Critical Fabulation and the Woman of Judges 19
Esther Brownsmith 
Even when scholars do not name the unnamed or write new stories for them, we re-create them in our own image or, at least, according to our own specifications, as surely as God fashioned human beings to his liking and the narrator created character from the raw materials, whether traditional or imaginative, at his disposal. In this way, scholars, too, blur the lines between reader and text.
Loss gives rise to longing, and in these circumstances, it would not be far-fetched to consider stories as a form of compensation or even as reparations, perhaps the only kind we will ever receive.
Once upon a time, when Israel had no king, there was a woman from Bethlehem in Judah. She was taken as a pilegesh, a secondary wife, by a Levite man who lived in the ass-end of the Ephraimite hills.
(This is not how Judges 19 starts. It says that there was a man, and he took her. Same event, same root verb, different tense. Same story? Perhaps.)
Once upon a time, when Israel had no king, there was a woman who had a name. Perhaps it was Beth, or Bath-Sheber, or Beli-Fachad, or Suzgika, or Timna, or Tamar, or Mara. We don’t know. You can call her—
Wait. Let’s try again. Once upon a time, someone wrote a story—probably a man. In this story, he described a terrible event that happened to another man. That man, a Levite, was threatened with rape by a mob. To avert the rape, he gave his pilegesh to the mob, and they raped her brutally. Afterwards, the Levite chopped her into twelve pieces and sent them across the land. What was her name? Doesn’t matter. As the Levite said, later, “It was me they intended to kill, but they raped my pilegesh, and she died.” (Judg 20:5) You can name your possessions, if you like, but what matters is whether you keep them. He didn’t.
Let’s continue. Once upon a time, someone wrote a story about a man whose woman was gang-raped and killed, and the story was recorded in the book of Judges. Pseudo-Philo included it in his retelling of Judges; he named the Levite Beel and noted that his concubine deserved what she got. He did not name her. Josephus rendered all the characters anonymous and virtuous; the rabbis virtually ignored the whole affair; so did the Church Fathers. All in all, not a single ancient source gave a name to the woman of Judges 19, alone among major female characters of the Bible. Noah’s wife had 103 names, but this woman had none.
Time passed. In “Le Lévite d’Ephraïm,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau retold her tale as a sentimental romance. He even gave a name to Axa, one of the abducted women of Shiloh, but not to the pilegesh. Then in 1782, something remarkable happened: the Swiss poet Johann Jakob Bodmer reworked Rousseau’s narrative into a German poem, and he gave the pilegesh a name: “Timna.” In 1813, a melodramatic pantomime by Alexandre Friedelle (“Madame Alexandre”) named her “Dina.”
The changing tide continued with modern scholarship. Phyllis Trible did not name her, calling her “An Unnamed Woman: Concubine from Bethlehem” in her foundational analysis in Texts of Terror. However, Mieke Bal, Cheryl Exum, Fulata Lusungu Moyo, and Helen Paynter each gave her a name in their feminist discussions of Judges 19; two conservative Christian authors also named her in their retellings. When I decided to make Judges 19 one of the central passages in my dissertation, I too gave her a name of my own. None of these names have caught on beyond their original authors’ proposals, but it is clear that naming the woman of Judges 19 is vital for many modern scholars. We want to know what to call her.
I thus have two goals with this essay. First, I examine the implications of the specific names that various modern writers have chosen. Each author, to paraphrase my title, “calls her by her own name,” choosing a name that reflects her own outlook on the text of Judges 19. Second, I introduce the approach of critical fabulation, as described by Saidiya Hartman, as a way to make sense of the yearning that permeates these naming attempts. Like the women of the trans-Atlantic slave trade whom Hartman studies, the woman of Judges 19 invites scholars to “exceed or negotiate the constitutive limits of the archive.”
Movement 1: Loss Gives Rise to Longing
When I was writing my dissertation, which discussed the violence of Judges 19, I ran into a problem. I had to talk about the chapter’s female character—her depiction was the heart of my analysis—which meant that I had to refer to her somehow. The classic English translation of pilegesh, “concubine,” was right out, as I wanted to avoid its Orientalizing associations. “The pilegesh” was better, but it still defined her through her specific relationship to a man. (It’s not even the only epithet in the story; at various points, she is also a maiden, a maidservant, and a woman.) “The woman” was too vague. What I needed, for practicality’s sake if nothing else, was a name.
Yet what does a name mean? According to some classic lines of thought, the answer is “nothing”: a name points to a specific instance of someone or something, and therefore has no meaning beyond the grammatical function of identifying that entity. In the case of real names, this may be true; while “Rachel” derives from the Semitic word for “ewe,” I am not communicating anything about sheep when I speak about my friend Rachel. But as the field of literary onomastics shows, fictional names frequently function as more than pointers. Grant W. Smith has argued that names are “semiotic signs that evoke a variety of associations,” associations that an author of fiction intentionally attaches. Names denote, but they also connote. They matter.
Everything from the aural shape of a name to its evocation of other namesakes colours our encounter with each name. When I decided to name the woman of Judges 19, I knew that whatever I chose would have significance. I do not think it irrelevant, then, to examine the names that other authors before me chose to give her.
The first person to name the woman of Judges 19 in print was Johann Jakob Bodmer, a Swiss author and poet. In 1782, he published a poetic reimagining of Rousseau’s 1762 prose poem “Le Lévite d’Ephraïm,” and unlike Rousseau, he gave both the Levite and his pilegesh names: Theba and Timna, respectively. But Timna is not an invented name. She exists in the Bible as a pilegesh—the pilegesh of Esau’s son Eliphaz (Gen 36:12), and the mother of Amalek. While Bodmer was not primarily a theologian, his choice of an existing biblical character’s name was surely no coincidence. By naming the character Timna, he evoked and reinforced her status as pilegesh, just another in a line of secondary wives.
About thirty years later, Madame Alexandre wrote a melodramatic pantomime (a “grand spectacle,” according to the booklet’s front page) that named all the major characters in the story, whose events were reworked substantially. The pilegesh was named Dina—once again the preexisting name of a biblical woman. Genesis 34 tells the story of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob: her rape, and the retaliatory slaughter that followed. In this case, then, what mattered about the woman was not her status relative to her husband; it was her fate and the fate of those who attacked her. We know little about Madame Alexandre beyond her gender, but did that gender inspire her to give “Dina” a name that evoked a victimised daughter of Jacob, rather than a second-ranked mother of wicked Amalek? Perhaps.
For almost two hundred years, no one else would give the woman of Judges 19 a name. (To be fair, the text’s subject matter made it less than popular as a subject for literary adaptations.) Then, in 1988, Mieke Bal broke the long silence. According to “The Rape of Narrative and the Narrative of Rape,” she named the woman for practical reasons: “I wish to speak about [the women of Judges] and, in order to be able to do that, I will give them names.” But in Death and Dissymmetry: The Politics of Coherence in the Book of Judges, she gives a more profound explanation during her discussion of Jephthah’s daughter.
To name this nameless character is to violate the biblical text. Not to name her is to violate her with the text, endorsing the text’s ideological position. I feel it is not only acceptable, but necessary, to take some critical distance from the alienating anonymity of the character without, however, losing sight of the structure of subjectivity that it signifies. Therefore, I will give this woman a name, but a name which stresses her dependence and her state.
She turns similarly to the woman of Judges 19, aiming to “name her, allow her subjectivity, while still doing justice to her as a figuration of (the lack of) subjectivity.” Bal chooses the name “Beth,” which means “house” in Hebrew, because (in Bal’s view) the term pilegesh “means something like ‘patrilocal wife’: a wife living in the house of the father, a wife who remains a daughter.” Moreover, “Beth” resembles “Bath” (her name for Jephthah’s daughter), and the house is a textual motif: the woman is “dragged from house to house and gang-raped and killed when expelled from the house.” These quotations show that naming “Beth” is, for Bal, far more than just a practical matter of being able to discuss the character. To the contrary, Bal argues: to leave her nameless is to “endors[e] the text’s ideological position” of alienation. By naming her, we “violate” the biblical text, but we avoid violating her.
There is much to discuss here. First, there is Bal’s justification of naming: in what sense is Beth a real entity, someone capable of being violated, someone who can be “allowed subjectivity”? (Of course a character can always be treated as the subject of their story, but “allowed” implies someone waiting for permission to take that centre stage.) And second, what elements of the character and her story does “Beth”/“house” highlight, and what elements does it hide?
The answer to the first question is less than simple. No one is arguing that Beth was a historical figure, a “real” woman—and even if she were, she would be long dead and past the point of further suffering. Yet there are indeed living beings whose fate is tied to hers: the readers of her story. As readers, we can engage in a parasocial relationship with her—that is, a “one-way” relationship between a real person and an impossibly distant figure. So Beth may not be real, but our relationship to her can be, and it can colour our own thoughts and emotions. Our affective entanglement with her means that her wellbeing—her dignity, her personhood—is tied to our own. She exists to the extent that she influences us.
As for the second question, I will not use this space to debate whether Bal’s view of the pilegesh as a patrilocal wife is our best understanding of the historical data. What interests me is the implications of naming Beth after the home. Unlike many readers, Bal lingers on the extended passage in Judges 19:2–10, where Beth’s father insists on hosting her husband for lengthy days, despite her husband’s reticence. In Bal’s view, this is a competition which “not only takes place in the father’s house; it is also about the father’s house … his hospitality, his capacity to provide.” The overarching goal of Bal’s analysis is to “show how we can see ancient narratives, not as sources for knowledge that lie outside them, but as the materialization of a social reality.” Thus, she employs exceedingly modern tools, but she does so with the ultimate goal of illuminating ancient society—in this case, the patrilocal aspects of that society. By making Beth’s own name a pointer toward Bal’s vision of the ancient world, she delineates her area of interest in investigating her character.
Just five years later, Cheryl Exum responded to Bal, explaining that “because ‘Beth’ strikes my ear as odd and somehow modern, I give her a different name.” Exum cites Bal’s reasoning for her decision to name the woman and reiterates that “naming the woman and making her the focus of our inquiry are interpretive moves that restore her to the subject position the androcentric narrative destroys.” (Once again, we return to this idea of restoring subjectivity.) As for the choice of name, Exum has clearly given the question much thought; her layered explanation, which also references her intertwined discussion of Bath-sheba’s story, is lengthy.
On the analogy of Bath-sheba (daughter of an oath, or daughter of seven), I call her Bath-sheber (daughter of breaking). The Hebrew verb shabar means ‘to break’ or ‘to break in pieces’; the noun sheber can mean ‘breaking’, as in the breaking of pottery into pieces (Isa. 30.14), or ‘fracture’, as in the fracture of a limb (Lev. 21.19; Lev. 24.20); it can also refer to anguish or brokenness of spirit (Isa. 65.14). I choose Bath-sheber as a name for this woman because it can serve to remind us both of what happens to her at the hands of the men of Gibeah and also of her subsequent dismemberment by her husband.
I do not want Bath-sheber’s name to stand for only the horrible things that happen to her. The word sheber can refer to interpretation, as in the phrase, ‘breaking of a dream’ (Judg. 7.15). Like dreams, according to Freud, texts require over-interpretation. Since I propose to over-interpret this text, I intend Bath-sheber’s name to signify the role feminist criticism plays in breaking open the text’s phallocentric ideology and exposing the buried and encoded messages it gives to women—messages upon which it relies to control women and keep them in their place.
Exum’s name is multifaceted, polysemic. The dual associations of “brokenness” and “over-interpretation” evoke both the “horrible” aspects of her story and its potential for insight; they also reflect two of the main scholarly approaches to the story. The “texts of terror” approach views the woman’s suffering as irredeemable and all-important; “we want to forget but are commanded to speak.” In contrast, while Exum agrees that the story “reflect[s] androcentric ideas about women and promote[s] androcentric interests,” she seeks instead to subvert and undermine those androcentric interests—to “over-interpret” the original text through a gendered reading.
Here we come to a final way in which “Bath-sheber” is double-sided: it reflects both what happened to her and what could be made of her—a shift from a historicist to a presentist perspective. To the text’s original author and audience, Bath-sheber was a broken woman; to us as modern feminist readers, she serves as a transformative lens. In this sense, Exum’s name represents an intermediary between Bal’s and later interpretations. She calls what happened to Bath-sheber a “literary rape,” a “rape by the pen,” in which the text focalises the woman’s body as object, inviting objectification from its (male) readers: “like pornography—though not so blatantly.” Her choice of “Bath-sheber” therefore centres our interpretation on the relationship between ancient text and modern reader, and on the ways that a feminist analysis can “break” the insidious structures of assumptions that link the two.
“Bath-sheber” is an exceedingly clever name, capturing both the plain sense of the woman’s suffering and the discursive potential of her fragmentation, but later scholarship continued to treat the woman as unnamed; indeed, Don Michael Hudson overtly pushed back against Bal and Exum in a 1994 article that suggested that “naming is really a violation of the women and the concubine in particular,” a move similar to “naming the ‘unknown soldier.’” Hudson argues (unconvincingly, in my view) that by naming her, we lose the “poignant reminders of what happens to anonymous victims at the hands of anonymous perpetrators in a nameless, faceless society.” But Hudson also makes a second argument for preserving anonymity, which I find more intriguing—namely, that “anonymity also demands that the reader endure the ambivalence and ‘uncomfortability’ of the namelessness. Because anonymity resists interpretation, knowability and symbolisation, the reader comes face-to-face with the ‘uncanny.’” I will return to this argument in the second half of my discussion.
In 2017, another female scholar approached the text of Judges 19—this time reading it in light of sexually violated Rwandan women and girls from the Rwandan genocide. Fulata Lusungu Moyo sought to “break the silence around and name sexual violence as blasphemy,” and for her, naming the nameless woman was part of this approach. She calls her “Suzgika,” “‘the troubled one’ in Malawian Tumbuka language,” and connects her story to the hundreds of thousands of women who were raped and/or killed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In Moyo’s words, “raped and murdered Rwandan women and girls become an embodiment” of Suzgika, whose “body became the battlefield.”
Moyo is the only writer I know to give the woman a non-Hebrew name, choosing a Malawian name (Moyo is Malawian). This choice harmonises with Moyo’s broader approach of viewing the story as “embodied” in modern raped women. In other words, her primary goal is not to piece together a historically accurate reproduction of the past; it is to situate the stories of the past in the present, using what she calls “contextual Bible study” (CBS), and that means choosing a name that resonates with present ears. Moreover, the choice of etymologies—“the troubled one”—focuses readers on Suzgika’s experience of suffering, which is the element of the narrative that Moyo most emphasises. The connection between Suzgika and the Rwandan women and girls is their experience of sexual violence; other elements of the Judges 19 story are secondary.
At about the same time, two male conservative Christian authors would take up Rousseau’s torch again, retelling the story for a modern audience. In a 2016 novel, Barry Bilger named the woman Tamar, claiming that his names “were selected at random from various Old Testament genealogical lists.” But a 2018 retelling would make its naming motivations more explicit. Michael E. Quist centred his novella about Judges 19 on the woman, whom he named “Mara” and depicted as a flirtatious seductress who found it “provocative” to be the “sex object” of her Benjaminite rapists. After her death, Mara meets Jesus, repents of her sinful sexuality, and receives salvation. Jesus tells her, “You will no longer be called Mara, meaning bitterness, because that part of you is gone now. I shall call you Ga’al, my redeemed one.” This salvific moment did not come with amnesia—Ga’al still remembers her rape and murder—so the “bitterness” that has vanished is not the suffering she endured. Rather, the story implies, bitterness was inherent to her promiscuous character; sin is bitterness, and its antithesis is redemption. I need not spell out all the ways that this trivialises the suffering that she endured, centring her character on her (largely invented) promiscuity. In Quist’s retelling, the story of a woman’s unimaginable suffering has been transformed into the story of how Jesus’s grace overcomes sin.
In 2020, a Christian feminist scholar also sought to find redemptive meaning in the text, but her methods and outlook diverged radically from Quist’s. Helen Paynter situates the story in the context of modern sexual violence, and in the midst of its brutality, she aims for a “reparative reading” of Judges 19, as inspired by Eve Sedgwick. She describes this approach as “uncover[ing] her voice” and argues that, contrary to most characterisations, the woman “is operating with strong agency” and (despite her textual silence) makes herself heard with “powerful and truthful speech.” In recognition of this reading, Paynter names the woman in honour of an Indian woman who was similarly raped and murdered, dubbed “Nirbhaya” (“fearless one”) by the Indian press. “Beli-Fachad,” Paynter calls the woman of Judges 19: “Without-Fear.”
This bold name sets up Beli-Fachad as actor rather than acted-upon, an approach that mirrors Paynter’s hermeneutic. Paynter accuses traditional scholarship of being “uncritically accepting of certain elements of rape culture.” Even Beli-Fachad’s anonymity, in her view, “is not inherently an objectifying action on the part of the narrator”; rather, it is later scholarship that objectified her, viewing her suffering as unimportant and/or well-deserved. To the contrary, Beli-Fachad “speaks” non-verbally: by sending a message to Israel, by illustrating a moral critique of Israel, and by encouraging affective reactions and solidarity from modern readers. As it happens, I disagree with the claim that the text’s narrator “distantiates himself” from the rape culture of the text, but Paynter’s reading represents an important attempt to find “good surprises” in even the grimmest biblical texts. Beli-Fachad, as Paynter reads her, is fearless indeed.
Last of all is my own effort to wrestle with the woman’s anonymity. In my 2020 dissertation, I dedicated a chapter to the discussion of Judges 19 and its portrayal of the woman. After considerable thought, I decided to name her; a native Hebrew speaking friend suggested “Tizkoret,” a feminine word derived from the Hebrew root zakhar, “to remember.” “Tizkoret” thus means “a reminder, a memorial.” Although I justified my choice to name her as a pragmatic act—the alternative was to refer to her by one of her varying epithets—I cannot claim that the choice of name was anything but a deliberate counter-narrative to the biblical text. In Judges, Tizkoret was unnamed, abused, and ultimately forgotten; while her husband alludes to her murder in chapter 20, he frames it as a crime against himself, and the narrative omits her entirely after that point. Subsequent reception history also chose to forget her, as shown above; the ancients left her unnamed, and she never attracted the artistic and literary attention of biblical heroines like Deborah and Ruth. I chose the name Tizkoret as “a reminder, a memorial” of a character who, though fictional, experienced suffering akin to so many other women who have been similarly forgotten. Every time that I named Tizkoret in my analysis, I implicitly said, this character is important. Do not forget her.
Movement 2: A Form of Compensation
“[Ovid’s Ibis] deprives the vast majority of its injured, dead, or dying of the consolation of their name, performing a sociological murder on them all over again, a twist every bit as painful as the knife itself.” With these words, Tom Geue describes the act that he calls “antonomasia”: the denial of a name in a written record. All the attempts in my previous movement have been responses to this act, attempts to “un-twist the knife” that sliced Tizkoret into twelve pieces and left her more meat than maiden. In this movement, I step back to consider the implications of this instinctive impulse.
In 2008, Saidiya Hartman published the profound essay “Venus in Two Acts,” a meditation on an enslaved girl named Venus that wrestles with the limitations and gaps of the historical archive. “The loss of stories sharpens the hunger for them,” she writes. “So it is tempting to fill in the gaps and to provide closure where there is none.” Hartman combines historical data with imagined details for this girl, but she self-reflexively questions the process of doing so:
The intent of this practice is not to give voice to the slave, but rather to imagine what cannot be verified, a realm of experience which is situated between two zones of death—social and corporeal death—and to reckon with the precarious lives which are visible only in the moment of their disappearance… It is a history of an unrecoverable past; it is a narrative of what might have been or could have been; it is a history written with and against the archive.
Hartman’s essay is invaluable, but it does not provide easy answers or a simple pattern to follow. To the contrary, Hartman is explicit that her goal is both “to tell an impossible story and to amplify the impossibility of its telling.” This is impossible work. We are compelled to do it anyway.
I can feel this compulsion myself: I am affectively unsatisfied with leaving Tizkoret anonymous, even if “the anonymity may serve the interests of the storyteller.” As a scholar, I am interested in the storyteller’s interests; I want to know what he intended to communicate and how he intended to communicate it. But the storyteller’s interests are not my own. I cannot avoid reading about Tizkoret in the light of modern rape narratives, whose narrators still often remain anonymous out of shame or fear of retribution. In the words of Nancy Raine, “Rape has long been considered a crime so unspeakable, so shameful to its victims, that they are rendered mute and cloaked in protective anonymity. In giving language to my own experience, I hope I can make rape less ‘unspeakable.’” If we are to join Raine in making rape less “unspeakable,” then a natural step is to speak about it, openly and clearly. After all, “the frontier is thin between being unknown and being a non-person.”
Hartman offers a concrete strategy to combat the deathly silence of archival gaps: “critical fabulation.” Both halves of this term have a double meaning. “Critical” evokes critical scholarship, the practice of interrogating a text with care and rationality, but it also evokes urgency; it is critical that we engage in this re-imagining. “Fabulation” has a common English meaning of “making up false stories,” but for Hartman, it also refers to “fabula,” the “building blocks of the narrative” in literary theory. She thus concludes:
By playing with and rearranging the basic elements of the story, by re-presenting the sequence of events in divergent stories and from contested points of view, I have attempted to jeopardize the status of the event, to displace the received or authorized account, and to imagine what might have happened or might have been said or might have been done. 
This process bears a similarity to Deryn Guest’s strategy of lesbian “reclamation” of biblical texts, and also to the venerable practice of midrash in Jewish communities. At its core, it is a practice of what if. What if the woman in Judges 19 were the subject of the story, instead of object and then abject? What if we saw her through the eyes of her (unmentioned) mother, who received her daughter back for a precious four months, then lost her again to a heartless husband, then saw her returned to her tribe as a chunk of bloody meat? What if that mother had named her Tizkoret, thinking, I will remember you, my precious daughter, even when marriage takes you from my house? What if their hands clung together when Tizkoret left her, just as Tizkoret’s hands would cling instinctively to the threshold of the door after her assault? What if a woman wept in Bethlehem, whispering her daughter’s name again and again?
But this urge to speculate and speak is not uncomplicated. Naming characters has, in the texts I discussed above, been viewed as an act of empowerment toward those characters. Yet from a different perspective, naming someone is an act of control and domination over them. McKinsey makes this point powerfully with a quotation from Robinson Crusoe:
“I made him know his name should be Friday [. . .]; I likewise taught him to say Master, and then let him know, that was to be my name” (Defoe 209). In the new lands of European discovery and conquest, domination and denomination went hand in hand.
This tendency is not limited to “European discovery and conquest”—one recalls here the creation story of Genesis 2, where Adam names the animals and then his woman, establishing his role atop their hierarchy—but it is certainly acutely linked to whiteness and mastery in the modern world.
The most obvious example of this is the onomastic legacy of slavery, in which white enslavers were the un-namers and imposers of names for the people they enslaved. In response, the act of self-renaming was significant for many formerly enslaved people. In the words of Booker T. Washington, “a feeling got among the coloured people that it was far from proper for them to bear the surname of their former owners, and a great many of them took other surnames. This was one of the first signs of freedom.” This practice was not limited to the period of abolition; most famously, Malcolm X changed his surname from “Little” to “X” to discard the name of the man who enslaved his ancestors. In his autobiography, Malcolm X wrote:
For me, my “X” replaced the white slave-master name of “Little” which some blue-eyed devil named Little had imposed upon my paternal forebears… Mr. Muhammad taught that we would keep this “X” until God Himself returned and gave us a Holy Name from His own mouth.
I am reminded here of one Christian teacher’s comment on the woman of Judges 19: “Although we don’t know her name, God does.” In both cases, this claim to divine onomastic knowledge has a profound implication: the person has a real name, a true name, albeit one that is temporarily unknown. This claim speaks to our deep yearning to be named and known by name; it speaks to the importance of engaging in the practice of naming, even as it concedes our limited knowledge.
In this way, naming transforms anonymity into agency. In an influential 1982 essay, Kimberly Benston traced this onomastic alchemy through Black American literature, including the poetry of Jay Wright, who wrote:
It is always right
to name the place you move in,
to name yourself within it,
to name these people here now.
These people now.
Naming and unnaming are both acts of great power for the one who enacts them. Perhaps it is “always right” to seize that power when it comes to our own self-determination. Yet naming is a powerful responsibility, for in Rachel Peckham’s words, “in naming we create. And so we must be very careful in how we wield this power, literature teaches us, so that naming doesn’t become destructive.”
The reasons to hesitate at naming cut deep, as this quote illuminates with its martial metaphor of “wielding power,” envisioning naming like a keen-edged sword. Benston’s essay also turns to The Scarlet Letter—not Black American literature itself, but one of the texts that he argues had a profound influence on that body of writing. He notes that originally, “Hester Prynne’s badge is at once the stigma of social exclusion, a device of unnaming alienation, and the imposition of a rigid communal role, a sentence of supposedly immutable naming.” But as the story develops, her badge becomes “a kind of unacknowledged palimpsest for cultural liberation,” and “Hester is herself the master of ‘A’ as an instrument of unnaming: …she undermines its social function of self-denial and utilises it instead as a mechanism of self-mystification.” This touches back on Hudson’s argument that with anonymity, “the reader comes face-to-face with the ‘uncanny.’”
So what of those like Hester Prynne who do not wield power, who find power precisely in their abjection, their absence of mastery and dominance? In her discussion of Darieck Scott’s Extravagent Abjection, also drawing heavily from Jack Halberstam’s The Queer Art of Failure, Amelia Speight notes that “there is a power in refusing to signify or ‘be named.’” Focusing on the character of Baby Suggs in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Speight argues that “there is something powerful in Baby Suggs’ giving up. She may be embracing the queer art of failure, but also the world has deeply failed her.” As a result, “lingering in the total abjection and loss she faces is in many ways a deeply queer, deeply powerful capstone on a complicated life.” Naming is power, but its rejection, and the abjection that ensues from unnaming, has a power of its own.
Scott’s book, though it deals less overtly with naming, has much to say about this subversive power of abjection. Scott writes:
I argue that the abjection in/of blackness endows its inheritors with a form of counterintuitive power—indeed, what we can begin to think of as black power. This power (which is also a way of speaking of freedom) is found at the point of the apparent erasure of ego-protections, at the point at which the constellation of tropes that we call identity, body, race, nation seem to reveal themselves as utterly penetrated and compromised, without defensible boundary.
“Utterly penetrated and compromised, without defensible boundary”: these words certainly also apply to Tizkoret, whose gender, social position, and circumstances placed her among the entirely abject. (Nor would I be the first to call Tizkoret “abject.”) As abject, like the black and queer people whom Scott examines, Tizkoret thus embraces power on an entirely different axis. Scott notes that his version of “black power … keeps its subjects from being (re)subjectified to an identity politics that, in its penchant for strong ego formations, ultimately serves white, masculinist, retrogressive nationalist and heteronormative regimes.” Instead, this power offers new and different benefits; it grants “access to anonymous existence, to indeterminacy and a kind of freedom in the form of anguish and vertigo,” providing “experiences of temporality as interarticulated, counterlinear rather than linear.” By naming Tizkoret and thus “rescuing” her from the ranks of the abject, am I denying her this “access to anonymous existence”? Am I forcing her into the ranks of linear temporality, imprisoning her as a character in a brutal history, rather than a ghost who drifts, soft-soled and slippery, around the grim details of Judges?
Earlier, I envisioned Tizkoret’s story through her mother’s eyes, a first attempt at critical fabulation. I imagined the same history that Judges tells, but from a different perspective, one that recognised Tizkoret’s humanity and belovedness. Yet perhaps I was too timid, and also too bold: too bold in naming her, and too timid in confining myself to the linear story, as if it were an unchangeable history. Let me try again.
Once upon a time, there was a book named Shoftim, named after the hero-judges who populated its stories. It told stories of many women: Delilah and her seductions, Deborah and her wise leadership. These women permeated the memories and the stories—and perhaps they spoke to each other behind the scenes. Perhaps Jael consoled Jephthah’s doomed daughter; perhaps Achsah played the lute while the daughters of Shiloh rehearsed their dance, twirling despite the knowledge of their fate. Among these women, she walked, unnamed and unbounded. She acted out her narrative a thousand times in pitying readers’ minds, reliving the rape and dismemberment, reinforcing their views about justice and a leaderless land. She watched as scholars debated her character: was she an unfaithful whore or a righteously angry spouse? She took on different names like different costumes, playing her part in the story that each author directed; in between the plays’ acts, she sat and gossiped with her sisters, free to breathe and rest her feet.
But some of her favourite moments were when the survivors of rape and abuse read her story, and looked into her eyes, and said, “You are me.” In those moments, she had a name—and though it was not her own, it was true, and powerful in its abjection. “You are me,” she repeated back to them. And for that moment, they were seen.
Alexandre, Madame. Le Lévite d’Éphraïm, Ou La Destruction Des Benjamites. Paris: Hocquet, 1813. tinyurl.com/AlexandreLevite.
Armstrong, Kat. “The Nameless Concubine (Judges 19–21).” Kat Armstrong, 1 August 2020. tinyurl.com/ArmstrongNameless.
Bal, Mieke. Death and Dissymmetry: The Politics of Coherence in the Book of Judges. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
———. “The Rape of Narrative and the Narrative of Rape: Speech Acts and Body Language in Judges.” Pages 1–32 in Literature and the Body: Essays on Populations and Persons. Edited by Elaine Scarry. Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988. tinyurl.com/BalRape.
Bembry, Jason. “The Levite’s Concubine (Judg 19:2) and the Tradition of Sexual Slander in the Hebrew Bible: How the Nature of Her Departure Illustrates a Tradition’s Tendency.” Vetus Testamentum 68 (2018): 519–539. doi:10.1163/15685330-12341336.
Bender, Wolfgang. Johann Jakob Bodmer und Johann Jakob Breitinger. Stuttgart: Springer-Verlag, 1973. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-03833-3.
Benston, Kimberly W. “‘I Yam What I Am’: Naming and Unnaming in Afro-American Literature.” Black American Literature Forum 16 (1982): 3–11. doi:10.2307/2904266.
Bilger, Barry. A Bad Joke, Murder and Now Grace?: An Interpretation of the Book of Judges, Chapters 19–21. Self-published: Kindle Direct Publishing, 2016. tinyurl.com/BilgerJoke.
Bird, Phyllis. “‘To Play the Harlot’ An Inquiry into an Old Testament Metaphor.” Pages 186–199 in Gender and Difference in Ancient Israel. Edited by P. I. Day. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1989.
Bodmer, Johann Jacob. Der Levit von Ephraim, aus dem Französ. in dem Plane verändert von (Johann Jacob) Bodmer. Zürich: Orell, Gessner, Füssli, 1782. tinyurl.com/BodmerLevit.
Brettler, Marc. “Review of Death and Dissymmetry.” Hebrew Studies 31 (1990): 96–101. doi:10.1353/HBR.1990.0017.
Brownsmith, Esther. “Inconspicuous Consumption: Conceptual Metaphors of Women as Food in the Deuteronomistic History.” PhD dissertation, Brandeis University, 2020.
Chow, Andrew R. “Decoding the Symbolism of Lil Nas X’s ‘Montero’ Video.” Time, 30 March 2021. tinyurl.com/ChowLilNasX.
Cyrus, Theodoret of. The Questions on the Octateuch, Volume 2. Translated by John F. Petruccione. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2007.
Exum, J. Cheryl. Fragmented Women: Feminist (Sub)Versions of Biblical Narratives. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993.
Freund, Richard A. “Naming Names: Some Observations on ‘Nameless Women’ Traditions in the MT, LXX and Hellenistic Literature.” Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 6 (1992): 213–232. doi:10.1080/09018329208584993.
Ganapathy-Doré, Geetha. “Playing Hide and Seek with Names and Selves in Salman Rushdie’s ‘Joseph Anton, A Memoir’/Jugando al Escondite Con Los Nombres y Las Identidades En ‘Joseph Anton, A Memoir,’ de Salman Rushdie.” Atlantis 35 (2013): 11–25. tinyurl.com/GeethaPlaying.
Genius. “Lil Nas X ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name).’ Official Lyrics & Meaning | Verified.” YouTube, 29 March 2021. tinyurl.com/GeniusLilNasX.
Geue, Tom. Author Unknown: The Power of Anonymity in Ancient Rome. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2019.
Graybill, Rhiannon. Texts After Terror: Rape, Sexual Violence, and the Hebrew Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190082314.001.0001.
Guest, Deryn. When Deborah Met Jael: Lesbian Biblical Hermeneutics. London: SCM, 2005.
Gur-Klein, Thalia. Sexual Hospitality in the Hebrew Bible: Patronymic, Metronymic, Legitimate and Illegitimate Relations. London: Routledge, 2014. doi:10.4324/9781315729350.
Haley, Amanda Hope. Mary Magdalene Never Wore Blue Eye Shadow: How to Trust the Bible When Truth and Tradition Collide. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2019.
Hamley, Isabelle. “‘Dis(re)membered and Unaccounted For’: פילגש in the Hebrew Bible.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 42 (2018): 415–434. doi:10.1177/0309089216690384.
Hartman, Saidiya. “Venus in Two Acts.” Small Axe 12 (2008): 1–14. doi:10.1215/-12-2-1.
Horst, Pieter Willem van der. “Portraits of Biblical Women in Pseudo-Philo’s Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum.” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 5 (1989): 29–46. doi:10.1177/095182078900300503.
Horton, Donald, and R. Richard Wohl. “Mass Communication and Para-Social Interaction: Observations on Intimacy at a Distance.” Psychiatry 19 (1956): 215–229. doi:10.1080/00332747.1956.11023049.
Hudson, Don Michael. “Living in a Land of Epithets: Anonymity in Judges 19–21.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 19 (1994): 49–66. doi:10.1177/030908929401906204.
Hurlbert, Brandon M. “Cut & Splice: Reading Judges 19 Cinematically.” Biblical Interpretation 30 (2020): 125–149. doi:10.1163/15685152-00284p20.
Liebers, Nicole, and Holger Schramm. “Friends in Books: The Influence of Character Attributes and the Reading Experience on Parasocial Relationships and Romances.” Poetics 65 (2017): 12–23. doi:10.1016/J.POETIC.2017.10.001.
Machado, Daisy L. “The Unnamed Woman: Justice, Feminists, and the Undocumented Woman.” Pages 161–176 in A Reader in Latina Feminist Theology: Religion and Justice. Edited by María Pilar Aquino, Daisy L. Machado, and Jeanette Rodriguez. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002. doi:10.7560/705098-010.
Marshall, Katherine with Fulata L. Moyo. “A Discussion with Fulata L. Moyo, World Council of Churches,” Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. 20 May 2016. tinyurl.com/DiscussionMoyo.
McKinsey, Martin. “Missing Sounds and Mutable Meanings: Names in Derek Walcott’s Omeros.” Callaloo 31 (2008): 891–902. doi:10.1353/CAL.0.0175.
Mendel, Heather. Towards Freedom: A Feminist Haggadah for Men and Women in the New Millennium. 5th Edition. California: A Word of Art, 1995.
Mill, John Stuart. A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive. London: Parker, 1843.
Morgenstern, Julian. “Beena Marriage (Matriarchat) in Ancient Israel and Its Historical Implications.” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 47 (1929): 91–110. doi:10.1515/zatw.19220.127.116.11.
Moyo, Fulata Lusungu. “Gang-Raped and Dis-Membered: Contextual Biblical Study of Judges 19:1–30 to Re-Member the Rwandan Genocide.” Pages 125–139 in Sexual Violence and Sacred Texts. Edited by Amy Kalmanofsky. Cambridge, MA: Feminist Studies in Religion Books, 2017.
Ng, Andrew Hock-Soon. “Revisiting Judges 19: A Gothic Perspective.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 32 (2007): 199–215. doi:10.1177/0309089207085883.
Paynter, Helen. Telling Terror in Judges 19: Rape and Reparation for the Levite’s Wife. London: Routledge, 2020.
Peckham, Rachael. “Identity Anxiety and the Power and Problem of Naming in African American and Jewish American Literature.” Xavier Review 29 (2009): 30–47. tinyurl.com/PeckhamIdentity.
Pollock, Sheldon. “Philology in Three Dimensions.” Postmedieval: A Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies 5 (2014): 398–413. doi:10.1057/PMED.2014.33.
Quist, Michael E. Mara—the Levite’s Concubine: A Sketch of Redemption. Self-published: Kindle Direct Publishing, 2018. tinyurl.com/QuistMara.
Raine, Nancy Venable. After Silence: Rape & My Journey Back. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 1998.
Reinhartz, Adele. “Why Ask My Name?” Anonymity and Identity in Biblical Narrative. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Rousseau on Women, Love, and Family. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College Press, 2009.
Sasson, Gahl E. “The Symbolic Meaning of Biblical Names as a Narrative Tool: Moses, Abraham, and David.” Storytelling, Self, Society 11 (2015): 298–313. doi:10.13110/storselfsoci.11.2.0298.
Scott, Darieck. Extravagant Abjection: Blackness, Power, and Sexuality in the African American Literary Imagination. New York, NY: NYU Press, 2010.
Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003. doi:10.1515/9780822384786-007.
Smith, Grant W. “Theoretical Foundations of Literary Onomastics.” Pages 295–309 in The Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming. Edited by Carole Hough. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. doi:10.1093/OXFORDHB/9780199656431.013.41.
Speight, Amelia. “‘What You Call Yourself?’: Nothingness, Naming, Abjection, and Queer Failure in Toni Morrison’s Beloved.” Aisthesis 8 (2017): 7–13. tinyurl.com/SpeightWhat.
Still, Judith. Justice and Difference in the Works of Rousseau. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511470394.
Thompson, John Lee. Writing the Wrongs: Women of the Old Testament among Biblical Commentators from Philo through the Reformation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Trible, Phyllis. Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1984.
Utley, Francis Lee. “The One Hundred and Three Names of Noah’s Wife.” Speculum 16 (1941): 426–452. doi:10.2307/2852842.
Washington, Booker T. Up from Slavery: An Autobiography. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1901.
Wright, Jay. Soothsayers and Omens. New York, NY: Seven Woods Press, 1976.
X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1965.
Yerushalmi, Yosef Hayim. Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1982. Ziolkowski, Theodore. “The Dismembered Body in Myth and Literature: Isis and Osiris and the Levite of Ephraim.” Comparative Literature 69 (2017): 143–159. doi:10.1215/00104124-3865373.
 I owe gratitude to the many colleagues who provided invaluable feedback on this piece. I am particularly grateful to Jorunn Økland for her thoughtful responses, to Blossom Stefaniw for her encouragement and inspiration, and to my anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions. This article was written at and with the support of MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society.
 Adele Reinhartz, “Why Ask My Name?” Anonymity and Identity in Biblical Narrative (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 185–186.
 “Secondary wife” is the most neutral translation of the Hebrew word pilegesh, though the details of its meaning are debated. A pilegesh was a type of wife who was legally bound to a husband, but did not have the status of a “full” wife. The term may have had implications of sexual availability, as seen in characters like Bilhah, who is only called a pilegesh when she is raped by Reuben, and texts like Esther 2:14, where a pilegesh lives in the women’s quarters unless the king calls on her for sex. For more discussion of the connotations of pilegesh, see the recent summary in Isabelle Hamley, “‘Dis(re)membered and Unaccounted For’: פילגש in the Hebrew Bible,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 42 (2018): esp. 418–419, doi:10.1177/0309089216690384.
 “Ass-end”: here, I translate the Hebrew quite literally and deliberately. The Hebrew term yerekhah is roughly equivalent to Akkadian warkatu, “buttocks, rear side,” and the Septuagint translates this phrase even more unambiguously: en merois orous Ephraim, “in the thigh of the mountain-country of Ephraim.”
 This is quite exceptional because Pseudo-Philo had a tendency to name previously unnamed female characters, from Jephthah’s daughter to Manoah’s wife. For early discussions of this tendency, see Pieter Willem van der Horst, “Portraits of Biblical Women in Pseudo-Philo’s Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum,” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 5 (1989): 29–46, doi:10.1177/095182078900300503, and particularly Freund, who argues, “by naming these women, these texts are demonstrating a vision of society and women different than the MT.” Richard A. Freund, “Naming Names: Some Observations on ‘Nameless Women’ Traditions in the MT, LXX and Hellenistic Literature.” Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 6 (1992): 227, doi:10.1080/09018329208584993.
 John Lee Thompson, Writing the Wrongs: Women of the Old Testament among Biblical Commentators from Philo through the Reformation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 187–188.
 A minor possible exception is the fifth-century bishop Theodoret of Cyrus, who, in his Questions on the Octateuch, briefly mentioned “the woman murdered by the lust of immoral men” (The Questions on the Octateuch, Volume 2, translated by John F. Petruccione [Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2007], 360). The word translated as “woman” (gunaion) is actually a diminutive, used both affectionately and derisively, that means “little woman, wifey.” However, this is at best a nickname, not a name—one that turns the woman into a grammatically neuter object.
 “When the Levite first addresses her he calls her ‘Fille de Juda’ and ‘Fille de Bethléem’ in Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Rousseau on Women, Love, and Family (Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College Press, 2009), 1209–10. Rousseau refers to her as ‘une jeune fille’ or as ‘sa jeune épouse’ although she is not the Levite’s wife and the Levite has told her that they cannot be married. The girl has no fixed name, no individual identity.” Judith Still, Justice and Difference in the Works of Rousseau (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 142, doi:10.1017/CBO9780511470394.
 The only exception I know is Heather Mendel’s Towards Freedom: A Feminist Haggadah for Men and Women in the New Millennium, 5th ed. (California: A Word of Art, 1995) which borrows Exum’s name, modified to “Bat Sheber.”
 My title is a reference to the recent song by Lil Nas X (“MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”), which itself is a reference to the book by André Aciman and the movie of the same name (Genius, “Lil Nas X ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ Official Lyrics & Meaning | Verified,” YouTube, 29 March 2021, tinyurl.com/GeniusLilNasX). While Lil Nas X’s song does not deal directly with Judges 19, its music video is rich with allusions to the Bible and Christianity—allusions that Lil Nas X deliberately subverts in support of queer acceptance (Andrew R. Chow, “Decoding the Symbolism of Lil Nas X’s ‘Montero’ Video.” Time, 30 March 2021, tinyurl.com/ChowLilNasX). Thus, like this essay, the music video represents an attempt to wrestle with problematic biblical texts in the light of modern desires for representation.
 Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts,” 11.
 John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive (London: Parker, 1843), 44.
 Grant W. Smith, “Theoretical Foundations of Literary Onomastics,” in The Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming, ed. Carole Hough (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 295.
 We can see the importance of names in Frege’s classic distinction between the statements “a = b” and “a = a.” (Cf. Smith, “Theoretical Foundations of Literary Onomastics,” 297.) If I say that “Montero Lamar Hill is Lil Nas X,” I am making a statement more profound than “Lil Nas X is Lil Nas X.” I am saying that the same entity is denoted by both names—without denying that each name carries its own, distinct set of connotations.
 The impact of literary onomastics on biblical studies still lags behind its rich potential; a handful of studies (e.g., Gahl E. Sasson, “The Symbolic Meaning of Biblical Names as a Narrative Tool: Moses, Abraham, and David,” Storytelling, Self, Society 11 : 298–313, doi:10.13110/storselfsoci.11.2.0298) have touched upon it, but most of these studies focus on etymological and etiological aspects, which are only a subset of the many ways that a name evokes meaning to its readers.
 Timna is also mentioned in the same chapter, the sister of Lotan (Gen 36:22); she is presumably the same person.
 He quit his initial theological training at the Zurich Carolinum (Wolfgang Bender, Johann Jakob Bodmer, und Johann Jakob Breitinger. [Stuttgart: Springer-Verlag , 1973], 14, doi:10.1007/978-3-476-03833-3) preferring to make an eventual academic career in history and literature.
 Here I skip past the 1796 French play by Népomucène Lemercier, “Le Lévite d’Éphraïm”; like Bodmer, Lemercier adapted Rousseau’s text, adding a villain character and naming all the characters. His characters’ names appear to be meaningless pseudo-biblical creations (e.g. Zorobal, Azoard, Abaziel), and the woman’s name (Niloë) likewise has no meaning that I can discern.
 Cf. “Le Lévite d’Éphraïm, ou La destruction des Benjamites”; see also the discussion of the plot divergences in Theodore Ziolkowski, “The Dismembered Body in Myth and Literature: Isis and Osiris and the Levite of Ephraim,” Comparative Literature 69 (2017): 154–155, doi:10.1215/00104124-3865373.
 Mieke Bal, “The Rape of Narrative and the Narrative of Rape: Speech Acts and Body Language in Judges,” in Literature and the Body: Essays on Populations and Persons, ed. Elaine Scarry (Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), 1, tinyurl.com/BalRape.
 Mieke Bal, Death and Dissymmetry: The Politics of Coherence in the Book of Judges (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 43, emphasis mine.
 Bal, Death and Dissymmetry, 89.
 Bal, Death and Dissymmetry, 89.
 Bal, “The Rape of Narrative,” 1.
 Bal, “The Rape of Narrative,” 1.
 The foundational text on parasocial relationships is Donald Horton and R. Richard Wohl, “Mass Communication and Para-Social Interaction: Observations on Intimacy at a Distance,” Psychiatry 19 (1956): 215–229, doi:10.1080/00332747.1956.11023049. For more recent discussions focused on literary characters in particular, cf. Nicole Liebers and Holger Schramm, “Friends in Books: The Influence of Character Attributes and the Reading Experience on Parasocial Relationships and Romances,” Poetics 65 (2017): 12–23, doi:10.1016/J.POETIC.2017.10.001.
 In her recent popular book, Haley writes that women in Scripture “are sometimes sacrificed and raped, often marginalised and unnamed, and in our zeal to find and get to know characters ‘like us’ in Scripture, we sometimes invent names for them.” Amanda Hope Haley, Mary Magdalene Never Wore Blue Eye Shadow: How to Trust the Bible When Truth and Tradition Collide. (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2019), 90. The key phrase here is “characters ‘like us.’” Similarity breeds sympathy, and sympathy cries out for dignity.
 Her view, which follows Julian Morgenstern (e.g. “Beena Marriage (Matriarchat) in Ancient Israel and Its Historical Implications,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 47 : 91–110, doi:10.1515/zatw.1918.104.22.168) has been adopted by some scholars (e.g. Thalia Gur-Klein, Sexual Hospitality in the Hebrew Bible: Patronymic, Metronymic, Legitimate and Illegitimate Relations [London: Routledge, 2014], doi:10.4324/9781315729350). However, mainstream reactions have been largely critical: e.g., Marc Brettler argues that her work is “based on a problematic reconstruction of ancient Israelite marriage,” see “Review of Death and Dissymmetry,” Hebrew Studies 31 (1990): 99, doi:10.1353/HBR.1990.0017. For an overview of these critiques, see Helen Paynter, Telling Terror in Judges 19: Rape and Reparation for the Levite’s Wife (London: Routledge, 2020), 18–19.
 Bal, Death and Dissymmetry, 90.
 Bal, Death and Dissymmetry, 6.
 Cheryl J. Exum, Fragmented Women: Feminist (Sub)Versions of Biblical Narratives (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993), 176.
 Exum, Fragmented Women, 177.
 Exum, Fragmented Women, 176–177.
 Phyllis Trible, Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1984), 65.
 Exum, Fragmented Women, 171–172.
 I allude here to Pollock’s categories in “Philology in Three Dimensions,” where he sets out three “planes of meaning” for modern philology: the historicist plane, concerned with the author’s intentions for the work; the traditionist plane, concerned with the work’s interpretation by historical traditions; and the presentist plane, concerned with the modern reader’s interpretation. See Sheldon Pollock, “Philology in Three Dimensions,” Postmedieval: A Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies 5 (2014): 398–413, doi:10.1057/PMED.2014.33.
 Exum, Fragmented Women, 201, 170.
 Hudson, “Living in a Land of Epithets,” 64.
 Hudson, “Living in a Land of Epithets,” 64.
 Fulata Lusungu Moyo, “Gang-Raped and Dis-Membered: Contextual Biblical Study of Judges 19:1–30 to Re-Member the Rwandan Genocide,” in Sexual Violence and Sacred Texts, ed. Amy Kalmanofsky (Cambridge, MA: Feminist Studies in Religion Books, 2017), 128.
 Moyo, “Gang-Raped and Dis-Membered,” 129.
 Moyo, “Gang-Raped and Dis-Membered,” 134.
 Katherine Marshal with Fulata L. Moyo, “A Discussion with Fulata L. Moyo, World Council of Churches,” Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, 20 May 2016, tinyurl.com/DiscussionMoyo.
 Barry Bilger, A Bad Joke, Murder and Now Grace?: An Interpretation of the Book of Judges, Chapters 19–21 (Self-published: Kindle Direct Publishing, 2016), tinyurl.com/BilgerJoke. “Tamar” is the name of two significant female characters in the Hebrew Bible, but without further information, I hesitate to guess which (if either) he intended as a namesake.
 Quist, Mara.
 The question of whether Judges 19 depicts the woman as promiscuous is broader than I can discuss here; the key term at stake is the Hebrew zanah, elsewhere “to be a prostitute,” in verse 2. So was the woman unfaithful to her husband, or should the verb be translated differently, e.g. “she grew angry at him”? The King James Version translates the first part of the verse as “his concubine played the whore against him,” but more modern translations have questioned this interpretation, drawing on context, ancient translations, and Akkadian parallels for their claims. See Jason Bembry, “The Levite’s Concubine (Judg 19:2) and the Tradition of Sexual Slander in the Hebrew Bible: How the Nature of Her Departure Illustrates a Tradition’s Tendency,” Vetus Testamentum 68 (2018): 519–539, doi:10.1163/15685330-12341336, for a recent and thorough examination of the relevant evidence, including the conflicting LXX translations. For discussion of the verb zanah more broadly, see Phyllis Bird, “‘To Play the Harlot.’ An Inquiry into an Old Testament Metaphor,” in Gender and Difference in Ancient Israel, ed P. I. Day (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1989), 186–199.
 Paynter, Telling Terror, 21, 35, 45.
 Paynter, Telling Terror, 59.
 Paynter, Telling Terror, 3.
 Paynter, Telling Terror, 3.
 Paynter, Telling Terror, 76.
 Esther Brownsmith, “Inconspicuous Consumption: Conceptual Metaphors of Women as Food in the Deuteronomistic History,” PhD dissertation (Brandeis University, 2020).
 This root may be most recognisable in its imperative form as the source of the title Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1982), the influential book by Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi. Many thanks to Lianne Ratzersdorfer, who first suggested the name “Tizkoret.”
 This is apparent in his rhetorical emphasis in Judg 20:5, when he retells the horrible night: “It was me they intended to kill, but they raped my pilegesh, and she died.”
 Tom Geue, Author Unknown: The Power of Anonymity in Ancient Rome (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2019), 73.
 Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts,” 8.
 Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts,” 12.
 Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts,” 11.
 Nancy Venable Raine, After Silence: Rape & My Journey Back (New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 1998), 6.
 Geetha Ganapathy-Doré, “Playing Hide and Seek with Names and Selves in Salman Rushdie’s ‘Joseph Anton, A Memoir’/Jugando al Escondite Con Los Nombres y Las Identidades En ‘Joseph Anton, A Memoir,’ de Salman Rushdie,” Atlantis 35 (2013): 15, tinyurl.com/GeethaPlaying.
 Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts,” 11.
 See particularly Deryn Guest, When Deborah Met Jael: Lesbian Biblical Hermeneutics (London: SCM, 2005), 219–229.
 Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery: An Autobiography (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1901), 23.
 Malcom X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1965).
 Jay Wright, Soothsayers and Omens (New York, NY: Seven Woods Press, 1976), 35.
 Benston, “‘I Yam What I Am’,” 4.
 Hudson, “Living in a Land of Epithets,” 64.
 Speight, “‘What You Call Yourself?’,” 12.
 Speight, “‘What You Call Yourself?’,” 13.
 Darieck Scott, Extravagant Abjection: Blackness, Power, and Sexuality in the African American Literary Imagination (New York, NY: NYU Press, 2010).
 Scott, Extravagant Abjection, 259.
 Scott, Extravagant Abjection, 259.
 This is precisely what happens in Daisy L. Machado’s chapter on “The Unnamed Woman”: she links the woman of Judges 19 to undocumented immigrant women in the United States, telling the story of one immigrant woman in particular. Machado begins by saying, “I want to give the unnamed woman a name. I want to give her a face.” Daisy L. Machado, “The Unnamed Woman: Justice, Feminists, and the Undocumented Woman,” in A Reader in Latina Feminist Theology: Religion and Justice, eds. María Pilar Aquino, Daisy L. Machado, and Jeanette Rodriguez (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2002), 162, doi:10.7560/705098-010. The name and face are those of “Elena,” a woman from El Salvador who was raped and visibly maimed before moving to the United States. In Machado’s retelling, Elena’s suffering and that of the unnamed women are intertwined.
 As one of my reviewers rightly pointed out, there is a crucial difference between this woman and her modern readers: they live, and she died. By glossing over this point, I risk doing precisely what Rhiannon Graybill warns against, causing “the narrative and critical elision of rape and murder into rapemurder.” Rhiannon Graybill, Texts After Terror: Rape, Sexual Violence, and the Hebrew Bible (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021), 160, doi:10.1093/oso%2F9780190082314.001.0001. I do not, to be clear, intend to imply that rape is equivalent to death. At the same time, I see her rape and her death as twin outcomes stemming from the same fundamental literary process of objectification and metaphorical consumption that recurs for women today. (Cf. my forthcoming book with Routledge, Three Biblical Metaphors of Women as Food: The Cutlet, the Dumpling, and the Vine, for more about this metaphorical consumption.) But regardless, the woman’s death serves to sharpen her story into a haunting, a tie between the dead who have suffered and the living who feel a kinship to them. Her death enables her timelessness.