“You Shall Not Abhor an Edomite, for He is Your Brother”: The Tradition of Esau and the Edomite Genealogies from an Anthropological Perspective

Juan Manuel Tebes

Abstract


This article studies the genealogical relationship between
ancient Israel and Edom, as is expressed by the Hebrew Bible. It studies
especially the sociopolitical and ideological framework that gave birth to the
biblical tradition of the brotherhood of Jacob, the Israelite patriarch, and
Esau, here the alleged eponym of the Edomites. Three pertinent questions are
discussed: the Jacob-Esau saga in the biblical scholarship; the presence of
Southern Jordanian “Edomite” material culture in the Negev; and the issue of
kinship, segmentation and orality in ancient societies. It is argued that the
brotherhood tradition should be understood in the terms of the sociopolitical,
demographic, and ideological background in which it emerged: the Late Iron Age
Negev.

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