Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Summary: Genesis 19

A brief (and rough) summary of some key elements of last week’s (ongoing) discussion:

1. Abrahams’ exemplary hospitality is an essential element of his fidelity to God.

2. It is crucial to distinguish Abraham’s “true” hospitality from Lot’s “false” hospitality.

2.1. Genesis 18-19 exhibits three types of hospitality figured in the Sodomites, Lot, and Abraham.

2.1.1. The Sodomites’ actions manifest a lack of hospitality.

2.1.2. Lot’s actions manifest a misguided sense of hospitality.

2.1.3. Abraham’s actions manifest a perfect hospitality. Lot’s hospitality is misguided in that it remains mired in an excessive economy of demand, satisfaction, and retribution. Abraham’s hospitality is perfect in that it exceeds and breaks with the economic bind of demand and satisfaction for the sake of an unconditional fidelity. (We will see Abraham sacrifice to God the very satisfaction God promised Abraham: a son.)

3. That Lot’s daughters violate the incest ban can be read as a culmination of the social dissolution manifest in the utter destruction of “urban” society.

3.1. The chapter appears to offer a thorough-going critique of urban existence per se. What are the implications for politics? Must we be, in some sense, nomads like Abraham? But what, then, of the promised city of Zion?

4. What should be made of the significant JST changes to the chapter?


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