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Do we have any sources for the name of Yiftach/Jephthah's daughter in Shoftim?

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    Posting as a comment since the sources are not (IMHO) authoritative within Judaism "In the writings of Pseudo-Philo Jephthah's daughter is given the name "Seila". The Order of the Eastern Star refers to her as Adah." From wikipedia. – rosends Jan 18 '17 at 17:23
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    @Danno Are those meant to be the same names as the wives of Lemech - Ada and Tzila? – WAF Jan 18 '17 at 18:18
  • @Danno Is the Order of the Eastern Star anything other than a para-Masonic organization – SAH Jan 19 '17 at 11:38
  • @SAH I have no idea -- that's why I just clipped it into a comment. – rosends Jan 19 '17 at 11:39
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+50

She has no name in the Biblical text, nor (as far as I can tell) in any 'canonical' ancient midrashic or Talmudic texts (see Tamar Kadari's article here). The only pre-modern source to name her is, as @Danno commented, Pseudo-Philo, who names her "Seila," i.e. "She'ila" (Questioner). This name has been picked up by a number of modern writers; e.g. Louis Ginzberg, Elma Ehrlich Levinger, Ellen Frankel, Vanessa Ochs, etc.

Pseudo-Philo is a work of "pseudepigrapha", attributed to the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo but not actually written by him. It was probably composed sometime around the end of the first century CE, and probably in Hebrew, although it survives only in Latin. (See, e.g., Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah). Pseudo-Philo's treatment of Jephthah's daughter is actually fascinating and a much richer character than the Biblical version — see Cynthia Baker's article, "Pseudo-Philo and the Transformation of Jephthah's Daughter," and you can read Pseudo-Philo's account here.

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    A good article on the name and its source: haaretz.co.il/literature/1.1018388 – הנער הזה Jul 21 '17 at 13:38
  • Thank you, this is amazing, can i give my daughter this name – SAH Jul 21 '17 at 17:15
  • Do we know if Pseudo-Philo was composed by a Jew at least? – SAH Jul 21 '17 at 17:15
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    @SAH we can't know for sure, but it's almost entirely certain... Most likely a Jew living in Roman Palestine around the time of the Second Temple. See the discussion of Murphy here, and his conclusion that Pseudo-Philo represents "fairly mainstream scribal Judaism in first-century Palestine": books.google.com/books?id=3T_nCwAAQBAJ&pg=PA6 – Noam Sienna Jul 23 '17 at 0:32
  • And @Matt, thanks for that link! Fascinating — I especially loved the comparison with Shmuel and Shaul. – Noam Sienna Jul 23 '17 at 0:36

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