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The Abraham Narrative (Gen. 12:1-25:11) in Some Ancient and Mediaeval Manuscripts: The Exegetical Implications of Delimitation Criticism

Domenii publicaţii > Stiinte umaniste + Tipuri publicaţii > Articol în volumul unei conferinţe

Autori: Silviu Tatu

Editorial: Raymond de Hoop, Marjo C.A. Korpel, Stanley E. Porter, Leiden: Brill, The Impact of Unit Delimitation on Exegesis, Pericope, 7, p.241-267, 2009.


This paper surveys the paragraph divisions in three ancient MSS and two mediaeval MSS in relation to the Abraham Narrative Act in the Patriarchal Narratives (Gen. 12.1-25.11) in order to assess their relevance for critical studies of biblical narratives. The genealogies are to be treated separately on another occasion, not only because they have a different genre, but also because the paragraphing technique applied to them is peculiar.
At the outset of this paper, several criteria for analysing the primary texts are proposed. Then, the paragraphing of these MSS is surveyed and several scribal paragraphing techniques summarised. This opens the way for a more in-depth analysis of three pericopes (Gen. 12-13, 14-15, 20-21) in order to assess their exegetical implications.
Very few Qumran MSS are available for this portion of Genesis and their value is impaired by this very scarcity and their fragmentary status. Codex Alexandrinus has more paragraphs than the text in the Shechem No6 MS Samaritan Pentateuch. The Kennicott Bible and Codex Leningradensis are almost identical in terms of paragraphing, but their delimitation produces even fewer paragraphs than the Samaritan Pentateuch. It can be argued that the older versions marked as new paragraphs not only new narrative units and subunits, but also the turns in conversations.
On closer inspection, each paragraphing tradition represented by these texts can be accounted as responsible for a different interpretation of the original story. It is argued that delimitation criticism allows the scholar to discover, by means of its paragraphing technique, the exegetical approach that prompted both the interpretation of the text by the original editors and the interpretation conveyed to their readers.

Cuvinte cheie: Critica delimitationala, Geneza, Naratiunile patriarhilor // Delimitation criticism, Genesis, Patriarchal narratives