Sinning in the Hebrew Bible: How the Worst Stories Speak for Its Truth

Kobo ebook | July 24, 2012

byAlan F Segal

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Stories of rape, murder, adultery, and conquest raise crucial ethical issues in the Hebrew Bible, and their interpretation guides many societies in forming their religious and moral convictions. From the sacrifice of Isaac to the adultery of David, narratives of sin engender vivid analysis and debate, powering the myths that form the basis of the religious covenant, or the relationship between a people and their God.

Rereading these stories against different forms and contexts, Alan F. Segal demonstrates the significance of sinning throughout history and today. Drawing on literary and historical theory, as well as research in the social sciences, he explores the motivation for creating sin stories, their prevalence in the Hebrew Bible, and their possible meaning to Israelite readers and listeners. After introducing the basics of his approach and outlining several hermeneutical concepts, Segal conducts seven linked studies of specific narratives, using character and text to clarify problematic terms such as myth,” typology,” and orality.” Following the reappearance and reinterpretation of these narratives in later compositions, he proves their lasting power in the mythology of Israel and the encapsulation of universal, perennially relevant themes. Segal ultimately positions the Hebrew Bible as a foundational moral text and a history book, offering uncommon insights into the dating of biblical events and the intentions of biblical authors.

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Stories of rape, murder, adultery, and conquest raise crucial ethical issues in the Hebrew Bible, and their interpretation guides many societies in forming their religious and moral convictions. From the sacrifice of Isaac to the adultery of David, narratives of sin engender vivid analysis and debate, powering the myths that form the b...

Alan F. Segal (1945-2011) was professor of religion and Ingeborg Rennert Professor of Jewish Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. He taught two of the college's most popular courses: "Life After Death" and "Introduction to the Hebrew Bible." He was the author of a number of books, including Life After Death: A History of ...

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Format:Kobo ebookPublished:July 24, 2012Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231504349

ISBN - 13:9780231504348

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Bible and Myth
1. The Matriarch in Peril
2. The Golden Calf: A Lesson in Chronology
3. A Historical Tragedy: The Short-lived Deuteronomic Reform
4. The Concubine of the Levite: A Complete Horror
5. The Horror of Human Sacrifice: Sex, Intermarriage, and Proper Descent
6. Ways of a Man with a Woman
7. No Peace in the Royal Family
Conclusion: Synoptic Sinning
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

A gracefully written introduction to the narrative contents of the Hebrew Bible... A clear, engaging, yet slightly offbeat survey of our knowledge of Israelite history and literature since the work of Albrecht Alt, Martin Noth and William Foxwell Albright.