THE PATTERN OF PRIMOGENITURE REVERSAL AS AN EVIDENCE FOR THE UNIFIED NATURE OF GENESIS
Abstract: The source-critical approach to biblical literature accentuated the diversity of material that constitutes ancient books of the Bible. In the past several decades, however, some scholars shifted their attention to the final canonical and literary composition of the biblical texts. This article will present a piece of evidence for the unity of the book of Genesis as a literary unit. To demonstrate this the author will trace the pattern of primogeniture reversal throughout the whole book. Arguably, the five main pairs (Cain – Abel, Ishmael – Isaac, Esau – Jacob, Reuben – Judah, Joseph, and Manasseh – Ephraim) and the two minor pairs (Leah – Rachel, Zerah – Perez) reflect six narrative features. These are parents’expectations, God’s election, a threat to the younger heir, resolution, promise to the older son, departure of the older brother. The consistent usage of this pattern leads to the conclusion that the author/editor of Genesis carefully constructed the plot of the whole book, not simply incorporated diverse material.
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