Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives

Fortress Press, 1984


Professor Trible focuses on four variations upon the theme of terror in the Bible. By combining the discipline of literary criticism with the hermeneutics of feminism, she reinterprets the tragic stories of four women in ancient Israel: Hagar, Tamar, an unnamed concubine, and the daughter of Jephthah. In highlighting the silence, absence, and opposition of God, as well as human cruelty, Trible shows how these neglected stories—interpreted in memoriam—challenge both the misogyny of Scripture and its use in church, synagogue, and academy.

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Key Features

  • Challenges misogyny of Scripture and the church
  • Focuses on four women in the Bible
  • Employs literary criticism and feminist hermeneutics


  • Hagar: The Desolation of Rejection
  • Tamar: The Royal Rape of Wisdom
  • An Unnamed Woman: The Extravagance of Violence
  • The Daughter of Jephthah: An Inhuman Sacrifice

Praise for the Print Edition

The approach of Phyllis Trible in her book Texts of Terror is a sophisticated attempt to grapple with [negative texts] . . . calling the reader to identify with biblical women both in their oppression and in their struggle for freedom. . . . Trible enables an engagement with these biblical narratives which is both profound and challenging.

—Paul M. Joyce, lecturer of theology, University of Oxford

Product Details

About Phyllis Trible

Phyllis Trible is an internationally known biblical scholar and rhetorical critic. A past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, she began her collegiate teaching career at Wake Forest University in 1963. After leaving in 1971, she taught at Andover Newton Theological School in Massachusetts until she went to Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1979 as a professor of Old Testament. From 1981 until her appointment to the Wake Forest University School of Divinity in 1998, she was the Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature at Union Theological Seminary.

Trible, a leader in the text-based exploration of women and gender in Scripture, lectures extensively in the United States and abroad. She is also the author of the volume on Jonah in the New Interpreter’s Bible series.


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