Religion 21 Professor Niditch Ancient Israel Chapin 114

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To Think About:

1. What is Abraham's relationship with the Lord? Jot down all references to covenant in Gen 12-25. How would you define a covenant with help from Hillers and from its usage in Genesis?

2. Compare Gen 12:10-20 with Gen 20:1-18 and with Gen 26:1-17. In which ways might one explain these variants?

3. Is the Abraham presented in Gen 14 different from the Abraham you see in other chapters? If so, in what ways?

4. Discuss the portrayal of Sarah with attention to feminist issues and questions. Does she have power? In what context and what ways? How is a woman's identity in society assured and defined?

5. Compare the "annunciation" scene in Gen 18:9-15 with that of Gen 16:7-14.

6. Does Gen 19:30-38 remind you of the flood narrative in any ways?

7. Read Gen 22 with great care. Be concerned with issues of structure, content, style and theme.

8. Barrenness of patriarch's wives, inheritance of the youngest son. List the repetitions of these motifs in Genesis. Why do you think these motifs are so popular?

9. Why are wives always found near wells?

10. Note the use of repetition in Gen 24 and 27. What do such repetitions accomplish thematically and stylistically?

11. What does Gen 27 tell us about the power of the word in Israelite world-view?

12. Describe the character of Laban as revealed in Gen 25-36. What are the possible sociological, anthropological, ethnographic, and literary implications of the portrayal?

13. Why do you think Rachel steals her father's "household gods"?

14. What is the sociological significance of Gen 31:14-15?

15. Why do you think the strange wrestling incident (32:24-32) is placed in the midst of the story of Jacob's encounter with his brother?

16. How many etiologies can you find in Gen 32:24-32? Do you think these etiologies were added later to the narrative or are they integral to it, even its raison d'etre?

17. Think about the theme of exogamy vs. endogamy (marriage outside the group, however "group" is defined, vs. marriage in the group) and the relations between neighbors in Gen 34.

18. Trace or outline the narrative patterns in the cycle of stories about Joseph in Gen 37, 39-50. What is the significance of dreams in this story cycle? What role do they play structurally and thematically?

19. What does Gen 38 tell you about the author's view of women's role in Israelite society? About the importance of progeny, that is, of continuing the patriarchal line?

20. Why are so many of the heroes and heroines of Genesis tricksters?
The Exodus: Formation of a People
III. September 28, Oct. 1, 3

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