JACOB COME LATELY? HOSEA 12 AND THE PROBLEM OF DATING THE PATRIARCHS OF ANCIENT ISRAEL
AbstractThe contents of the Pentateuchal narratives on the patriarchs are given an interesting rendition in Hosea 12, a passage that seems simply to accept that its intended audience would recognise, in a sophisticated way, the allusions made to episodes from particularly the Jacob history. This passage has been widely accepted as the first extra-Pentateuchal reference to the patriarchs, with the dating accorded it usually more or less that of the time of the prophet Hosea, mid 8th century BCE. However, based on analysis of the contents of Hosea 12, it has recently been proposed that this chapter should be dated later, which would render the Isaac references in Amos 7 the oldest extra-Pentateuchal reference to the patriarchs, dated to between 722 and 586 BCE. If the evidence holds out, this will mean that the Pentateuchal texts on the patriarchs as well as the figures they refer to (irrespective for the purposes of this article whether these figures were actual historical personages or mythical icons) are much later than they are presented as in the texts of the Pentateuch or accepted by scholarship generally.
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