Unveiling the Versions: The Tactics of Tamar in Genesis 38:15

  • John R. Huddlestun

Abstract

Modern interpretations of Tamar’s actions in Genesis 38:15 fall into two groups: those who maintain that the veil indicated her prostitute status and those who counter that it only concealed her identity. I argue that the expansion to and subsequent interpretive history of this verse, coupled with the lack of correlation between veil and prostitution historically, suggest that the first mentioned interpretation - Judah believed her to be a prostitute because of the veil - should be reconsidered. Rather, the separation of shroud from profession, both exegetically and historically, provides a compelling historical precedent for the second view, namely, that Tamar’s veil concealed more than it revealed.
Published
2001-12-31
Section
Articles