Lecture 7 - Israel in Egypt: Moses and the Beginning of Yahwism (Genesis 37- Exodus 4)

author: Christine Hayes, Department of Religious Studies, Yale University
published: Feb. 16, 2011,   recorded: September 2006,   views: 5533

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The book of Genesis concludes with the story of Joseph and the descent of the 12 tribes into Egypt, setting the stage for the Exodus in which God is seen as redeemer and liberator. Moses is the first in a line of apostolic (messenger) prophets and Yahwism is initiated. Mark Smith's thesis describing the emergence of Israelite religion through a process of convergence and divergence is presented as an alternative to the evolutionary-revolutionary dichotomy presented in Lecture 2.

Reading assignment:

Bible: (1) Gen 12-Ex 4; Introduction to Exodus (JSB pp. 102-107) (2) "Historical and Geographical Background to the Bible" (JSB pp. 2048-2052) (3) "Inner-Biblical Interpretation" (JSB pp. 1829-1835)

Optional: Goldstein, Rebecca. "Looking Back at Lot's Wife." In Out of the Garden: Women Writers on the Bible, eds., Christina Buchmann and Celina Spiegel. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1994. pp. 3-12

For Section Discussion: (1) Gen 22 (2) Auerbach, Eric. "Odysseus' Scar." In Mimesis. pp. 1-26 (3) Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Narrative. New York: Basic Books, 1981. pp. 3-22, 47-62, 178-189 (4) Greenstein, Edward L. and Alex Preminger, eds. "The Binding of Isaac." In The Hebrew Bible in Literary Criticism. New York: Unger, 1986. pp. 261-270

Resources: Handout: Cannanite Religion [text]

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