PATTERNS IN GENESIS (BIBLE, EXEGESIS, MIDRASH, REDACTION, DOCUMENTARY HYPOTHESIS)
SYKES, DAVID K.
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This study sought to establish that there are extensive verbal and thematic links between accounts within Genesis and between accounts in Genesis and those outside it. Rigorous methodological requirements were set to insure that the patterns included reflected, with reasonable probability, the intent of Genesis. Thus, it was required that the passages involved in a pattern appear in close proximity to each other and be linked in both word and theme. Moreover, it was required that the verbal links be distinctive; cases in which an unusual or problematic usage create the association were regarded as especially probative. This methodology should be useful not only for the study of patterns in Genesis but also for the study of patterns in other biblical books.;While patterns in Genesis had by no means been entirely unobserved, there had been no previous systematic study devoted to the subject. The first chapter of the present study presented a survey and methodological analysis of representative previous contributions, by the Midrash, medieval Jewish exegetes, documentary critics and their conservative opponents, and by Martin Buber, Umberto Cassuto, Michael Fishbane, and Robert Alter.;The main body of this study presented a compendium of patterns consistent with the aforementioned methodology. These patterns fell into four major categories: pointed contrasts between accounts in Genesis; pointed retribution and transformation of character in Genesis; parallels between accounts in Genesis; and anticipations, in Genesis, of events in the subsequent history of the Israelites. This compendium included both previous contributions and patterns in Genesis that had, in whole or in part, not been heretofore observed.;The concluding chapter discussed the implications of these patterns for biblical scholarship. It was shown that, at many points, the patterns lead to a fuller understanding of Genesis. It was shown, also, that these unifying patterns challenge the assumptions of classical tradition-historians and redaction critics. It was shown, finally, that the patterns criss-cross and are indifferent to the putative literary sources postulated by the documentary hypothesis; the evidence of these patterns should be considered in any contemporary reassessment of the documentary hypothesis.