Trickster Redux : a reappraisal of Jacob's theological significance

Kahan, David (2009) Trickster Redux : a reappraisal of Jacob's theological significance. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Bringing God into history is Jacob's task. Jacob the patriarch, the one who breaks through, is a powerful biblical figure who may have been a role model for Jesus and was considered eldest of the angels during New Testament. Medieval church frescoes depict Jesus and Jacob together wearing halos. Unfortunately, as a survey of commentary will show, Post-Reformation Jacob becomes the typical Jew ruthlessly taking advantage of his brother, repulsive, a vile deceiver. Cardinal Ratzinger questioned whether Christians still can claim in good conscience to be the legitimate heirs of Israel's Bible: to a degree Jacob, his narrative, and a viable hermeneutic has been 'lost' to Christianity.
Decisively breaking with more traditional and literary approaches, the oldest hermeneutic has been rearticulated and brought back into play: verbal performing art. It is this hermeneutic - more intuitional and more capable of capturing ephemeral poetic moments - that can efficaciously attend to the biblical text's heterogene vivacity. It is well suited to explore inherent textual ambiguity. Loosely set within an ethnographic context where both narrative and character demand serious attention, the Jacobean narrative is approached closely. Seeking Jewish perspectives as well as Christian, it listens carefully for possibly dominated voices. There in the textual gaps, evidence will be found of a more hidden transcript with trickster discourse.
Primarily a theological endeavour attempting to build bridges to the Tanakh for Christian readers, the goal is to discover fresh presences of Jacob, uncover narrative coherence for his actions and establish theological significance. A return to the biblical text will reveal that between the formative time and Sinaiic time lies Jacobean time. As will be demonstrated, Jacob is blessed by God only after Jacob recognizes his own amporphous disruptive and subversive abilities. As has been said of others, Jacob shatters convention by mastering tradition. Jacob is the liminal figure who grasps the nature of perdurance and is therefore able to conceive a nascent Judaism and ensure that at Sinai the covenant will be set in Halakah. Jacob's narrative can be conceived as a tribute to sacred trickster.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available once any embargo periods have expired
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Jasper, Prof. David
Date of Award: 2009
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2009-2319
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:53

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