Ishmael, Isaac, and Covenantal Circumcision in Genesis 17

Matthew Thiessen

in Contesting Conversion

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199793563
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914456 | DOI:
Ishmael, Isaac, and Covenantal Circumcision in Genesis 17

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Chapter One provides a careful treatment of the role circumcision plays in Genesis 17. The first part of the chapter provides a detailed text-critical argument that all modern Bibles and the majority of critical scholarship wrongly follow the Masoretic Text’s reading of Genesis 17:14 instead of the reading preserved by the Septuagint, Samaritan Pentateuch, and the book of Jubilees, which requires that covenantal circumcision take place on the eighth day after birth. Consequently, modern readers have failed to understand how Ishmael can undergo circumcision, the sign of God’s covenant with Abraham, and yet remain outside of that covenant. This chapter argues that Ishmael’s circumcision at the age of thirteen indicates that he is not a member in Abraham’s covenantal seed, and therefore he has no share in that covenant.

Keywords: textual criticism; Genesis 17; circumcision; Ishmael; eighth day; covenant; Abraham

Chapter.  12628 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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