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Abraham As Proselytizer At Beer-Sheba In The Targums Of The Pentateuch

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that Goodman's interpretation of the figure of Abraham as proselytizer finds support in the history of exegesis of Genesis 21:33. Not only do pre-Rabbinic interpretations of this scriptural verse fail to present Abraham as a proselytizer, but the several Aramaic Targums offer a nuanced understanding of Jewish religious proclamation to Gentiles which reflects to some degree the different types of mission which Goodman is so careful to distinguish. The RSV translation of this verse is not untypical of English renderings, yielding 'Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God'. Close analysis of the Targums shows that they have their home within wider exegesis of Gen. 21:33, and may be properly understood only when the history of that exegesis is uncovered. The chapter begins with observations on the Hebrew text and LXX of this verse.

Keywords: Abraham; Beer-Sheba; Genesis; Hebrew text; LXX; Martin Goodman; Pentateuch; proselytizer; Targums



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