"The Expulsion of Ishmael Narrative – Boundaries, Structure, and Meaning"

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


cholars generally draw a distinction between the story of Ishmael's expulsion in 21:7 (or 8) and the first verses of the chapter, which tell of Isaac's birth (21:2-6 or 7). This division is also related to the accepted notion that Isaac's birth account is attributed to P, while the story of Ishmael's expulsion is considered a non-P source. As a result, few have discussed the overall structure of the chapter. My lecture will propose that chapter 21 in its entirety should be considered a single literary unit (regardless if it is the result of creative redaction or the story in its original form) of a chiastic structure, which generates thematic and linguistic contrast between Isaac's entrance into Abraham's household, and Ishmael's dismissal from it. In light of the narrative's structure, the significance of the double rejection Ishmael experiences will also emerge - for he is first rejected by his father (21:14), and then by his mother (21:15). The doubly abandoned figure is "gathered" anew through the blessing of God, who opens Hagar's eyes (21:19), and thus the narrative can be read as the story of Ishmael's rebirth, one that occurs outside Abraham's household. I will present the story's structure as a springboard for its objectives and its place within the Abraham Cycle.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2018
EventSBL - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 6 Jul 201410 Jul 2014




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  • SBL

    Yonatan Grossman (Participation - Conference participant)

    1 Jan 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organizing an eventOrganizing a conference, workshop, ...

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