The Ladder of Jacob: Ancient Interpretations of the Biblical Story of Jacob and His Children

By James L. Kugel | Go to book overview

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I wish to express my thanks to my editor at Princeton University Press, Fred Appel, for his help in making this book a reality. Thanks as well to Deborah Tegarden and Vicky Wilson-Schwartz for their editing skills, and to my literary agent, Ellen Geiger. A number of the chapters of the present book have been preceded by articles published in various journals, and I am grateful to those journals for permission to use parts of the articles here. It may be helpful for readers if I mention here the names of the articles and how the present treatment is different from the original.

Most of chapter 2, “The Ladder of Jacob,” is altogether new, but the section dealing with the Slavonic text “The Ladder of Jacob” is based in part on an article of mine by the same name, published in the HTR 88 (1995): 209–27. I should note that I have translated more of the Slavonic text than appeared in that article and have proposed some new readings as well—in particular, an interpretation of that text's reference to a strange deity named Falkonagargail.

Chapter 3, “The Rape of Dinah, and Simeon and Levi's Revenge,” and chapter 4, “Reuben's Sin with Bilhah,” appear here in essentially the same form as two earlier articles, “The Story of Dinah in the Testament of Levi,” HTR 85 (1992): 1–34, and “Reuben's Sin with Bilhah in the Testament of Reuben,” in David P. Wright et al., Pomegranates and Golden Bells: Studies in Honor of Jacob Milgrom (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1995), 525–54. I have, however, added a brief section, “The Question of Intermarriage,” to the first of these articles; I have also modified both articles to fit the present format and updated the footnotes.

Much of chapter 5, “How Levi Came to Be a Priest,” is new, although the first half of it incorporates some parts of an earlier

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