What makes someone a biblical villain? I hope that you will keep this question with you as you study some of the biblical characters that have not received favorable press. Some might seem quite familiar, but I hope that as we study these characters you will reconsider them: Are they indeed worthy of the title? Are they better or worse than I thought when I began to study them? What motivated them? Could they be read differently?
We will study different characters from around the Tanakh: Lot’s daughters, Esau, Potifar’s wife, Datan and Aviram, Delilah, the “Witch” of Ein Dor, Jezebel, and Manasseh king of Judah. (I hope that you will take this opportunity to skim some of the “neighboring” stories as well!) Our study will include a close reading of the biblical text, as well as a look at the rabbinic responses to these characters.