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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores ways readers have interpreted Genesis–Kings treated as a single work (Primary History or “Enneateuch”), a continuous narrative, as argued by Spinoza and, more recently, David Noel Freedman. Modern scholars have analyzed in detail the work’s putative sources and redaction history; much less so what the story as a whole might mean. Among the exceptions are David Clines, Dan Jacobson, Jack Miles, and Danna Nolan Fewell and David Gunn. An account of their readings brings into focus God as a character, his motivation, and his predicament at the story’s destructive end. A view of this singular God given to dominion, jealousy, and violence is related to Regina Schwartz’s argument that such a monotheistic god’s legacy will be violence. Such extensive, variegated, and ambiguous literature is also open to other readings. In practice, however, the First Story has usually been told in fragments.

Keywords: Primary History, Genesis–Kings, character of God, dominion, jealousy, violence, monotheism

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