Balaam the Seer Is Recast as a Villain
The oldest biblical sources see Balaam as a great seer, but as time goes on, biblical texts portray him in an increasingly negative light. The key to this shift lies in Deuteronomy’s attitude to Israel and gentiles.The Account of Balaam’s Donkey: A Late Polemical Burlesque
Already in 1877, Marcus Kalisch, one of the first Jewish scholars to engage in the critical study of the Bible, noted that the story of Balaam’s donkey is a late insertion which contradicts the rest of the story, both narratively and ideologically. Indeed, in the main story, Balaam is a prophetic character to be respected, while the supplement lampoons him.I have fallen well behind on the essays posted at this site. There are some interesting new ones. I will catch up as time permits.
Meanwhile, for past PaleoJudaica posts on Balaam and on the Deir ʿAlla Inscription, see here (cf. here) and links.
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