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Descripción editorial

It was popular for some time to seek apparent Near Eastern parallels to biblical narratives. The methodology employed was at times problematic, and conclusions were often overstated, as similarities between texts explicable in any number of ways were attributed to direct relationship. (1) For some biblical texts, of course, there is stronger evidence for Near Eastern influence. I propose that this is the case in regard to one text for which a Near Eastern counterpart has not previously been suggested: the story of Jacob's wrestling match in Gen 32:23-33 (Eng. 32:22-32). There is reason to believe that the Israelite author knew some form of Gilgamesh, and particularly the scene of the wrestling match between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. (2) The case presented here is not simply one of a shared motif or logical grouping of elements, but one of an unexpected and striking series of correspondences between two texts. The two stories in question share several elements that are each highly unusual and that bear no inherent relation to one another. Moreover, these features occur in the same order in the two texts. This is not to suggest that the author of the Israelite text sat looking at a copy of Gilgamesh. However, the unlikely cluster of correspondences, with the same sequence of uncommon elements, implies the author's familiarity with the story. I will argue here that the Israelite author utilized--and skillfully subverted--the framework familiar from Gilgamesh in composing the story of Jacob's wrestling match, and that this use sheds light on the aim of the Genesis passage.

Técnicos y profesionales
22 de diciembre
Society of Biblical Literature

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