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Durham e-Theses
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A Folklorist approach to the Jacob cycle in the book of genesis

Lucoff, M. B. (1978) A Folklorist approach to the Jacob cycle in the book of genesis. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Traditional biblical criticism since about 1800 has sought to discover the literary sources underlying the biblical narratives, and then to analyse these literary sources into their oral components. The growth of tradition from the oral unit to the extant text can then be delineated. The analytical tradition of structural analysis in folklore studies contrasts this approach by emphasising that analysis must first recognise the text as a coherent entity. Underlying this methodology is an understanding which views narrative as a universal response of society to life situations, for traditional narrative elements are arranged in forms determined by the unconscious binary structure of the human mind. In this thesis, the Jacob Cycle is analysed according to the methodology of S. Thompson's Motifs, V. Propp's Functions, and Parry and Lord's Oral Formulae. This analysis reveals the inadequacy of traditional biblical source criticism and form criticism as represented by Ewald, Gunkel, and Noth. It is also shown that biblical scholarship has inadequately responded to the possibilities provided by structural analysis. A structural folklorist methodology suggests that in the current state of our knowledge, one cannot delineate with certainty the raw materials of the Jacob cycle, and their development into the extant text. Nor can the early life traditions or religious attitudes of the Israelites be deduced by extracting information from the narratives. Rather the cycle is a clue to those life experiences shared by the Israelites with all other societies.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1978
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:23

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