The relationship of the Strange Woman and Woman Wisdom, separate but inseparable in Proverbs 1–9, is the book’s analytical starting point, becoming a hermeneutical lens for viewing other texts of strangeness of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and cultic activity. Wisdom and strangeness mark the narratives of Samson and Solomon, while priestly literature sets strangeness against holiness. Miriam and Dinah, sisters of cultic eponyms Aaron and Levi, are Israelite women defiles or unclean, made strange. Priestly and wisdom constructions of gendered strangeness intersect, illuminating the ideologies of identity that develop in the post-exilic period and shape the beginnings of the biblical canon.
Claudia V. Camp is Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University.