chapter
10 Pages

Ruth/ of of of

When one thinks about some of the issues in Ruth, one may agree that what Bal calls the "trial between law and legitimacy" is one of them. Without tying various elements of the narrative together as Bal has, one would not, however, be likely to articulate this theme. Each of the readings of Ruth we have treated has by taking a different tack featured a different aspect of the story. For different purposes, one would choose to read differently. To stress the particularly Israelite themes of the story, one might highlight the genealogical components of the narrative, dealing with Ruth's Moabite background in a political manner. One might also point to the parallel cycles ofrebirth in the land and the family, seeing the intimate connection ofpeople and their ancestral land on a national scale-concerning the relations ofthe Israelite people to their homeland. lIS On the other hand, one may use Ruth for its moral or theological lesson about the virtues of personal kindness. On a higher level ofabstraction, one may read this narrative as a tale that sublimates universal human insecurities about fertility and order. Thinking politically, one may appeal to Ruth for confirmation of a male dominant social system-after all, it is in an all-male forum that personal fates are decided. Or one may adduce the Ruth narrative to demonstrate the benefits that may accrue to a society from the collaboration of independent and assertive women.