Critical Approaches to the Bible

Cave of Machpelah
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Cave of Machpelah

Photo courtesy of BiblePlaces.com.

Further Reading: Biblical Narrative
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Further Reading: Biblical Narrative

Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Narrative, New York- Basic Books, 1981. pp. 3-22, 47-62, 178-189. Auerbach, Eric. “Odysseus’ Scar,” In Mimesis- The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Princeton University Press. 2003. pp. 1-26. Goldstein, Rebecca. “Looking Back at Lot’s Wife.” In Out of the Garden- Women Writers on the Bible, eds., Christina Buchmann […]

Further Reading: Critical Approaches to the Bible
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Further Reading: Critical Approaches to the Bible

The Hebrew Bible Barton, John. The Nature of Biblical Criticism. Westminster John Knox (Louisville), 2007. Sarna, Nahum M. Genesis- World of Myths and Patriarchs’. New York University Press (New York, NY), 1996. Sarna, Nahum M. Understanding Genesis. McGraw, 1966.

Isaac Blessing Jacob, Govert Flinck, Oil Painting, 1638.
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Isaac Blessing Jacob, Govert Flinck, Oil Painting, 1638.

Binding of Isaac, Meister Bertram von Minden, 1375-1383.
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Binding of Isaac, Meister Bertram von Minden, 1375-1383.

Genesis 27: The Rivalry of Jacob and Esau, Texts and Traditions, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken NJ, 1998.
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Genesis 27: The Rivalry of Jacob and Esau, Texts and Traditions, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken NJ, 1998.

Central to the biblical account is a process of elimination in which one child in each patriarchal generation is to carry on the developing Israelite tradition. The rivalry of Jacob and Esau sets the stage for Jacob’s emerging as that bearer of tradition. For later Judaism, Esau (Edom) would symbolize Rome and then Christianity, not […]

Genesis 22: The Sacrifice of Isaac, Texts and Traditions, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken NJ, 1998.
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Genesis 22: The Sacrifice of Isaac, Texts and Traditions, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken NJ, 1998.

The focus of the Bible now narrows to the patriarch, Abraham, who by his devotion and obedience to God, merits the founding of a great nation. God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac was a major test of his faith. For the Bible and later Jewish tradition, it was also the classic condemnation […]

The Stories of the Patriarchs (Genesis 12-36), Christine Hayes, Open Yale Courses (Transcription), 2006.
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The Stories of the Patriarchs (Genesis 12-36), Christine Hayes, Open Yale Courses (Transcription), 2006.

So last time we started discussing the historical merits of the biblical stories of the patriarchs and the matriarchs. These are contained in Genesis 12 through 50. Scholarly opinion on this matter is seriously divided; something you need to know. Some scholars will point to internal biblical evidence for the authenticity and the antiquity of […]

Genesis 12-36
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Genesis 12-36

12 The Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.2) I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing.3) I will bless those who bless you. And curse him […]

The Patriarchal Age: Myth or History? Kenneth A. Kitchen, BAR 21:02, Mar-Apr 1995.
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The Patriarchal Age: Myth or History? Kenneth A. Kitchen, BAR 21:02, Mar-Apr 1995.

Over a century ago, the great would-be reconstructor of early Israelite history, Julius Wellhausen, claimed that “no historical knowledge” of the patriarchs could be gotten from Genesis. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were merely a “glorified mirage” from later Hebrew history, projected back in time.1 Then between the 1940s and 1960s, such scholars as William Foxwell […]