Comments on the historical background of the Jacob narrative in Genesis

Israel Finkelstein, Thomas Römer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The authors deploy archaeological, geographical and exegetical considerations in order to reconstruct the development of the Jacob Cycle in Genesis. The earliest material seems to have originated from the Israelite population in the Gilead in the early phases of the Iron Age; it dealt mainly with the construction of the temple of El at Penuel and with the delineation of the settlement border between Israelites and Arameans in Transjordan. In the 8th century BCE the Jacob tradition was transported to the west of the Jordan, to the area of Bethel-Shechem, and put in writing. This was probably done in conjunction with Jeroboam II's reorganization of the cult of the Northern Kingdom, including the promotion of the worship of Yhwh and his temples. The article then discusses later layers in the Jacob Cycle: the merging of the northern Jacob narrative with the southern Abraham and Isaac narratives, the Priestly work and post-Priestly redactions of the cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-338
Number of pages22
JournalZeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014


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