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Back to the Future: Reading the Abraham Narratives as Prequel

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This paper proposes envisaging the ancestral narratives (with a special focus on the Abraham cycle) as Persian period ‘prequel’ as a fruitful approach to exploring relationship between Genesis and the Moses and monarchic traditions.  The literary capacity of a prequel to influence and alter its audience’s perceptions of an earlier, principal, work means that understanding the ancestral narratives as ‘prequel’ may highlight matters not immediately apparent when the ancestral narratives are envisaged as ‘introduction’, ‘prelude’ or ‘prologue.’ Recent insights associated with the so-called ‘Death of the Yahwist,’ including Konrad Schmid’s argument about the lack of a pre-P literary source spanning Genesis and Exodus, have been important, but remain largely unexplored from the point-of-view of the ancestral narratives. This paper proposes the application of the literary category of ‘prequel’ to the ancestral narratives as one means of exploring the issues, both synchronic and diachronic, raised by these insights. 

Affiliations: 1: King’s College London, UK


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