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Honors Abstract


"'I will become their God': Blessing in the Book of Jubilee"
- Author: Mary Claire Magruder (2011)
- Thesis Advisor: William Gilders
- Program: Religion


Blessing is one of the primary means by which Israel's relationship with God is
articulated in The Book of Jubilees. By reinterpreting the biblical concept of blessing in a Second
Temple context, the authors of Jubilees have innovated a means by which Israel is able to assert
its superiority over other nations. In this essay, close textual analysis reveals complex attitudes
toward gentiles, the land, and covenant which are negotiated both by means of blessing and of
being blessed. The first chapter explores origins of blessing in Jubilees, and how these origins
differ from the biblical text - especially vis-à-vis the character of Noah. Subsequent chapters
examine the blessing of Israelites, gentiles, and land by God and by human beings themselves;
these sections illustrate the mechanism of blessing which, in Jubilees, takes the form of a
positive feedback-loop in which only God and Israel are able to participate. This study highlights
the means by which Israel has been separated from other nations both in terms of power and
morality. The final chapters demonstrate that the authors of Jubilees see Israel as not only bound
to God by means of the covenant, but also as able to affect the state of God's being in meaningful
ways. As such, blessing becomes not only an indication of goodwill between two parties, but a
means of separation and exclusion.




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Last updated: November 17, 2011



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