ACRH Seminar: #metoo in the Bible (Faustina Doufikar-Aerts)
Amsterdam, 5 March 2019
ACRH Seminar, 15.30-17.00 uur, ZAAL 14A40
The Biblical Story of Susanna and the Elders or ‘the virtuous lady motif’ has always appealed to the imagination of audiences. It was portrayed in Roman catacombs, in medieval illuminated Bibles and became popular in the representations of painters like Rembrandt, Tintoretto, and Van Orley. It inspired baroque composers like Händel.
In the past century research and criticism – predominantly from the field of theology, literature and gender studies – highlighted the origin and relationship of the Susanna story in the Septuagint and Theodotion.
So far, little attention has been paid to other testimonies of ‘Susanna’ in a non-biblical context, as preserved in the traditions of the Samaritans, Shi’ite and Sunnite Muslims, Copts and Ethiopian Jews, which were handed down in Arabic, Persian and Ge‘ez.
On the one hand the novelistic character of the Susanna story reveals that the conditions – such as dramatic turns and an appealing plot – are essential for the heroine’s survival, literally as well as literarily. The role of Daniel and the subtle, but spectacular dénouement, which complies with the Aristotelian anagnorisis, shows how the name of a tree can make the difference of a life!
On the other hand, what does ‘Susanna’ expose us in the light of #Metoo in retrospective?