Asenath, History of

Asenath, History of

The Life and Confession of Asenath, daughter of Pentephres of Heliopolis; a Narrative (of what happened) when the beautiful Joseph took her to wife." Such is the full title of a short religious romance published by Fabricius. He gave at first a Latin text; afterwards a much fuller Greek original of eight out of the nineteen chapters from an imperfect MS. 'The British Museum possesses a Syriac. version, made from the Greek by Moses of Agil, about 550. The story is very simple. Asenath, a proud beauty, disdained all suitors excepting Pharaoh's eldest son, and treated with scorn her father's wish that she should marry Joseph. But when she saw him she declared that by his beauty he must be " a son of God," and repented the bitter words she had spoken about his imprisonment and the occasion of it. She came to him with the greeting, "Hail, my lord, blessed of the Most High God." Joseph, however, repelled her; but, seeing her tears, laid his hand on her head, and prayed God to bless her. A few days later an angel appeared to her, and promised that Joseph should be her spouse. On his departure Joseph arrived, and the next day asked her of Pharaoh; and Pharaoh celebrated the marriage with great pomp. The book aends with a strange story: Pharaoh's son, being enamoured of Asenathi, endeavored to procure the murder of Joseph, but was unsuccessful. The purpose of this history. is not very evident; the signs of Christian origin are not to be mistaken, though Jewish legend may have supplied materials. There is no evidence to show in what country the book was written.

 
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