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Bibliographic Short Review of: Thomas, Matthew A., These are the Generations: Identity, Covenant, and the ‘Toledot’ Formula (LHBOTS, 551; London/New York: T&T Clark, 2011),

Bigger, Stephen (2012) Bibliographic Short Review of: Thomas, Matthew A., These are the Generations: Identity, Covenant, and the ‘Toledot’ Formula (LHBOTS, 551; London/New York: T&T Clark, 2011),. Society for Old Testament Study Booklist. ISSN 0309-0892

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Abstract

Full review: This study examines the use of Toledot (“these are the generations of…”) in Genesis, Num. 3:1, the generations of Aaron and Moses, and Ruth 4:18, the line of David.Although recognizing the diachronic emphasis on sources in earlier studies, Thomas focuses on the possible intentions of the author of the final text. The toledot formula is viewed as a series of headings to focus the story of national origins. The inclusion of Ishmael and Esau is explained as their inclusion in the covenant, and the theme of reconciliation of brothers (Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brothers). In Gen. 2.4, the generations of heaven and earth is humanity, created from or ‘begat’ by the earth/dust (see p.73). Thereafter there are four further main headings, covering Adam, Noah, Shem and Jacob, characterised by the formula without waw. Subsequent subheadings begin with waw (e.g. of Terah, Ishmael, Isaac and Esau) forming a chiastic sequence. I am unconvinced by his addition of Isaac and Levi to make seven ‘narrowings’ of descent. Theses do not always make good books, and there is a substantial amount of repetition, loose writing, and redundancy. Thomas roots the study in form criticism, assuming antiquity, whereas his explanations relate more to redactional structuring. He works within a theological paradigm, affirming the unity of Torah teaching. The inclusion as family of Ishmael (Arabian tribes) and Esau (Edomite tribes) might be construed as a response to exclusivist tendencies under Nehemiah and Ezra, giving the structure a late date.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Old Testament, Genesis, Priestly Writer
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BM Judaism
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Stephen Bigger
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2011 14:22
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2011 14:22
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/1498

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