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Genesis, Book of

(621 words)

Author(s): Gunneweg, Antonius H. J.
1. Name In the Hebrew Bible the first book of the Pentateuch is named for its first word: bĕrēʾšı̂t, “in the beginning.” “Genesis” is a Latinized form of Gk. genesis, “origin,” which is the title in the LXX. This word describes the contents, whereas “First Book of Moses” has reference to the early traditional author. 2. Contents and Structure Genesis forms part of the longer Pentateuchal narrative, but it is also a relatively self-contained whole. It tells the story from the beginning of the world to the Egyptian sojourn of the sons of Jacob, the ancestors of the 12 tribes of Israel. Genesi…

Israel

(11,300 words)

Author(s): Gunneweg, Antonius H. J. | Awerbuch, Marianne | Kimball, Charles A.
1. Historical Israel 1.1. Name “Israel” is a theophorous name in which the proper name “El” (God) is combined with the verb śrh as its subject. The OT gives this verb the sense of striving. The patriarch Jacob is called Israel because he had “striven with God” (Gen. 32:28, see also Hos. 12:3–4). This popular etymology, however, is not a reliable witness for the original meaning of the verb, and it also misunderstands the theophoric element “El” as an object. In the OT, the name “Israel” refers to different, albeit related, entities: the early tribes, the united kingdom of …