Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Religion Old Testament

"Why Ask My Name?"

Anonymity and Identity in Biblical Narrative

by (author) Adele Reinhartz

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Sep 1998
Old Testament
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 1998
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Unnamed characters--such as Lot's wife, Jephthah's daughter, Pharaoh's baker, and the witch of Endor--are ubiquitous in the Hebrew Bible and appear in a wide variety of roles. Adele Reinhartz here seeks to answer two principal questions: first, is there a "poetics of anonymity," and if so, what are its contours? Second, how does anonymity affect the readers' response to and construction of unnamed biblical characters? The author is especially interested in issues related to gender and class, seeking to determine whether anonymity is more prominent among mothers, wives, daughters, and servants than among fathers, husbands, sons and kings and whether the anonymity of female characters functions differently from that of male characters.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Adele Reinhartz is at McMaster University.

Editorial Reviews

"Reinhartz challenges the conventional notion that anonymity is associated primarily with women characters, but also argues that gender is central to readers' construction of and resonses to unnamed characters." --Old Testament Abstracts

"...filled with insightful observations."--Bibliotheca Sacra

"This is a fascinating study and an easy book to read."--The Bible Today

"This is a superb study of anonymity in biblical narrative, a model of sophisticated and eminently readable literary analysis...Reinhartz has contributed a beautiful analysis of many of the most interesting, strange, and sometimes unnoticed figures in the Hebrew Bible, as well as an exemplary study of a neglected literary technique."--Journal of Biblical Literature

Other titles by Adele Reinhartz