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Genesis xv: Sequence and Unity

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Genesis xv has puzzled many generations of readers. It exhibits leitmotifs and structural features that suggest unity, but also inconsistencies and doublets that suggest the opposite. Rather than gloss over the latter or play down the former, this investigation tries to account for both. A trans-position of the two major promise themes, offspring and land, reveals a coherent narrative: vss. 1a, 7-18, 3-6. Comparison of complex promise speeches in "P" with their "non-P" counterparts shows that the present offspring-land sequence is a great favourite with "P", while "non-P" uses the land-offspring sequence whenever it suits the context. A P-inspired redactor was probably responsible for moving the offspring-centered dialogue to the beginning of Genesis xv, reworking it as a separate episode (vv. 1-6). is hypothesis is further supported by an examination of transposition and redactional practice elsewhere, particularly in Gen. xxxv 9-12.

Affiliations: 1: The University of Haifa


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