"Let Ishmael Live Before You!" Finding a Place for Hagar's Son in the Priestly Tradition
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CitationNoble, John Travis. 2013. "Let Ishmael Live Before You!" Finding a Place for Hagar's Son in the Priestly Tradition. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractSince Julius Wellhausen's synthesis of the Documentary Hypothesis—and no doubt owing in part to the Protestant Reformation—dominant portrayals of the Priestly material have described a self∼interested legist with little or no concern for those outside the Levitical ranks. Though this negative characterization is recognized by some to be reductionist and misguided, none has undertaken to examine Ishmael's critical role in what is better understood as a universal mode of thinking in P. Examining first the narratives that give indication of Ishmael's status in J and E, I have contrasted Ishmael with the other non∼chosen siblings of Genesis, concluding that he is favored in these sources in a way that the others are not; also, that Ishmael and his mother adumbrate not only the distress of Israel's bondage in Egypt, but also their deliverance. With this background from J and E, I have sought to elucidate P's relationship to these sources through its representation of Ishmael in the Abrahamic covenant. It appears that P has recast the promises that Ishmael receives in J and E so that Ishmael is more explicitly excluded from God's covenant with Abraham, on the one hand; but P also identifies Ishmael with the blessing of fertility, invoking the divine injunction to all humanity through both Adam and Noah to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 17:20), on the other. P's emphasis on fertility also relates to Ishmael's own participation—though he is non∼chosen—in circumcision as the sign of the covenant. Therefore P accounts for God's universal regard for humanity through Ishmael even in his particular covenant with Abraham.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11156812
- FAS Theses and Dissertations 
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