The Ladder of Jacob: Ancient Interpretations of the Biblical Story of Jacob and His Children

3.83 avg rating
( 24 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780691141237: The Ladder of Jacob: Ancient Interpretations of the Biblical Story of Jacob and His Children

Rife with incest, adultery, rape, and murder, the biblical story of Jacob and his children must have troubled ancient readers. By any standard, this was a family with problems. Jacob's oldest son Reuben is said to have slept with his father's concubine Bilhah. The next two sons, Simeon and Levi, tricked the men of a nearby city into undergoing circumcision, and then murdered all of them as revenge for the rape of their sister. Judah, the fourth son, had sexual relations with his own daughter-in-law. Meanwhile, jealous of their younger sibling Joseph, the brothers conspired to kill him; they later relented and merely sold him into slavery. These stories presented a particular challenge for ancient biblical interpreters. After all, Jacob's sons were the founders of the nation of Israel and ought to have been models of virtue.


In The Ladder of Jacob, renowned biblical scholar James Kugel retraces the steps of ancient biblical interpreters as they struggled with such problems. Kugel reveals how they often fixed on a little detail in the Bible's wording to "deduce" something not openly stated in the narrative. They concluded that Simeon and Levi were justified in killing all the men in a town to avenge the rape of their sister, and that Judah, who slept with his daughter-in-law, was the unfortunate victim of alcoholism.


These are among the earliest examples of ancient biblical interpretation (midrash). They are found in retellings of biblical stories that appeared in the closing centuries BCE--in the Book of Jubilees, the Aramaic Levi Document, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and other noncanonical works. Through careful analysis of these retellings, Kugel is able to reconstruct how ancient interpreters worked. The Ladder of Jacob is an artful, compelling account of the very beginnings of biblical interpretation.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Back Cover:

"James Kugel is the expert in the history of biblical interpretation, and he offers a great introduction to and explanation of ancient exegesis of these parts of Genesis."--James VanderKam, University of Notre Dame

"A wonderful book. The chapters follow their subjects detail by detail with a kind of masterfully unpredictable logic, almost like a detective story."--David Stern, University of Pennsylvania

"James Kugel fuses immense learning with a poignant (yet wary) nostalgia for what he has called 'the God of old'. The Ladder of Jacob could be read side-by-side with Thomas Mann's Joseph tetralogy. Kugel, like Mann, belongs to authentic cultures now vanished or vanishing. Both novelist and scholar temper their ironies with wisdom and a sense of justice."--Harold Bloom, author of Jesus and Yahweh and Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?

About the Author:

James L. Kugel, formerly Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University, is Director of the Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, where he also serves as Professor of Bible. Kugel is the author of ten books, including The God of Old: Great Poems of the Bible and The Bible as It Was (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction and the winner of the Grawemeyer Prize in Religion in 2001). He lives in Jerusalem.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Kugel, James L.
ISBN 10: 0691141231 ISBN 13: 9780691141237
New Quantity Available: 4
Seller:
GreatBookPrices
(Columbia, MD, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 5837843-n

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 21.23
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 2.64
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

James L. Kugel
Published by Princeton University Press, United States (2009)
ISBN 10: 0691141231 ISBN 13: 9780691141237
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Rife with incest, adultery, rape, and murder, the biblical story of Jacob and his children must have troubled ancient readers. By any standard, this was a family with problems. Jacob s oldest son Reuben is said to have slept with his father s concubine Bilhah. The next two sons, Simeon and Levi, tricked the men of a nearby city into undergoing circumcision, and then murdered all of them as revenge for the rape of their sister. Judah, the fourth son, had sexual relations with his own daughter-in-law. Meanwhile, jealous of their younger sibling Joseph, the brothers conspired to kill him; they later relented and merely sold him into slavery. These stories presented a particular challenge for ancient biblical interpreters. After all, Jacob s sons were the founders of the nation of Israel and ought to have been models of virtue. In The Ladder of Jacob, renowned biblical scholar James Kugel retraces the steps of ancient biblical interpreters as they struggled with such problems. Kugel reveals how they often fixed on a little detail in the Bible s wording to deduce something not openly stated in the narrative. They concluded that Simeon and Levi were justified in killing all the men in a town to avenge the rape of their sister, and that Judah, who slept with his daughter-in-law, was the unfortunate victim of alcoholism. These are among the earliest examples of ancient biblical interpretation (midrash). They are found in retellings of biblical stories that appeared in the closing centuries BCE--in the Book of Jubilees, the Aramaic Levi Document, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and other noncanonical works. Through careful analysis of these retellings, Kugel is able to reconstruct how ancient interpreters worked. The Ladder of Jacob is an artful, compelling account of the very beginnings of biblical interpretation. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780691141237

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 23.88
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

James L. Kugel
Published by Princeton University Press, United States (2009)
ISBN 10: 0691141231 ISBN 13: 9780691141237
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Rife with incest, adultery, rape, and murder, the biblical story of Jacob and his children must have troubled ancient readers. By any standard, this was a family with problems. Jacob s oldest son Reuben is said to have slept with his father s concubine Bilhah. The next two sons, Simeon and Levi, tricked the men of a nearby city into undergoing circumcision, and then murdered all of them as revenge for the rape of their sister. Judah, the fourth son, had sexual relations with his own daughter-in-law. Meanwhile, jealous of their younger sibling Joseph, the brothers conspired to kill him; they later relented and merely sold him into slavery. These stories presented a particular challenge for ancient biblical interpreters. After all, Jacob s sons were the founders of the nation of Israel and ought to have been models of virtue. In The Ladder of Jacob, renowned biblical scholar James Kugel retraces the steps of ancient biblical interpreters as they struggled with such problems. Kugel reveals how they often fixed on a little detail in the Bible s wording to deduce something not openly stated in the narrative. They concluded that Simeon and Levi were justified in killing all the men in a town to avenge the rape of their sister, and that Judah, who slept with his daughter-in-law, was the unfortunate victim of alcoholism. These are among the earliest examples of ancient biblical interpretation (midrash). They are found in retellings of biblical stories that appeared in the closing centuries BCE--in the Book of Jubilees, the Aramaic Levi Document, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and other noncanonical works. Through careful analysis of these retellings, Kugel is able to reconstruct how ancient interpreters worked. The Ladder of Jacob is an artful, compelling account of the very beginnings of biblical interpretation. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780691141237

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 27.71
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

James L. Kugel
Published by Princeton University Press (2009)
ISBN 10: 0691141231 ISBN 13: 9780691141237
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Princeton University Press, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0691141231

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 27.72
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Kugel, James L.
Published by Princeton University Press, Princeton (2009)
ISBN 10: 0691141231 ISBN 13: 9780691141237
New Softcover Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Ad Infinitum Books
(Mount Vernon, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2009. Softcover. Book Condition: New. 296 pages. Softcover. New book. RELIGION. Rife with incest, adultery, rape, and murder, the biblical story of Jacob and his children must have troubled ancient readers. By any standard, this was a family with problems. Jacob's oldest son Reuben is said to have slept with his father's concubine Bilhah. The next two sons, Simeon and Levi, tricked the men of a nearby city into undergoing circumcision, and then murdered all of them as revenge for the rape of their sister. Judah, the fourth son, had sexual relations with his own daughter-in-law. Meanwhile, jealous of their younger sibling Joseph, the brothers conspired to kill him; they later relented and merely sold him into slavery. These stories presented a particular challenge for ancient biblical interpreters. After all, Jacob's sons were the founders of the nation of Israel and ought to have been models of virtue. In The Ladder of Jacob, renowned biblical scholar James Kugel retraces the steps of ancient biblical interpreters as they struggled with such problems. Kugel reveals how they often fixed on a little detail in the Bible's wording to "deduce" something not openly stated in the narrative. They concluded that Simeon and Levi were justified in killing all the men in a town to avenge the rape of their sister, and that Judah, who slept with his daughter-in-law, was the unfortunate victim of alcoholism. These are among the earliest examples of ancient biblical interpretation (midrash). They are found in retellings of biblical stories that appeared in the closing centuries BCE--in the Book of Jubilees, the Aramaic Levi Document, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and other noncanonical works. Through careful analysis of these retellings, Kugel is able to reconstruct how ancient interpreters worked. The Ladder of Jacob is an artful, compelling account of the very beginnings of biblical interpretation. James L. Kugel, formerly Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University, is Director of the Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, where he also serves as Professor of Bible. Kugel is the author of ten books, including The God of Old: Great Poems of the Bible and The Bible as It Was (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction and the winner of the Grawemeyer Prize in Religion in 2001). He lives in Jerusalem. "The Ladder of Jacob is one of the most readable and attractive introductions to the general style of traditional Jewish reasoning from Scripture. It captures the strange combination of playfulness with deadly seriousness that characterizes this exegetical tradition, and which makes studying it so enjoyable. The methods it works with are profoundly interesting to the historian of ideas, who will be aware of parallels in other scriptural religions."--John Baron, Times Literary Supplement "James L. Kugel demonstrates that . . . ancient sources described the biblical narratives in terms of various motifs that brought fresh meanings to the stories and their place in Israel's religious history. . . . Kugel helpfully guides us through the marvelous world of ancient biblical interpretation." - Publishers Weekly "In his elegant new book, . . . James L. Kugel takes on . . . perplexing . . . questions with great erudition and admirable lucidity. . . . Whether unravelling some philological tangle or reconciling divergent readings, he has the enviable knack of capturing his reader's attention and keeping it firmly tethered. . . . Whether discussing Reuben's sin with Bilhah or the priesthood of Levi or Judah and Tamar, Mr. Kugel moves easily from moral dilemmas to textual enigmas; his book thus serves as a guide to interpretation as well." - Eric Ormsby, New York Sun "Biblical scholar Kugel offers an in-depth study of some of the more difficult stories of Jacob and Jacob's family. . . . [A]ny biblical researcher can profit from understanding the questions raised by these text, and analyzin. book. Bookseller Inventory # 73174X2

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 23.20
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

James L. Kugel
Published by Princeton University Press 2009-03-29, Princeton, N.J. |Oxford (2009)
ISBN 10: 0691141231 ISBN 13: 9780691141237
New paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Blackwell's
(Oxford, OX, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Princeton University Press 2009-03-29, Princeton, N.J. |Oxford, 2009. paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 9780691141237

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 23.61
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

James L. Kugel
Published by Princeton University Press
ISBN 10: 0691141231 ISBN 13: 9780691141237
New Paperback Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Princeton University Press. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Bookseller Inventory # B9780691141237

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 22.44
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.24
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

James L. Kugel
Published by Princeton University Press, United States (2009)
ISBN 10: 0691141231 ISBN 13: 9780691141237
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Rife with incest, adultery, rape, and murder, the biblical story of Jacob and his children must have troubled ancient readers. By any standard, this was a family with problems. Jacob s oldest son Reuben is said to have slept with his father s concubine Bilhah. The next two sons, Simeon and Levi, tricked the men of a nearby city into undergoing circumcision, and then murdered all of them as revenge for the rape of their sister. Judah, the fourth son, had sexual relations with his own daughter-in-law. Meanwhile, jealous of their younger sibling Joseph, the brothers conspired to kill him; they later relented and merely sold him into slavery. These stories presented a particular challenge for ancient biblical interpreters. After all, Jacob s sons were the founders of the nation of Israel and ought to have been models of virtue. In The Ladder of Jacob, renowned biblical scholar James Kugel retraces the steps of ancient biblical interpreters as they struggled with such problems. Kugel reveals how they often fixed on a little detail in the Bible s wording to deduce something not openly stated in the narrative. They concluded that Simeon and Levi were justified in killing all the men in a town to avenge the rape of their sister, and that Judah, who slept with his daughter-in-law, was the unfortunate victim of alcoholism. These are among the earliest examples of ancient biblical interpretation (midrash). They are found in retellings of biblical stories that appeared in the closing centuries BCE--in the Book of Jubilees, the Aramaic Levi Document, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and other noncanonical works. Through careful analysis of these retellings, Kugel is able to reconstruct how ancient interpreters worked. The Ladder of Jacob is an artful, compelling account of the very beginnings of biblical interpretation. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780691141237

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 32.84
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Kugel, James L.
Published by Princeton University Press (2009)
ISBN 10: 0691141231 ISBN 13: 9780691141237
New Quantity Available: 4
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Princeton University Press, 2009. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # WP-9780691141237

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 21.74
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Kugel, James L.
Published by Princeton Univ Pr (2009)
ISBN 10: 0691141231 ISBN 13: 9780691141237
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Princeton Univ Pr, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 296 pages. 9.10x6.10x0.90 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __0691141231

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 29.30
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book