Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (Christian Scripture) - MA (CSc)



First Advisor/Committee Member

Sara M. Koenig, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biblical Studies


Bible Genesis XXVI 34 XXVIII 9, Isaac (Biblical patriarch), Rebekah (Biblical matriarch), Jacob (Biblical patriarch), Esau (Biblical figure), Narration in the Bible


Genesis 27—the episode where Jacob is disguised as Esau in order to take his blessing—is a morally difficult text. But even though the blessing is gained by deception, no judgment is explicitly made by the characters, by God, or by the narrator. Because of this narrative “gap” of judgment, the reader is invited to participate in the task of judging the characters, either positively or negatively. Using narratological techniques to examine gaps and characterization, this thesis argues that each character—Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob—can be interpreted in both positive and negative ways. This means that if a reader leans toward one interpretation of a particular character (e.g., that Esau has disqualified himself from the blessing because of his Hittite marriages), he or she should also acknowledge that other interpretations are plausible (e.g., Esau is an obedient son who loses the blessing despite his obedience). The paper offers scene-by-scene analysis with character summaries at the end.


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