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Daily Life of the Patriarchs

The Way It Was

Shaul Bar

While the literature of the ancient Near East portrays legendary heroes, this is not the case with the biblical narrative, which portrays the patriarchs and matriarchs as fallible human beings. Their story is a multigenerational one of family and the dynamics that exist within. Reading these stories is like hearing the echo of family feuds, which is what makes them timeless.
Were the patriarchs real people? Or can we say that many details in the Book of Genesis are fictions that project later romantic ideals of life and faith? To answer these questions the author examines the patriarchs’ daily life, beliefs, and customs to provide provocative and useful insights into the life of the Patriarchs.
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To start with, I would like to thank my two readers who read an early draft of the manuscript and offered many perceptive comments and insight. Bob Turner, Circulation Librarian at the Harding School of Theology, who made many suggestions and offered his wisdom. Anna S. Chernak who read the manuscript and offered valuable advice and continuous encouragement. I am grateful as well to Shoshana Cenker who read the final draft of the manuscript and to Tiffany France who worked on the footnotes and bibliography.

I want to express appreciation for the resources and to the staff of the Harding School of Theology in Memphis, where Librarian Don Meredith led me to the materials, Associate Librarian Sheila Owen helped me with research, and Evelyn Meredith supported my research with abundant cheer.

Special thanks to Hebrew Union College Library in New York City, where Head Librarian Yoram Bitton provided me with all the necessary help, wisdom, as well as friendship, and Librarians Tina Weiss and Leonid Gontar helped with my research.

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