Religion Past and Present

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(370 words)

[German Version]

Of the 51 occurrences of the name Sarah (Heb. הרָשָׂ/śārāh, “princess”) in the Old Testament, all but one are in Genesis. Sarai (Old Sem. form?), first appears in Gen 11:29 as the wife of Terah’s son Abram; she went with them first from Ur to Haran (11:31) and later to Canaan (12:5). The change of names to Abraham and Sarah is reported in 17:5, 11. According to 20:11 (cf. 12:11, 19), Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister, a form of marriage later prohibited (cf. 2 Sam 13:13 with Lev 18:9; 20:17; Deut 27:22) but not criticized at all here (pace Hepner). Sarah’s barrenness, a continu…

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Reventlow, Henning Graf, “Sarah”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 01 June 2023 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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