Growth in the Land(s) Promised to Abraham

According to the narrative of Genesis, the land promise to Abraham begins modestly near Shechem.1

The promise appears in chapters 12–13, 15, 17, 22, and beyond chapter 25.

In the last phase of course, Abraham has died. But when Abraham’s descendants receive the promise, appeals back to Abraham still appear.

Interpreting the Promise(s)

But within Genesis, the different forms the land promise takes create intriguing intertextual connections within the book.

In addition, each form of the promise provided Genesis’s Second Temple readers with a distinct set of opportunities to read the scope of the promises still more broadly.

This tendency to read individual versions of the land promise more broadly appears in Ben Sira, Genesis Apocryphon, Jubilees, Philo, Paul of Tarsus, Pseudo-Philo, and R. Eliezer b. Jacob.

The broadening tendency appears differently in different authors. The Genesis Apocryphon, Pseudo-Philo, R. Eliezer b. Jacob, and most texts in Jubilees reflect more modest expansions.

The expansionist tendency in Ben Sira, Jubilees, Philo, and Paul is stronger. These witnesses find in the promise to Abraham of landed inheritance a claim for this promise to encompass the whole world.

It is by far commoner for the promise to be interpreted around the land of Canaan. But the expansionist minority reading is itself commoner than is often appreciated.

Conclusion

Within Pauline studies, scholars often note the parallel between Ben Sira and Paul when interpreting what Paul may mean when he identifies Abraham as “heir of the world” (Rom 4:13).

But Jubilees and Philo share the same style of reading as well, despite their giving it very different forms. And although not to the same degree, you can see similar interpretive outcomes in Genesis Apocryphon, Pseudo-Philo, and R. Eliezer b. Jacob.

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  1. Header image provided by Claudio Testa

Daily Gleanings: Works of the Law (29 October 2019)

It’s now a few months back, but Matthew Bates and Matthew Thomas had an interesting interview over Thomas’s book Paul’s ‘Works of the Law’ in the Perspective of Second Century Reception (Mohr Siebeck, 2018).

In the discussion, Thomas reflects in some detail on the various “New Perspective” readings of Paul and how his work relates to them. He also has some interesting observations about what John Calvin does (and doesn’t) do with patristic material.

To listen to the full interview, see OnScript.

Daily Gleanings: RBL (17 June 2019)

Among recent releases from the Review of Biblical Literature:

  1. David Briones reviews Thomas Blanton IV’s A Spiritual Economy: Gift Exchange in the Letters of Paul of Tarsus (YUP, 2017). Briones offers some constructively critical comments but assesses Blanton’s contribution by saying, in part,

Much of what Blanton writes about the nature of the gift is insightful, and his interaction with the Roman context and secondary literature on Paul is impressive. One can also appreciate Blanton’s interdisciplinary approach to Paul and gift. It certainly is a bold and admirable attempt to “become all things to all people” in a single volume. It therefore makes sense that he would invite his readers “to exercise clemency in their judgments” because of the various fields he engages in a single volume .…

pp.3–4
  1. Marc Groenbech-Dam reviews Jesper Høgenhaven, Jesper Tang Nielsen, and Heike Omerzu, eds., Rewriting and Reception in and of the Bible (Mohr Siebeck, 2018).
  2. Groenbech-Dam’s summary assessment is that

Overall, this volume is well-crafted and an interesting read as it presents several creative essays on the nature of rewritten Bible and the reception of the Bible. The book is suited for biblical students/scholars and students/scholars of comparative literature, or anyone who wishes to see some of the fruits of the Univeristy of Copenhagen’s research on the gospels as rewritten Bible (Evangelierne som genskrevet Bibel), which was spearheaded by Mogens Müller and Jesper Tang Nielsen. The latter part of the book contains insightful essays on how one can appropriate Müller’s ideas into a different and sometimes more modern context, which makes it not only a fitting gift to Müller but also a contribution to biblical scholarship in general.

p.5

Donnerstag Digest (August 12, 2010)

This week in the blogosphere:

  • Baker acquires Hendrickson’s academic arm (HT: Nijay Gupta and Rod Decker).
  • Larry Hurtado rightfully lauds and recommends careful attention to Harry Gable’s Books and Readers in the Early Church.
  • Cynthia Nielsen continues her discussion of interconnections between Joerg Rieger and Frederick Douglass with a post about duality in identity construction.
  • Michael Halcomb has a new website specifically dedicated to Getting (Theological) Languages.
  • Kirk Lowery returns to the biblioblogosphere after a hiatus for the development of the Groves Center as an independent research unit. I had the privilege of doing an Aramaic and a Hebrew Bible text-linguistics seminar under Kirk and am again looking forward to seeing what shows up on his “scratchpad.”
  • Happy Dissertating suggests PhD2Published as a potentially valuable resource for new PhD graduates in humanities disciplines.
  • James McGrath spots several video recordings of presentations at this past year’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion.
  • Michael Bird starts reading a recent biography of Ernst Käsemann and reproduces several, brief quotations from Käsemann that are, as one might expect, particularly insightful.
  • Todd Bolen reports a recent spectrometric analysis that suggests a Jerusalem origin for a newly discovered cuneiform tablet.
  • Ken Schenck discusses the reading of biblical literature as Christian scripture.
  • Brian LePort discusses the relationship between scripture and tradition in view of the Trinitarian-Oneness debate. On this relationship, our Writing Center director at Southeastern recently brought to my attention F. F. Bruce’s edited volume, Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. I have yet really to peruse it, and the book is scarcely findable in print at this point. Still, it does look like a very interesting volume, and much of it is available through Google Books.
  • Google and Verizon propose, regarding Net Neutrality,”that ‘wireline broadband providers [sh]ould not be able to discriminate against or prioritize lawful Internet content, applications or services in a way that causes harm to users or competition’, but broadband providers [sh]ould be able to offer ‘additional, differentiated online services’.”
  • Chris Brady shares some of his conclusions from his recent International Organization for Targumic Studies presentation about Boaz in Targum Ruth.

Creation in Second Temple Judaism

Joel Watts has a very intriguing “showcase [of] several motifs in Second Temple Jewish thought” related to the creation narrative in Genesis 1–3. To read the three-part series, click below.

As a whole, the series “survey[s] . . . how certain authors interpreted and perhaps used the Creation account as a means to [their own] end[s].”