From Gender to Politics
By Terry Giles, William J. Doan
The unique contribution of the study lies in it being placed with in the methodologies of orality, ancient performance, and the transference of a religious text from oral to written, from female to male, and from private to political. This opens up new avenues for understanding the relationship between the “original” text and its audience(s). The authors succeed well in indicating how the originally subversive gender-based text was transformed into a text that served (male) political ends.
The book of Ruth is probably best known as a romantic love story that, through the expression of loving devotion, overcomes tragedy and ends with the founding of the most famous family in all of biblical Israel. But the book wasn't always this way. In fact, it wasn't a book at all but rather a story told with a very different purpose in mind. Before Ruth, there was the Story of Naomi, a subversive story designed to challenge a male-dominated status quo. Through comedy, sarcastic irony, and unparalleled rhetorical skill the Naomi storyteller holds up for inspection social gender roles and the power of sexuality in a manner that resonates yet today. The Story of Naomi--The Book of Ruth goes behind the literary rendition of the story and recaptures the original oral tale, with script and performance directions that brings to life the humor, tragedy, and transparent honesty shared between the Naomi storyteller and her audience.