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Moses’ Father Speaks Out

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Chapter Summary

In the Bible, Moses' father Amram does not speak. He is mentioned as a second-generation Levite, the son of Kohat, and father of Moses, but otherwise he is just "a biblical figure without a narrative". 1 He appears mainly in late genealogical lists (Exod 6:14-25; Num 26:58-59; 1 Chr 5:24-29), but is not even mentioned by name in the story of Moses' birth, where he is only referred to in passing as "a man from the tribe of Levi" (Exod 2:1). However, this unsatisfactory situation is remedied dramatically in post-biblical Jewish literature. The first evidence of Amram's rise to importance is found in the book of Jubilees (ca. mid-second century B.C.E.) and the Dead Sea Scrolls. In Jub. 47:9 it says that Amram taught Moses how to write. This may at first sight look like a current topos in ancient biography.

Keywords: Amram; Bible; Dead Sea Scrolls; Jubilees; late genealogical lists; Moses; post-biblical Jewish literature

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