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Far As The Curse Is Found Genesis 4:11–16

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Chapter Summary


This chapter describes Cain's life following his murder of Abel and the confrontation with God. In Gen 4:17 one reads: Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and named it Enoch after his son Enoch. Josephus agrees with Genesis that Cain was a builder of a city, but adds that Cain's building activity commenced only after a long period of wandering. Josephus does not seem to be troubled by the absence of Cain's death and, like Genesis, shifts the focus away from Cain without mentioning his demise. Cain's activity as a builder may seem innocuous in Genesis, but in the hands of ancient interpreters his city became more than a place for his family to live in protection.

Keywords:Cain; Enoch; Genesis 4:17–26


This is the introductory chapter to the book, Cain and Abel in text and tradition : Jewish and Christian interpretations of the first sibling rivalry, to trace the interpretive history of the Cain and Abel story in the first millennium CE. Rather than focus on critical questions like historicity, cultural background and manuscript evidence, the book examines how the story was understood by Jewish and Christian interpreters. Because the Hebrew version of Genesis 4 contains a number of linguistic ambiguities and narrative gaps, it raises more questions than answers.

Keywords:biblical text; Cain and Abel story; Christian interpreters; Jewish tradition




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