Cain and Abel in Text and Tradition: Jewish and Christian by John Byron

By John Byron

The tale of Cain and Abel narrates the primeval occasions linked to the beginnings of the area and humanity. however the presence of linguistic and grammatical ambiguities coupled with narrative gaps supplied translators and interpreters with a few issues of departure for increasing the tale. the result's a few good verified and interpretive traditions shared among Jewish and Christian literature. This publication makes a speciality of how the interpretive traditions derived from Genesis four exerted major impact on Jewish and Christian authors who knew rewritten models of the tale. The aim is to assist readers savor those traditions in the broader interpretive context instead of in the slim confines of the canon.

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Extra info for Cain and Abel in Text and Tradition: Jewish and Christian Interpretations of the First Sibling Rivalry

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20–25). By combining the meaning of Cain’s name with the description of his occupation, Philo emphasizes the portrayal of Cain as a greedy grasper. A similar line of interpretation is found in Antiquities where Josephus uses the brothers’ choice of occupation to further impugn Cain and explain why God rejected the latter’s sacrifice. Whereas Genesis merely describes the brothers’ occupation as a way to introduce the content of their sacrifice, Josephus expands the narrative to include details of the brothers’ character.

J. Neusner and A. J. Avery Peck; Leiden: Brill, 2005), 2:765–66. 6 For a review of how Abel’s offering was interpreted in antiquity see Jack P. Lewis, “The Offering of Abel (Gen 4:4): A History of Interpretation,” JETS 37 (1994): 481–96; for a list of the different types of explanations that have been offered by modern commentators see: Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1–15 (WBC 1; Waco: Word, 1987), 104. 7 Wenham, 103. This is also the explanation offered by Philo (Sacrifices 88–89). rejected offering—dejected person 41 not yet been mandated, Abel is portrayed in the Genesis account as one who fulfilled the law even before it had been handed down.

Rejected offering—dejected person 41 not yet been mandated, Abel is portrayed in the Genesis account as one who fulfilled the law even before it had been handed down. Such a portrayal would make Abel, as one of the first pair to sacrifice, a model for acceptable sacrificial practice. 8 And therefore Cain retained in his own keeping the firstlings of the fruits of his husbandry and offered, as we are told, merely the fruits at a later time, although he had beside him a wholesome example. For his brother brought to the altar the first-born, thus confessing that even the causes which come higher in the chain of causation owe their existence to the Cause which is highest and first of all.

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