“There he built an altar to the Lord” (Gen 12:8) City and Altar Building in Genesis
AbstractThis essay examines Genesis’ depiction of the contrast between patriarchal altar-building (בנה, 12:7, 8; 13:18; 22:9; 26:25; 35:7; cf. 8:20) and pre-patriarchal city-building (בנה, 4:17; 10:11; 11:4,). The patriarchal building is qualitatively different because the altars are built in the place where, and after, YHWH appears to the patriarch, in the context of a word of blessing evocative of Genesis 12:1-3. The patriarchal altars of Genesis anticipate the place YHWH chooses for his name to dwell (Deut 12:11, 21; 14:23, 24; 16:2, 6, 11).
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