Onslaught Against Innocence: Cain, Abel and the Yahwist
While in Genesis 2-11 the Yahwist confronts the issue of evil through a sequence of stories on the progressive deterioration of the divine-human relationship, in Genesis 4 he describes the initial slaughter of one human being by another as fratricidal. This book provides a close reading of J's story by using literary criticism and psychological criticism, and shows that the biblical author has more than an "archaeological" design. His characters - including God, Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel, plus minor character - are paradigmatic, as they allow J to proceed with a fine analytical feel for the nature of evil as performed by "homo" as "homini lupus." No imaginative "mimesis" of evil has ever been recounted with such an economy of means and such depth of psychological insight.
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