These are the Generations: Identity, Covenant, and the 'toledot' Formula (The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies)

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9780567151414: These are the Generations: Identity, Covenant, and the 'toledot' Formula (The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies)
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Using a combination of form-critical and linguistic methods, the author seeks to understand the role of the toledot formula, often translated "These are the generations of Name," in shaping the book of Genesis and the Pentateuch as a whole. An examination of the formula uncovers that it functions primarily as a heading to major sections of text and draws the readers' attention to focus on an ever narrower range of characters.

By starting from the perspective of the surface structure of the text and addressing questions that investigation raises, the study is able to uncover and resolve a number of tensions within the text, as well as provide insights into a number of other questions surrounding the toledot headings and the organization of the structure of the Pentateuch.

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About the Author:

Matthew A. Thomas (Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible, Claremont Graduate University) has served as a member of the adjunct faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary and at Azusa Pacific University in California, USA.

Review:

Matthew Thomas points to a new dimension in reading the final form of the Pentateuch. By pointing to the significance of the toledoth formulae as a structuring device in the Pentateuch—including the reference to in the "generations" of Aaron and Moses in Numbers 3:1—he prompts interpreters to recognize that the final form of the Pentateuch presents a history of humankind in general and Israel in particular that culminates in the institution of the Levitical priesthood.

—Marvin A. Sweeney, Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University



The function of the toledot Formula to relate humanity, while also focusing the reader on an ever-narrowing story, is crucial for interpreting the Pentateuch. This form-critical study provides helpful insight in the important role of the toledot in structuring the present form of the text to develop the theme of covenant through the narrowing of divine-human relationships.

—Thomas B. Dozeman, Professor of Hebrew Bible United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH

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