inherently an ethnic term, albeit a nonnationalistic one (pp. 15–16). In chaps. two and three, Tan examines texts predating and concurrent with Prov 1–9 that speak to this motif: Ezra– Nehemiah (in their prohibitions against mixed marriages), specific deuteronomic prohibitions (e.g., Deut 7:16, 23:4–9), and Malachi. Most intriguing is Tan’s discussion of the motif as it appears in the Deuteronomistic History. She maintains, “There is a strong theological motif underlying the DtrH’s account of the kings, in which ‘foreign wives’ of Israelites are dangerous because they corrupt and cause Israelites to turn away from Yahweh into foreign worship. . . . It is a theological motif which the post-exilic writers of Ezra–Nehemiah and Malachi pick up when confronted with the problem of ‘mixed’ marriages” (p. 79). Chapter four discusses the motif in Prov 1–9. Focusing on lexical and thematic phenomena, Tan argues that “Proverbs 1–9 cannot be cut off altogether from its Jewish context. . . . Hence, the Foreign Woman motif of Proverbs 1–9 is a motif of ‘foreignness,’ employing the language and concepts of earlier Deuteronomic and Deuteronomistic texts to deal with the same problem of perceiving ‘foreignness’ as inherently the source of apostasy, but in a poetic way” (pp. 104–5). Chapters five and six examine the subsequent development of this motif, highlighting other biblical texts (Prov 22:14, 23:26–28; Eccl 7:26), the text of 4Q184, the...
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