Yahwist’s Parallel Formation Techniques

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klewis
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Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:39 am

Yahwist’s Parallel Formation Techniques

Post by klewis » Sat May 04, 2019 11:42 am

The Yahwist in Genesis-Exodus formed his stories by using a three step process process.

Step 1: The creation of a story that has two parts to it, such as the marriage of Moses.

Step 2: Through parallel formation create a second story. In this case it is the marriage of Moses and the marriage of Jacob.

Moses' Marriage Jacob's Marriage
Prior to Moses’ Marriage Prior to Jacob’s Marriage (Jacob Deceives -- see below)
* Moses kills an Egyptian (Exod 2:12).
  • Moses tries to hide his crime from the Hebrews, his brothers (Exod 2:11-13).
  • Moses fails to hide his crime from Pharaoh (Exod 2:14).
  • Moses flees to a far away land so that Pharaoh does not kill him (Exod 2:15).

  • Jacob swindles Esau into giving him his birthright (Gen 25:27-34).
  • Jacob swindles Isaac into giving Esau’s blessing to him (Gen 27:1- 40).
    * Isaac Dies (Gen 27:41).
  • Jacob flees to a far away land so that Esau does not kill him (Gen 27:42-44).
Moses Encounters is Bride To Be Jacob Encounters His Bride To Be (Jacob Deceived -- see below)
  • Moses ends up at a well (Exod 2:15).
  • Shepherds try and stop the seven daughters from watering their goats (Exod 2:16-17).
  • Moses defends the daughters and help them water their goats (Exod 2:17).
  • The daughters went home and did not tell their father (Exod 2:18).
  • Their father sent his daughters to invite Moses to dinner (Exod 2:19).
  • They had a meal – implied (Exo 2:20-21).
  • Moses marries Zipporah (Exod 2:21).
  • A statement about Moses’ son (Exod 2:22).
  • Jacob ends up at a well (Gen 29:1-5).
  • Shepherds wait for Rachel so that they can water their sheep (Gen 29:6-9).
  • Jacob assaults (kisses) Rachel (Gen 29:10-11).
  • Rachel returns home and tells her father (Gen 29:12).
  • Laban, Rachel’s father, ran out to meet Jacob (Gen 29:13).
  • There was a meal (29:22).
  • Jacob marries (29:23-28).
  • A statement regarding the naming of Jacob’s sons (Gen 29:32:-35).

*Parallel elements out of order.

Step 3: Expand the second story, the marriage of Jacob, by parallel formation between the first half and the second half of the story.

Jacob Deceives Jacob Deceived
  • Jacob trades a cup of soup for Esau’s birthright making him the first born son (Gen 25:27-34).
  • Isaac cannot see well (Gen 27:1).
  • Rebekah, the mother, enlists the aid of the youngest son to take the eldest son’s blessing (Gen 27:5-25).
  • Isaac gives Esau’s blessing to Jacob (Gen 27:26-29).
  • Isaac realizes he has been deceived and Esau demands another blessing (27:30-41).
  • Isaac gives Esau a second blessing which he did not like (Gen 27:39).
  • Laban trades Jacob seven years of labor for Laban’s second born daughter (Gen 29:18).
  • Jacob did not see that he married Leah (Gen 29:22-25).
  • Laban, the father, enlists Leah, the eldest daughter, in tricking Jacob into marrying her (Gen 29:22-25).
  • Jacob consummates the marriage with Leah (Gen 29:23).
  • Jacob realizes he has been deceived and demands the youngest daughter (Gen 29:25-27).
  • Laban gives Jacob his second daughter with the condition that he works another seven years (Gen 29:27-30).

Parallel formation shows us how the marriage of Jacob is larger than the marriage of Moses.

outhouse
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Re: Yahwist’s Parallel Formation Techniques

Post by outhouse » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:45 pm

Since none of these people have ant historicity as ever existing, what is your point here?

semiopen
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Re: Yahwist’s Parallel Formation Techniques

Post by semiopen » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:02 am

outhouse wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:45 pm
Since none of these people have ant historicity as ever existing, what is your point here?
Personally, I like to search for identical phrases such as:

‎וַיְהִ֗י אַחַר֙ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה And it came to pass after these things

This phrase appears 5 times in the Tanakh.

And it came to pass after these things, that God did prove Abraham, and said unto him: 'Abraham'; and he said: 'Here am I.' (Gen. 22:1 JPS)

And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said: 'Lie with me.' (Gen. 39:7 JPS)

And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord the king of Egypt.
(Gen. 40:1 JPS)

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. (1 Ki. 17:17 JPS)

And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria. (1 Ki. 21:1 JPS)

This could be one, two or more writers, my guess is that the passages are more or less contemporaneous.

If we search for a fragment of the phrase:

‎אַחַ֣ר׀ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה we pick up a few additional lines from from the book of Ishtar.

After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was assuaged, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. (Est. 2:1 JPS)

After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. (Est. 3:1 JPS)

This guy was working on what has to be at least tied for the most dubious book in the Tanakh, so it might figure that he might have been too lazy to write out the complete phrase. In any case, certainly a different guy than the other examples. But as Bob Dylan said -
You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
It is important to try to understand how the various stories were constructed and the interrelations. I'm not satisfied with the conclusions KLewis gives or implies but think listing and discussing them is useful.

outhouse
Posts: 3573
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:48 pm

Re: Yahwist’s Parallel Formation Techniques

Post by outhouse » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:59 pm

semiopen wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:02 am
It is important to try to understand how the various stories were constructed and the interrelations. I'm not satisfied with the conclusions KLewis gives or implies but think listing and discussing them is useful.
How much was influenced from Mesopotamian cultures? Quite a bit under Gunkel, and I have no doubt or question his work.

The problem lies with how fragmented these text are after being collection of collections that have gone through multiple redactions under loyal Yawist. Was your Ishtar example an early author? or a dedicated redactor much later in time? Or a coincidence? sorry I read Gunkel a decade ago and it put me to sleep.

No one scholar has this whole topic nailed. I love it because it a mystery in many places, and educated guessing goes a long way.

klewis
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Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:39 am

Re: Yahwist’s Parallel Formation Techniques

Post by klewis » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:12 pm

The same process that created the story of Jacob that launched this topic can also be seen in the story of Joseph. There is and always will be debate as to the origin of the story found somewhere. My studies are limited to how the texts, once they were written morphed to where they are now.

The story of the adoption of Moses into Pharaoh’s household and the story of Joseph sold into slavery are a product of parallel formation. The author of the parallel wanted to contrast how the midwives and Moses’ family did everything to preserve his life while Joseph’s family did everything to despise Joseph’s (Gen 37:17-36; Exod 1:15 - 2:6)

The World that Moses Came Into The World that Joseph Was Born Into
A. The midwives give a false report to Pharaoh (Exod 1:15-22).
B. Moses’ family tries everything to preserve his life (Exod 2:1-2).
C. Moses’ family hid him in a cave for 3 months (Exod 2:2).
D. Moses’ family sent him down the river (Exod 2:3).

E. Moses’ sister watched over him (Exod 2:4).
F. Moses adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter (Exod 2:5-6).
A. Joseph gave an evil report (Gen 37:2).
B. Joseph’s brothers conspired to kill him (Gen 37:17-19).
C. Joseph’s brother threw him in a pit (Gen 37:20).
E. Joseph’s eldest brother stopped his brothers from killing Moses and left the scene (Gen 37: 21-22).
D. Joseph’s brothers sold him Joseph into slavery (Gen 37:28).
F. Joseph bought by Potiphar the captain of Pharaoh’s guard (Gen 37:36).

How Joseph’s Story at Home and with Potiphar Grew In Size
The two Joseph’s stories expanded through the use of parallel formation allowing many new elements to be added in both accounts. This is where the coat came into the picture as the false evidence of the crime as well as the anger by Joseph’s father and Potiphar.

Joseph at Home (JE) Joseph at Potiphar’s Home (J)
A. Jacob loved Joseph more than his other sons (E)(Gen 37:3-4).
B. Joseph had a dream that he would rule over his brothers (J)(Gen 37:5-7).
C. Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill Joseph (JE)(Gen 37:17-19)
D. Joseph brothers took his coat (Gen 37:23).
E. Reuben killed a male goat and dipped it in blood (E)(Gen 37:31).
F. Reuben provided Joseph’s coat as evidence of Joseph’s death to Jacob (Gen 37:32-33).
G. Jacob tore his clothes (Gen 37:35).
H. The Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt (E)(Gen 37:36).
A. Potiphar saw that Yahweh was with Joseph (Gen 39:1-3).
B. Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his house (Gen 39:4-6).

C. Potiphar’s wife wanted to sleep with Joseph (Gen 39:6-11).
D. Potiphar’s wife took his coat (Gen 39:12).
E. Potiphar’s wife called the men in the house to witness the (Gen 29:23).
F. Potiphar’s wife used the coat as evidence of Joseph’s crime against her (Gen 39:16-18).
G. Potiphar was angry (Gen 39:19).
H. Joseph was placed in prison (Gen 39:20-23).


klewis
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:39 am

Re: Yahwist’s Parallel Formation Techniques

Post by klewis » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:01 am

semiopen wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:02 am
Personally, I like to search for identical phrases such as:

Keep in mind the process in which Hebrew poetry is formed. If you look for repeating phrases alone then you will never find many of the known parallels.

Examples of simple and inverted parallels are presented below, first with text in prose and then revealed in their respective parallel type. The simple parallel is represented by a parallel list while the inverted parallel looks like an outline. The marking of each element in the parallel is shown by a letter (A, B, C, D), and the corresponding element in the other list is shown by a letter and an apostrophe (A’, B’, C’, D’).

Parallel elements can either be complementary or opposite to each other. The illustration below shows all the elements in the simple parallel forming an opposite to their corresponding element. The complex parallel shows all three of the four elements as complementary. In these two small parallels consisting of only four items there can be 256 different possible combinations.

A Simple Parallel
John is poor, tall, and old, but he is a great father to his daughter. Jill on the other hand is wealthy, small, and young. However, she is John’s daughter.


A. He is poor.
B. He is tall.
C. He is old.
D. He is her father.
A'. She is wealthy.
B'. She is small.
C'. She is young.
D'. She is his daughter.


An Inverted Parallel
John is poor among his family and tall in stature. He is the eldest of his brothers. He is the father to Jill and she is the daughter to John. She is the eldest among her sisters and the tallest. She is also poor.
A. He is poor.
. B. He is tall.
.. C. He is the eldest brother.
... D. He is her father.
... D'. She is his daughter.
.. C'. She is the eldest sister.
. B'. She is tall.
A'. She is poor.


semiopen
Posts: 463
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: Yahwist’s Parallel Formation Techniques

Post by semiopen » Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:40 am

I'm not in any danger of either studying too much or understanding the bible anytime soon.

The most striking part of the Joseph story is his femininity, at least through his service to Potiphar.

For example -
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a coat of many colours. (Gen. 37:3 JPS)
כְּתֹ֥נֶת פַּסִּֽים - coat of many colors, ornamented tunic.

Isn't that a little gay? Maybe not, different time and place but -
She was wearing an ornamented tunic, for maiden princesses were customarily dressed in such garments. (2 Sam. 13:18 TNK)

This is the only other time כְּתֹ֥נֶת פַּסִּֽים appears in the Tanakh. So, yeah, it probably is pretty gay.

In the storyline, the odd story of Judah and Tamar is sandwiched between Jacob's hinted affair with Joseph (who reminded him of Rachel) on one side, and Joseph and Potiphar's wife on the other.
And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hand of the Ishmaelites, that had brought him down thither. (Gen. 39:1 JPS)
פּוֹטִיפַר֩ סְרִ֙יס פַּרְעֹ֜ה Potiphar, a eunuch of Pharoah - as Nachmanides translates.

So another entry in your parallel list might be,

Judah shtups his dead sons' wife/Joseph refuses to shtup the wife of a living eunuch.

klewis
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:39 am

Re: Yahwist’s Parallel Formation Techniques

Post by klewis » Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:15 pm

Semiopen, thanks for the 2 Samuel reference. I learned a new connection.

What I had was that the story of Tamar is a story that takes elements from the story of Joseph sold into slavery and the story of Joseph with Potiphar's wife.

The story of Tamar was inserted as a parallel to the story of Judges. Think of a story in which Moses is at the pinnacle of Hebrew history. As one works backwards in time from Moses, the main figures reflect what happen after Moses.
  • Joseph was responsible for taking the people from the promise land to Egypt. Joshua was responsible for taking the people to the promised land.
  • Jacob's eleven sons and Tamar reflect the 12 Judges, 11 men and 1 woman.
  • Jacob as the antithesis of Samuel.
  • Isaac as a reflection of Saul where Abraham tried to kill Isaac and Saul tried to David.
  • Abraham as a reflection of David.
  • Noah built an Ark, Solomon built a temple.
  • The linage of Cain reflects the kings in the northern Kingdom. This can be seen in that the only two people taken by God is Enoch (Gen 5:21-24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:21).
  • The linage of Seth reflects the kings of the southern kingdom who prevailed.
The parallel falls apart with Adam because we do not know who it might be. One can argue that it was Josiah which would reflect the symmetry of the inverted parallel. Adam was kicked out of the Garden of Eden because he disobeyed God's command. Judah was taken into Babylon because they could not obey Josiah's / God's command.

I have an article in the latest Journal of Higher Criticism that uses the parallels to reveal the various stages of Genesis-Exodus. Most of the illustrations I have provided represent the content in the article.

semiopen
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Re: Yahwist’s Parallel Formation Techniques

Post by semiopen » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:15 am

I'll look for the article. Clearly, some examples you give are better than some others. Joseph and Potiphar's wife vs Judah and Tamar is a relatively good example, The Noah and Solomon connection etc. seems pretty obscure. Picking up girls at the local well is an example of something obvious, important, but ultimately, probably not all that interesting. It is probable that a decent percentage of your examples are accidental, it is a statistical minefield at best.

There is a real issue in overlaying contemporary norms and values on the Tanakh template.

For example, we have difficulty accepting a scenario where Joseph is presented as gay. The question whether he "should" have taken the opportunity to have intercourse with Potiphar's wife is far from clear from a moral standpoint. My guess is that it is meant as a criticism . That fits in with something that might have been designed in the time of Josiah after the fall of Israel to the Assyrians. One of the major points being that almost all commentary on this is based on interpreting it backwards.

On the surface, that view implies that the Joseph story was already well known and probably mainly originated in Israel as opposed to Judah. The fragmentary nature of the first part of the story supports that, with the Midianites and Ishmaelites morphing into each other etc., suggesting at least several different sources. So it's easy to imagine the word coming down from Josiah's advisors to make some subtle changes to question Joseph's masculinity.

On the other hand, we don't see any of the Genesis characters appearing in the prophets with anything resembling substance and even Moses is rarely mentioned. It might be possible to ignore this elephant in the room, along with little details about what they wrote on and with, copies, etc.; a good way to piss off a traditional Jew is to suggest Papyrus.

klewis
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:39 am

Re: Yahwist’s Parallel Formation Techniques

Post by klewis » Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:07 pm

semiopen wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:15 am
There is a real issue in overlaying contemporary norms and values on the Tanakh template.

For example, we have difficulty accepting a scenario where Joseph is presented as gay. The question whether he "should" have taken the opportunity to have intercourse with Potiphar's wife is far from clear from a moral standpoint. My guess is that it is meant as a criticism . That fits in with something that might have been designed in the time of Josiah after the fall of Israel to the Assyrians. One of the major points being that almost all commentary on this is based on interpreting it backwards.
I would agree with you on this one. I cannot see Joseph as gay in the context of Genesis. The marriage parallels tell a story when you line them all up and read them in the order from Moses to Cain. Perhaps I should post the parallel.

semiopen wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:15 am
On the other hand, we don't see any of the Genesis characters appearing in the prophets with anything resembling substance and even Moses is rarely mentioned. It might be possible to ignore this elephant in the room, along with little details about what they wrote on and with, copies, etc.; a good way to piss off a traditional Jew is to suggest Papyrus.
The elephant is so large that I think most people don't see not seeing it.

I guess it was similar to modern Judaism, where it is all about the Torah and yet there is little to do about the Torah.

Thanks for reading it. I hope to get the book out that will go into many more parallels.

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