Religion in Migration: Second Temple Worship According to Tobit

Doctoral Dissertation


This dissertation provides an analysis via narrative criticism of the Greek Long Recension of the Book of Tobit, primarily witnessed by the text of the Codex Sinaiticus. The first chapter is an introduction to the text of Tobit regarding origin, transmission history, and scholarly approaches to the text. The second chapter offers an examination of allusions to the prophecy of Amos in the plot and narrative of Tobit. It is contended that Tobit is globally formed as a narrative by reference to Amos, and the Book of Tobit as a whole affirms prophesy as an interpretive guide for diaspora life. The third chapter studies economic language in Tobit; it argues that the major characters are individually distinctive regarding economic conceptualizations of God’s providence and recompense. The fourth chapter re-evaluates characterization in Tobit, with specific focus on the figures of Tobit and Hannah. A ‘Hieronymian Paradigm’ is traced from Jerome’s Vulgate additions to the Book of Tobit; this paradigm likening Tobit to Job remains to date the majority view on Tobit as character. It is argued that such a position under-represents the contributions of other characters, particularly women, as well as literary allusions and plot incidents that present Tobit in an unflattering light. The fifth chapter considers the narrative structure of interruption and its use to promote particular acts of worship: alms, burial of the dead, prayer, and endogamous marriage. By this repeated narrative technique such acts are performed in relation to other civil and religious obligations and their priority is demonstrated. Tobit offers a creative synthesis of Jewish worship, endorsing these acts with a liturgical theology formed of Temple, monarchical, and patriarchal traditions. The exile of Tobit’s community and the journey of Tobias and Sarah is thus an account of religion in migration, narrating how religious traditions develop with respect to foreign lands and experiences, written so as to guide Jewish life abroad.


Attribute NameValues
Author Richard F. Klee
Contributor Maxwell E. Johnson, Research Director
Contributor John C. Cavadini, Committee Member
Contributor Kimberly Belcher, Committee Member
Contributor Gerald N. Knoppers, Research Director
Contributor Tzvi Novick, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Theology
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
Defense Date
  • 2018-07-02

Submission Date 2018-07-09
  • Second Temple Judaism

  • Tobit

  • Liturgical Theology

  • Diaspora Literature

  • Amos

  • Jewish Worship

  • Aramaic

  • Hebrew

  • Ancient Greek

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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