The Blessing-Commission, The Promised Offspring, And The “Toledot” Structure Of Genesis -- By: Jason S. Derouchie
Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 56:2 (Jun 2013)
Article: The Blessing-Commission, The Promised Offspring, And The “Toledot” Structure Of Genesis
Author: Jason S. Derouchie
JETS 56:2 (June 2013) p. 219
The Blessing-Commission, The Promised Offspring,
And The “Toledot” Structure Of Genesis
* Jason DeRouchie is associate professor of OT at Bethlehem College and Seminary, 720 13th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415.
The most prominent structural feature in Genesis is the formula אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדוֹת (꜄ēlleh tôlǝḏôṯ), which occurs 10 (11) times in the book and is often translated, “this is the account of” or “these are the generations of” (Gen 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10, 27; 25:12, 19; 36:1, ; 37:2).1 Its recurring placement suggests that the author used it as a shaping device for his work.2 While scholars have generally affirmed this point,3 the narrowing focus to Abraham and his offspring in chapter 12 has led
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most to distinguish two macro-divisions for the book––the Primeval and Patriarchal Histories.4 Still others like Gary Rendsburg have used stylistic analysis to propose large-scale parallelisms and chiasms in the subsections of the book, though often without considering a comprehensive structure for the whole.5 Finally, through employing composition and form criticism, scholars like Isaac Kikawada, Arthur Quinn, and Duane Garrett have suggested that the book’s structure mimics that of ancient ancestor epics such as Atrahasis, which established the setting, developed through three threats, and then found resolution.6 Significantly, none of
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these works adequately accounts for the governing role of the toledot formulae in the overall organization of Genesis.
When attempting to craft a macro-outline for a biblical book, one’s interpretive conclusions will be most substantiated when formal features in the text’s surface structure ...
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