Although mentioned only twice in Genesis (19:17, 26), Lot’s wife has been a topic of much discussion amongst both traditional and modern commentators and exegetes. The traditional midrashim seek to explain why she chose to disregard the instructions she was given and the nature of her punishment. In doing so, they follow two principal directions, representing her a) negatively as a wicked sinner, a Sodomite who acted as such even before disobeying the divine decree not to look backwards—thus linking her disobedience with her intrinsic character (e.g., curious, greedy, inhospitable, faithless); or b) positively as a loving mother and daughter. However, as opposed to the androcentric traditional midrash, the Jewish American women poets, who write midrashic-poetry, re-read the biblical story with a feminine/feminist lens, making what Alicia Ostriker calls “revisionist mythmaking.” As such, they very rarely take the first route, almost always highlighting Lot’s wife’s positive—female—aspects. In this article, I shall analyze nine poems written by American Jewish women poets from the 1980s until 2015, who draw on the biblical text in order to deal with contemporary issues or contextualize it in the modern period.
"Looking Back, or Re-visioning: Contemporary American Jewish Poets on “Lot’s Wife”."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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