Joseph's Nuclear Family
Joseph Fleishman, Professor at The Zalman Shamir Bible Department at Bar-Ilan University, taught a vivid and sophisticated class about Joseph and his nuclear family. In his lesson Prof. Fleishman focused on two main aspects: Joseph’s marriage with Asenath (as described in Gen 41) and the concept of adoption in comparison between a biblical approach and other ancient Middle Eastern concepts (cf. Gen 48 and Paragraph 185 Laws of Hammurabi).
The first part of the class dealt with Joseph and his Jewish identity in Egypt. The class talked about Joseph’s new name Zaphenath-Paneah, as well as Joseph relationship to Asenath, the daughter of Potifera (priest of On). Prof. Fleishman presented two traditions, which try to explain Asenath’s conversion to a Jewish identity.
The second part of the class dealt with the question of the adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh by Jacob (Gen 48). Prof. Fleishman presented his hypothesis, that the biblical law does not have a distinct concept of adoption, but the biblical world knows the mechanism of adaption, since it is present in the different cultures in the ancient Middle East. The class discussed the thesis with the help of different biblical and non-biblical sources.