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A Portrait Of The Wicked Esau In The Targum Of Codex Neofiti 1

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Chapter Summary

Targum Neofiti's portrait of Esau is confused, inconsistent, and partial. It corresponds to a text which shows clear signs of careless transmission and of interference. It is likely that Neofiti has omitted 'the Jews' as a closer definition of Esau's brothers in the conflate expression of Genesis 27.40, and has made Jacob refuse to address Esau as 'my lord' in Gen. 33.8, to avoid any suggestion that Rome might have eternal dominion over the Jewish people. Although Esau admits to his father that he freely sold his birthright to Jacob, and agrees on a proper division of inheritance with his brother, he is compelled by his sons to go to war with Jacob once their father is dead. This chapter orders the targumic material under four headings: events before and during Esau's birth; events during his lifetime; references to him after his death; and question of Esau's identification with Rome.

Keywords: Esau; Genesis; Jacob; Jews; Rome; Targum Neofiti



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