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Israël et ses tribus selon Genèse 49


Macchi, Jean-Daniel (1999). Israël et ses tribus selon Genèse 49. Fribourg, Switzerland / Göttingen, Germany: Éditions Universitaires / Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Abstract

This philological and literary study of Genesis 49 argues against a widely hold scholarly opinion that the so-called blessings of Jacob do not represent original documents of Israel’s tribal tradition but rather belong to the final stage of the redaction of the book of Genesis and of the Pentateuch. An analysis of the other Old Testament “tribal systems” shows that the concept of Twelve-Tribes Israel originated little earlier than the exile thesis by Raymond de Hoop on the same subject.
The sayings addressed by Jacob to his twelve sons are products of two different authors: Verses 13-21 go back to a North Israelite source from the time of the Omrides. This source was the only extrabiblical document used by the second and main author who wrote in Persian period Judah. Verses 1b-12 and 22-28a create a perfectly consistent composition, conceived as the logical outcome of a whole set of preceding texts, especially Gen. 34:1-26*; 35:21-22 and the Judean stratum of the Joseph novella which were all written and inserted by the same author. Since the sayings on Judah and Joseph presuppose Deut. 33, and the divine epithets used in Ge. 49;24-25 are generally paralleled in post-exilic texts, Gen. 49 must be dated to the Persian period not long before the Pentateuch reached its final shape.
The circle to which the author belonged was obviously Judean and happy to be so (cf. v. 8-12). However, the text shows no trace of a polemic against Joseph, who is acknowledged as a second important pole (cf. v. 22-26). This quite favourable appreciation of the North on behalf of a Judean author is typical of what we know from the Persian period (cf. Elephantine papyri; Zech. 10; Ezek. 37; 1. Chr. 5:1-2); the final edition of the Pentateuch itself seem to represent a historical compromise between Judean and Samaritan circles. On the contrary, Reuben, Simeon and Levi are addressed in an extremely polemical way (cf. v. 3-7). In the first two cases, this may be explained by a Judean will to avoid too autonomous entities in its own area of influence. As to Levi, he is criticized in a context where he opposed arrangements for mixed marriage (Gen. 34). One may assume that his polemic comes from circles close to the priestly hierarchy (cf. Ezek 44: 10-16) which favoured a flexible and integrative attitude towards the “people of the Land”. In sum, Gen. 49 stems from people who, under Persian rule, held power in Jerusalem for quite a long time; people who enjoyed a relatively harmonious relationship with Samaria and the North of the country; people who made good of a peaceful period and did not share the apprehension of other, more narrow-minded religious groups among their Judean contemporaries.

Abstract

This philological and literary study of Genesis 49 argues against a widely hold scholarly opinion that the so-called blessings of Jacob do not represent original documents of Israel’s tribal tradition but rather belong to the final stage of the redaction of the book of Genesis and of the Pentateuch. An analysis of the other Old Testament “tribal systems” shows that the concept of Twelve-Tribes Israel originated little earlier than the exile thesis by Raymond de Hoop on the same subject.
The sayings addressed by Jacob to his twelve sons are products of two different authors: Verses 13-21 go back to a North Israelite source from the time of the Omrides. This source was the only extrabiblical document used by the second and main author who wrote in Persian period Judah. Verses 1b-12 and 22-28a create a perfectly consistent composition, conceived as the logical outcome of a whole set of preceding texts, especially Gen. 34:1-26*; 35:21-22 and the Judean stratum of the Joseph novella which were all written and inserted by the same author. Since the sayings on Judah and Joseph presuppose Deut. 33, and the divine epithets used in Ge. 49;24-25 are generally paralleled in post-exilic texts, Gen. 49 must be dated to the Persian period not long before the Pentateuch reached its final shape.
The circle to which the author belonged was obviously Judean and happy to be so (cf. v. 8-12). However, the text shows no trace of a polemic against Joseph, who is acknowledged as a second important pole (cf. v. 22-26). This quite favourable appreciation of the North on behalf of a Judean author is typical of what we know from the Persian period (cf. Elephantine papyri; Zech. 10; Ezek. 37; 1. Chr. 5:1-2); the final edition of the Pentateuch itself seem to represent a historical compromise between Judean and Samaritan circles. On the contrary, Reuben, Simeon and Levi are addressed in an extremely polemical way (cf. v. 3-7). In the first two cases, this may be explained by a Judean will to avoid too autonomous entities in its own area of influence. As to Levi, he is criticized in a context where he opposed arrangements for mixed marriage (Gen. 34). One may assume that his polemic comes from circles close to the priestly hierarchy (cf. Ezek 44: 10-16) which favoured a flexible and integrative attitude towards the “people of the Land”. In sum, Gen. 49 stems from people who, under Persian rule, held power in Jerusalem for quite a long time; people who enjoyed a relatively harmonious relationship with Samaria and the North of the country; people who made good of a peaceful period and did not share the apprehension of other, more narrow-minded religious groups among their Judean contemporaries.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Monograph
Communities & Collections:Special Collections > Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis
Dewey Decimal Classification:200 Religion
290 Other religions
930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)
Language:French
Date:1999
Deposited On:26 Apr 2018 09:04
Last Modified:22 Jun 2018 10:34
Publisher:Éditions Universitaires / Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Series Name:Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis
Volume:171
Number of Pages:380
ISBN:3-7278-1259-1
Additional Information:Digitalisat erstellt durch Florian Lippke, Departement für Biblische Studien, Universität Freiburg Schweiz
OA Status:Green
Related URLs:https://www.zora.uzh.ch/54117/

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