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Abraham's Blessing in the Book of Genesis: Philology, Reception, and Theology

YORK, DAN,CHRISTOPHER (2023) Abraham's Blessing in the Book of Genesis: Philology, Reception, and Theology. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 14 August 2026.


Historic Judaism and Christianity believe, on the basis of the Book of Genesis, that God singled Abraham out from all human life and promised to him that all the earth’s families would come to bless him and somehow experience blessing as a result of him (Gen 12:3). However, although Abraham’s blessing remains central to each tradition, its meaning is not something easily understood. Most scholarship represents disparate approaches that attempt to discern the meaning of Abraham’s blessing without trying to hold the various strands together or bring them into constructive dialogue. Philology, reception, and theology often represent entirely unrelated strands of study. Nevertheless, for traditioned interpreters, they all remain necessary for a thick reading of scripture. They all give rise to important questions about the text. But when they do so in tandem together, they contextualize opportunities for fresh questions to emerge. For this reason, my project seeks to bring these three disciplines pragmatically and heuristically into constructive dialogue with each other in order to explore and deepen an understanding of Abraham’s blessing. In this way, I provide a preliminary attempt to work through some interpretative issues via rigorous philology in the Hebrew Bible and in the LXX, the history of reception in Judaism and in Christianity, and my own reading of the three sister-wife stories as an attempt to explore how we might see Abraham’s blessing worked out in the Genesis narrative.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Aug 2023 12:49

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