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The Way Of Cain

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Chapter Summary

In Christian writings Abel's status as "righteous" can be attributed to the words of Jesus in Matt 23:35 which were repeatedly quoted by interpreters in the Christian era. A survey of the literature demonstrates that exegetes were just as happy to employ any number and type of descriptions to identify Cain as the first murderer, but, as would be expected, in a much more negative light. Josephus, Philo and the rabbis accused Cain of being a greedy, scheming individual whose motivation for murdering Abel was so that he could gain more wealth and possessions. At the same time, there existed a parallel tradition in Judaism and Christianity which was concerned with how the righteous poor were oppressed by the wicked rich. Since the time of the Apostle Paul, responsibility for the presence of sin and death in the world has been laid at the feet of Adam.

Keywords: Cain; Jesus; Josephus; Philo

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