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'In The Beginning': Rabbinic And Patristic Exegesis Of Genesis 1:1

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Chapter Summary

The history of Christian Bible-exegesis cannot be properly understood without taking into account the history of Jewish Bible-exegesis, and vice versa: only when one is read against the other do many of the exegetical moves that each makes begin to make sense. This chapter explores the intertextuality between the two exegetical traditions with regard to a particular period and a particular biblical text. The period is the first few centuries of the current era when the ways were parting between the two faiths, and when exegetical debates were particularly sharp as each jockeyed to define and defend itself against the other. The biblical text is the opening verse of the account of creation in Genesis 1. The chapter explores whether even on apparently neutral, uncontested ground the two traditions (Rabbinic and Christian) can sometimes be detected as moving in mutual awareness and subtly taking up positions relative to each other.

Keywords: Christian Bible-exegesis; Genesis 1; intertextuality; Jewish Bible-exegesis; Patristic Exegesis; Rabbinic



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