Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award

5-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Theology, Ministry, Missions (GST)

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Mark Hamilton

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Richard Wright

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Liz Boase

Abstract

In this thesis I explore how Gen 17 and 23 contain themes of trauma. For the purpose of this research, I am combining the disciplines of historical criticism, literary criticism, and trauma theory. Genesis 17 and 23 are narratives of non-typical length in the Priestly source of Genesis. I explain how these narratives fit into the larger Priestly strand in Genesis through a combination of diachronic and synchronic readings. In Gen 17, God reveals himself as El Shaddai to Abraham and enters into a covenant with him promising progeny, land, and blessing. These promises are themes that are particularly meaningful after the deportations began in Israel 735 BCE. Landlessness, barrenness, and economic instability became part of the Israelite experience. Genesis 17 is able to be metaphorized, symbolized, and reflexively read to speak into the trauma of the multiple deportations and destructions that took place in Israel. Genesis 23 is another non-typical narrative that is included as part of the Priestly source. This is the story of Abraham purchasing the cave of Machpelah from Ephron, a son of Heth, in order to bury his wife Sarah. There are several elements in this story that touch on trauma, and particularly the Israelite experience of life outside of the land of Israel. Of particular note is the importance of the cave of Machpelah as an ancestral burial site. There also seems to be an ethic for Israelite burial and negotiation practices. Furthermore, the theme of family burial is explored through Abraham’s experience as a foreigner. In this thesis, I show how the themes in these two pericopes are informed by, and speak to, Israelite experiences of trauma.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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