Lisa Hui

Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2022.

Degree Name

Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD)


Gina Hens-Piazza


A ranking commander who is beheaded when struck by the hand of a woman makes the story of Judith fascinating to many. However, all major biblical commentaries and studies of the Book of Judith focus predominantly on the two protagonists, Judith and Holofernes. The other figures traditionally categorised as “minor characters” are viewed as serving simply as background or literary props, and hence have been purposely ignored in the past. Recently, scholarship has seen a growing interest in the studies of minor figures in the Bible. Yet research on the minor characters in Judith is still very much wanting. Sharing this pioneering interest, the current study investigates in depth one most representative minor character, Judith’s maid in her own right, by placing this inconspicuous character in the spotlight.

Grounded in recent literary theory and method for the analysis of minor characters, this dissertation argues that Judith’s maid—the unnamed, silenced, often ignored and hardly visible character in the Book of Judith—actually has a story to tell that we read past at our own peril. The methodology employed in this research enlists a twofold approach. First, a formalist study involves a close reading of the poetics of the text. Secondly, a socio-historical exposition details the social, cultural and historical clues associated with the minor character. The research analyses all the texts pertinent to the maid in the biblical book in detail, covering not only her appearances, but also her implied presence in the narrative. The dissertation demonstrates that the role of Judith’s maid is indeed significant and even indispensable for the final success of the heroine’s mission. Thus, this character of the maid of Judith is in fact not so minor. Further, attention to this maid and other minor characters may have unexpected consequences in our own world—nurturing a sensitivity and appreciation of those less visible but never the less essential workers who daily support our well-being.

Available for download on Wednesday, June 26, 2024

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