Book: About Edom and Idumea in the Persian Period
Chapter: 15. Think Positive! How the Positive Portrayal of Edom in Late Biblical Texts Leads to New Perspectives on Understanding the Literary History of Genesis, Deuteronomy, and Chronicles
The essay “Think Positive! How the Positive Portrayal of Edom in Late Biblical Texts Leads to New Perspectives on Understanding the Literary-History of Genesis, Deuteronomy, and Chronicles” is my own contribution. Here, I investigate the positive perception of Edom in the Persian period (including redactional layers and traditions from the exilic period). The classical stance in the field, and still prevalent today, holds that the relations between Israel/Judah and Edom as reflected in the late prophetic corpus are the dominant late-biblical traditions that leave no space for a positive (or even ambivalent) portrayal of Edom in this period. However, I demonstrate that certain redactional layers within particular traditions in the Pentateuch (especially the Abraham narrative, the Jacob Cycle, P and Deuteronomy), as well as the reimagination of biblical history provided by Chronicles, exhibit a positive perception of Edom. I argue that this memory of Edom is informed by a contemporary perception of Idumea and the multiethnic and cross-cultural society in this region (cf. Ben Zvi’s analysis). Identifying the historical background(s) of these observations includes investigations of the region of Idumea and considerations on Yahwistic activity in the region.