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    Promise to the Patriarchs

    By: Joel S. Baden

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    The promise of land and progeny to the patriarchs-Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-is a central, recurring feature of the Pentateuch. From the beginning of the story of Abraham to the last moment of Mosess life, this promise forms the guiding theological statement for each narrative. Yet literary and historical inquiries ascribe the promise texts to a variety of sources, layers, and redactions, raising questions about how the promise functioned in its original manifestations and how it can be used to understand the formation of the Pentateuch as a whole. Joel S. Baden reexamines the patriarchal promise in its historical and contemporaneous contexts, evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of both final-form and literary-historical approaches to the promise. He pays close attention to the methodologies employed in both documentary and non-documentary analyses and aims to bring source-critical analysis of the promise to bear on the understanding of the canonical text for contemporary readers. The Promise to the Patriarchs addresses the question of how the literary-historical perspective can illuminate and even deepen the theological meaning of the Pentateuch, particularly of the promise at the heart of this central biblical corpus.

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