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
The second level constitutes the exilic Judean layer Vg (equivalent of
proto-Genesis [pG] of Carr), in which the promise of the land and progeny
in 28:13*-14 is added to the original northern sanctuary tradition. The
secondary nature of the promise is evident 32. YHWHâ€™s promise for the land
and progeny appears abrupt at best against the current narrative context of
Jacobâ€™s flight and the discovery of a sacred place. Considering Jacobâ€™s
current circumstances, the promise of guidance and protection (v. 15) fits
better. Jacob does not mention the promise of the land and progeny when
he wakes up but only that of the protection. Later accounts in the Jacob
story (e.g., 31,13; 35,1) do not seem to recall this ancestral promise
either 33. Further, the basic vocabulary of the narrative, e.g., â€œplaceâ€ or
â€œstoneâ€, does not appear in vv. 13-14.
Now we have established two main levels of the Bethel accounts: the
pre-exilic northern layer and the exilic Judean edition. The subsequent
discussion, then, focuses on the transition between the first two literary
layers in the Bethel account (see the above chart), as established by Blum.
Note that this exilic edition Vg (or pG) is the layer in which the southern
Abraham tradition 34 and the northern Jacob tradition are combined into a
unified patriarchal narrative. Redaction critics, then, customarily account
for the inserted promise (28,13*-14) as a redactional bridge through which
Judean scribes attempted to connect these two originally independent
tradition blocks 35. But my interest goes one step beyond that redactional
Yahwist was not committed to the view that the rebuilt temple had to be in
Jerusalemâ€. VAN SETERS, Prologue, 301. For a similar observation, see
GOMES, The Sanctuary of Bethel, 76.
Both Blum and Carr base their argument on the connections established
between the promise speech in our text as well as Gen 12,1-7 and 13,14-16.
BLUM, VÃ¤tergeschichte, 289-301; CARR, Fractures, 180-83. See also SCHMID,
Dual Origins, 103. Note esp. the close affinity between Gen 28,13-14 and
13,14-16. Both chapters are placed in a strategic point, right after parting with
their kindred when they were going through a troubling phase of their lives.
Cf. CARR, Fractures, 205-206.
For an important study regarding Abrahamâ€™s position among the
southern tribes, see R.E. CLEMENTS, Abraham and David. Genesis XV and
its Meaning for Israelite Tradition (SBT 2/5; Naperville, IL 1967) 35-46.
Yet, Clements, working in the 1960s, argued, â€œthe priority given to Abraham
as the great ancestor of all Israel reflects the position of pre-eminence which
was claimed by Judah at this timeâ€. For a critique of Clementsâ€™s position, see
N.E. WAGNER, â€œAbraham and David?â€, Studies on the Ancient Palestinian
World. Festschrift F.V. Winnet (eds. J.W. WEVERS â€“ D.B. REDFORD) (Toronto
E.g. RENDTORFF, â€œJakob in Bethelâ€, 518; CARR, Fractures, 181-182;
KRATZ, Composition, 260, 263-264, 269.