Reading the patriarchal narratives (Gen 12 – 50) in the context of the exile


  • SD Snyman University of the Free State



Patriarchal narratives, Exile, Land


The question addressed in this contribution is how the stories about the patriarchs told in Gen 12-50 would resonate in the time of the exile? It was Gunkel who maintained that the patriarchal narrative should rather not be seen as belonging to the genre of historiography but to that of legend. It seems that this (deliberate?) vagueness on historical detail is yet another indicator that the patriarchal narratives were not meant to be historiography in the strict sense of the word, but was compiled for another reason in exilic times. A basic presupposition in this paper following the recent trend in scholarship will be that the Torah was formed during the exile. Texts where the patriarchs resurface in exilic texts from the prophetic literature (Isaiah 41:8, 51:1-3; Jer 33:25-26; Ezek 33:24) are briefly examined before some conclusions are made regarding the promise made to Abraham (Gen 12:1-3), the motif of entering and re-entering the land, living outside the land on foreign soil, the presence of Yahweh outside of the land, covenant, the genealogies in Gen 12-50, and God who acts in hidden ways.






Articles • Artikels