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Jacob: Unexpected Patriarch

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Jacob: Unexpected Patriarch

Jacob.jpg
Jacob.jpg

Jacob: Unexpected Patriarch

25.00

By Yair Zakovitch
Published November 20, 2012
216 pages

“Eloquently provocative” —Choice

A powerful hero of the Bible, Jacob is also one of its most complex figures. 

Bible stories recounting his life often expose his deception, lies, and greed—then, puzzlingly, attempt to justify them. In this book, eminent biblical scholar Yair Zakovitch presents a complete view of the patriarch, first examining Jacob and his life story as presented in the Bible, then also reconstructing the stories that the Bible writers suppressed—tales that were well-known, perhaps, but incompatible with the image of Jacob they wanted to promote. Through a work of extraordinary “literary archaeology,” Zakovitch explores the recesses of literary history, reaching back even to the stage of oral storytelling, to identify sources of Jacob's story that preceded the work of the Genesis writers.

The biblical writers were skilled mosaic-makers, Zakovitch shows, and their achievement was to reshape diverse pre-biblical representations of Jacob in support of their emerging new religion and identity. As the author follows Jacob in his wanderings and revelations, his successes, disgraces, and disappointments, he also considers the religious and political environment in which the Bible was written, offering a powerful explication of early Judaism.

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About the Author

Yair Zakovitch is Emeritus Father Takeji Otsuki Professor of Bible, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Professor of Jewish Peoplehood, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. He is author of numerous commentaries and monographs on the Hebrew Bible, and co-author (with Avigdor Shinan) of two Israeli bestsellers. He lives in Israel. 

Author photograph © Valerie Zakovitch


Reviews

“An engaging analysis of one of the Bible’s most complex figures” —Kirkus Review

“A profound, unsparing, and deeply learned look at a character who demonstrates the uneasy and charismatic qualities of a flawed hero” The Weekly Standard

“A brilliant analytical biography” Jewish Book World

“A colorful picture of the complex and enigmatic patriarch” —Israel Finkelstein, author of The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts