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The stories of the family troubles of Judah and David: a study of their literary links

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image of Vetus Testamentum

This article adds some newly discovered literary links between Gen. xxxviii and the Succession Narrative (SN) to those already observed by scholars in the past thirty or so years. Gen. xxxviii is found to be dependent on and owes to the SN most of its literary components like names, plot, theme, motifs and special locutions. The literary conclusion arrived, contrary to the widely accepted traditio-historical view, is that Gen. xxxviii has no oral tradition stage before being written down. Further analysis of the story does not confirm its belonging to the J source but re-affirms its genealogical concern. The article concludes with a conjectured raison d'être for Gen. xxxviii, namely to provide a "narrative evidence" for David's genealogical link to Judah, i.e. to prove David's Jewishness. It is further conjectured that Gen. xxxviii was probably written about the time of the emergence of the book of Ruth, which shows similar concern.


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