The Promises to the Fathers: Studies on the Patriarchal Narratives

TitleThe Promises to the Fathers: Studies on the Patriarchal Narratives
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1980
AuthorsWestermann, Claus, and David E. Green
Number of Pages208
PublisherFortress Press

Hailed upon its publication in English as "the first important form-critical work on the narratives of Genesis since Gunkel" (Journal of Biblical Literature), Claus Westermann's The Promises to the Fathersturns attention to the promise narratives in Genesis to develop a systematic understanding of their nature and significance.

In addition to providing a concise history of investigation of the patriarchal promises during the twentieth century, Westermann advances the conversation here in three key ways. In part one, an early study delineates the types of narrative in Genesis by identifying three groups of texts: the Crime/Punishment narratives of Genesis 1-11, the Abrahamic cycle, and the Jacob/Esau cycle. Part two works from this foundation to reinvestigate the promissory motif, which Westermann describes as taking seven distinct forms. In the concluding section he deals with Ugaritic texts that shed new light on these promise narratives in Genesis.

Taken together, these essays are "examples of the thoroughness and exegetical insight which have characterized Westermann's work on Genesis" (Catholic Biblical Quarterly) throughout his distinguished career. Presented once again in a single volume, they are sure to endure as a standard reference in the field.