Onslaught against Innocence: Cain, Abel, and the Yahwist
Never before has the problem of evil been a more urgent subject for our reflection. The Yahwist confronts the issue through a sequence of stories on the progressive deterioration of the divine-human relationship in Genesis 2-11. In Genesis 4 he narrates the initial slaughter of one human being by another, and strikingly, it is described as fratricidal.
Onslaught Against Innocence: Cain, Abel, and the Yahwist provides a close reading of J's story by using literary criticism and psychological criticism. It shows that the biblical author has more than an "archaeological" design. His characters--including God, Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel, plus minor characters--are paradigmatic. 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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Abel’s Abel’s blood Abel’s sacrifice Abraham Adam and Eve ancient Bakhtin Bible biblical birth brother’s keeper builds a city Cain and Abel Cain builds Cain kills Cain’s Cain’s offering called chapter character child contrast creation crime Crowds and Power cursed death Deut dialogue divine earth emphasized Enoch Enochville Enosh Eve’s eventually evil exile Exod expression face fact father favor fratricide Freud genealogy Genesis 2–3 Gerhard von Rad God’s ground guilt Hatred Hebrew Hebrew Bible human Ibid inaugurated instance interpretation Isaac Israel J’s narrative justice killing Abel LaCocque Lamech Let us note Malbim means Midrash mother murder myth of Cain nature NRSV ofEden ofthe one’s parallel Paul Ricoeur Philo primeval psychological punishment question rage Ricoeur says serpent Seth slaughter speaks story of Cain tale Testament tion Trial ofInnocence True verb victim violence voice wandering Westermann words Yahwist Yhwh