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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the potential relevance of interdisciplinary animal studies for biblical interpretation. The story of Jacob and his family in Genesis 25–32 is examined from the perspective of a “critical animal hermeneutics.” Three features of such a hermeneutics, characteristic of contemporary animal studies, are emphasized: (1) the constitutive importance of “companion species,” emphasized by Donna Haraway, including in Israel’s case goats and sheep; (2) the instability of the human/animal binary, emphasized by Jacques Derrida and other thinkers; and (3) ubiquitous associations between species difference and differences among humans, particularly, in the case of biblical literature, gender and ethnic differences. Each of these features is used to read the story of Jacob and several related biblical texts.

Keywords: animals, animal studies, Jacob, Genesis, Haraway, Derrida, gender

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