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Following the call of Abraham in chapter 12, this universal outlook appears to be lost; the focus narrows to one man and his family. Yet the traditions about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob's 12 sons are linked to the earlier chapters by God's promise to bless the whole world through Abraham's descendants. Furthermore, the Covenant established with Israel through the promise made to Abraham (22:15 - 18) is fundamentally the same as the covenant established with all of humankind through Noah (9:1 - 17).
Although Moses has traditionally been considered the author of Genesis, modern scholars generally agree that the book is a composite of at least three different literary strands: J (10th century BC), E (9th century), and P (5th century). The interpretation of the book has led to many controversies. One of the most difficult problems has been distinguishing historical fact from symbolic narration intended to convey a religious message.
J J M Roberts
H Bloom, Book of J (1990); G von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary (1972); E A Speiser, ed., Genesis (1964); R Youngblood, ed., The Genesis Debate (1986).
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