Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Genesis 32-33: Moving Day (and Night)

Recently,I've had to move my office for the tenth time in as many years, and I'm appalled by the sheer amount of junk I've acquired here at the office. I'm guessing that Jacob could relate to my problem, but on a far vaster scale.

Much of this book so far has been concerned with three categories of property of great concern to those who would someday be considered patriarchs: real property and the demarcation thereof, personal portable property (e.g. goats, ewes, rams, camels, kine, bulls, asses, foals and such like) and dependents (wives, concubines, children, and servants). If you took out from this book the descriptions of whom had acquired which of these possessions, and when and how, you could readily render the entire book down to pamphlet form. In these two chapters, we see Jacob moving all of his people and all of his stuff from one place to another, along with a couple incidental scenes of human and theological interest.

We find out that "Israel" is the ancient forebear of the modern term "wrassle" which is still in contemporary usage today in towns such as Stillwater, OK. In any event, you just have to love a people who denominate themselves as "wrestling with god" because it sounds so damned ambitious, and might allow for reinterpretation and humanistic reasoning some millennia thereafter. Incidentally, the reconciliation of the brothers Jacob and Esau is one of the most moving and realistic scenes so far, and was only slightly spoiled by the relentless focus by the narrator on the various forms of property listed above.

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