Koog P. Hong, «The Deceptive Pen of Scribes: Judean Reworking of the Bethel Tradition as a Program for Assuming Israelite Identity.», Vol. 92 (2011) 427-441
Nadav Na’aman has recently proposed that the Judean appropriation of Israel’s identity occurred as a result of the struggle for the patrimony of ancient Israel. This paper locates textual evidence for such a struggle in the Judean reworking of the Jacob tradition, particularly the Bethel account (Gen 28,10- 22), and argues that taking over the northern Israelite shrine myth after the fall of northern Israel was part of the ongoing Judean reconceptualization of their identity as «Israel» that continued to be developed afterwards.
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THE DECEPTIVE PEN OF SCRIBES
understood generally as a product of successive revisions rather than
collations of parallel sources 19.
The present form of the Bethel account reveals diverging foci â€” â€œfrac-
turesâ€, in Carrâ€™s terms â€” that provide clues for literary history beyond the
final form of the text. Above all, one may sense an etiological nature that
promotes the sanctity of an ancient shrine at Bethel particularly in a distinct
heavenly vision in this account. At another level, the discovery of the place
is subsumed into the legend of the heroic figure Jacob, who later receives
the name â€œIsraelâ€ (Gen 32,29; 35,10). The incident at Bethel now exists
only as part of a legend that celebrates the rise of this hero. On yet another
level, however, this focus on Jacob is somewhat diluted by the divine
19-25; 471-477. The use of YHWH in the supposed E stratum in v. 21b, for
instance, presents such source-critical havoc that most critics have to rely
on RJE (or the Jehovist of Graf and Wellhausen), the problem of which
became more evident after Badenâ€™s critique of it. See J.S. BADEN, J, E, and
the Redaction of the Pentateuch (FAT 68; TÃ¼bingen 2009). Second, the
resulting Yahwistic strand does not form a complete, parallel Bethel account
to E; it rather represents a universal theme of promise that occurs in several
other places of Genesis, which undermines one of the founding principles of
the Documentary Hypothesisâ€”the existence of continuous, parallel sources.
See D.M. CARR, Reading the Fractures of Genesis: Historical and Literary
Approaches (Louisville, KY 1996) 207-208; M. ROSE, â€œGenÃ¨se 28,10-22:
lâ€™exÃ©gÃ¨se doit muer en hermÃ©neutique thÃ©ologiqueâ€, Jacob: Commentaire Ã
plusieurs voix de Ein mehrstimmiger Kommentar zu A Plural Commentary
of Gen 25-36. MÃ©langes offerts Ã Albert de Pury (eds. J.-A. MACCHI â€“ T.
RÃ–MER) (Le monde de la Bible 44; GenÃ¨ve 2001) 82. For a defense of the
traditional source model in the Bethel account, see S.E. MCEVENUE, â€œA
Return to Sources in Genesis 28,10-22?â€, ZAW 106 (1994) 375-389; and D.J.
WYNN-WILLIAMS, The State of the Pentateuch. A Comparison of the
Approaches of M. Noth and E. Blum (BZAW 249; Berlin 1997) 117-124.
Both of them, however, focus on criticizing flaws in Blumâ€™s critique of
Wellhausen, without attempting to defend Wellhausen from the criticism laid
against the Documentary Hypothesis.
See, e.g., O.H. STECK, Old Testament Exegesis. A Guide to the
Methodology (Atlanta, GA 1998) 185. For a general critique of the source
theory, see also Carr, Fractures, 143-151; KRATZ, Composition, 249-50; and
K. SCHMID, Genesis and the Moses Story. Israelâ€™s Dual Origins in the Hebrew
Bible (Siphrut 3; Winona Lake, IN 2010) 336-341.
NB: Recently, even source critics tend to espouse the revisional nature of
the Bethel account. The Yahwistic promise (vv. 13-16) is considered an
insertion into the original Elohistic account. See, e.g., Z. WEISMAN, From
Jacob to Israel (Jerusalem 1986); idem, â€œThe Interrelationship between J
and E in Jacobâ€™s Narrative: Theological Criteriaâ€, ZAW 104 (1992) 177-197;
and T.L. YOREH, The First Book of God (BZAW 402; Berlin 2010).