Matthew C. Genung

The Composition of Genesis 37

Incoherence and Meaning in the Exposition of the Joseph Story

[Der Aufbau von Genesis 37. Inkohärenz und Sinn in der Einleitung der Josefsgeschichte.]

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Genesis 37 narrates the basis of Israel's descent into Egypt. It is a chapter where literary tensions have given rise to several incompatible interpretations. Matthew C. Genung provides a fresh analysis of Genesis 37 along with a new explanation of its compositional history. The results impact the interpretation of the Joseph Story and Pentateuchal criticism.
Genesis 37 is the exposition of the biblical Joseph Story and narrates the basis of Israel's descent into Egypt. From the beginning of critical research into the Pentateuch, literary tensions and contradictions encountered in this chapter, including the question of who sold Joseph to whom, have given rise to several incompatible explanations. At present no solution to its complex problems enjoys agreement. On top of a thorough history of research, Matthew C. Genung provides a fresh literary critical analysis of Genesis 37, treated passage by passage, guided by the literary tensions in the narrative in dialogue with the most important solution models. This method has led to a new explanation of the compositional history of Genesis 37 that contributes to an understanding of the meaning of the actual text, solves its elements of tension and incoherence, and identifies their originating historical milieu. The results impact Joseph Story exegesis and fundamental questions current in Pentateuchal criticism.

Matthew C. Genung Born 1972; 1994 B.S. from Boston College; 2007 S.T.B. from the Pontifical Gregorian University; 2016 S.S.D. from the Pontifical Biblical Institute; 2011–16 Visiting Scholar at Boston College; since 2016 Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at The Athenaeum of Ohio.


The following reviews are known:

In: Zeitschr. f. d. Alttestamentl. Wissenschaft — 131 (2019), S. 142–143 (Franziska Ede)
In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 143 (2018), S. 742–744 (Jakob Wöhrle)
In: Biblische Notizen — 186 (2020), pp. 144–145 (Koert van Bekkum)
In: Old Testament Abstracts — 42 (2019), S. 518 (M.C.G.)