The Promise to the Patriarchs
The promise of land and progeny to the patriarchs-Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-is a central, recurring feature of the Pentateuch. From the beginning of the story of Abraham to the last moment of Moses's life, this promise forms the guiding theological statement for each narrative. Yet literary and historical inquiries ascribe the promise texts to a variety of sources, layers, and redactions, raising questions about how the promise functioned in its original manifestations and how it can be used to understand the formation of the Pentateuch as a whole. Joel S. Baden reexamines the patriarchal promise in its historical and contemporaneous contexts, evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of both final-form and literary-historical approaches to the promise. He pays close attention to the methodologies employed in both documentary and non-documentary analyses and aims to bring source-critical analysis of the promise to bear on the understanding of the canonical text for contemporary readers. The Promise to the Patriarchs addresses the question of how the literary-historical perspective can illuminate and even deepen the theological meaning of the Pentateuch, particularly of the promise at the heart of this central biblical corpus.
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1 The Promise in Its Canonical Setting
2 The Promise as Secondary
3 Restoring the Promise
4 The Promise According to the Sources
5 Returning the Promise to Its Canonical Setting
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Abraham Abraham’s descendants argued Baden Beersheba beginning bərÓt Bible biblical blessing Blum Canaan canonical Pentateuch canonical text Carpenter and Harford-Battersby chapter claim classical documentary clear Composition concept connection covenant Covenant Code Deut deuteronomic distinct divine promise Documentary Hypothesis Egypt elements episodes Exod Exodus Exodus-wilderness Exodus–Numbers explicitly fulfillment Genesis 15 Gerar Gerhard von Rad given group of promise Hagar Hebrew Hebrew Bible Hexateuch Hoftijzer insertion interpretation Isaac Ishmael Israel Israelites Jacob Joseph Julius Wellhausen laws linked literary literary-historical meaning Moses narrative context narratological nation nondocumentary approach nondocumentary school nonpriestly promise texts noted Numbers original patriarchal narratives patriarchal promise patriarchal stories pentateuchal sources phrase precisely priestly promise texts progeny and land prom promise of land promise of progeny promise passages promise to Abraham redactor reference Rendtorff scholars scholarship secondary Shechem source-critical statement Testament theme theological theophany tion traditions Vštergeschichte verse Wellhausen Westermann words Yahweh Yahwist yhwh