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Old Testament Essays

versión On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versión impresa ISSN 1010-9919


SNYMAN, Gerrie F.. Cain and Vulnerability: The Reception of Cain in Genesis Rabbah 22 and Targum Onkelos, Targum Neofiti and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan. Old testam. essays [online]. 2016, vol.29, n.3, pp.601-632. ISSN 2312-3621.

This essay enquires into the reception of the story of Cain and Abel (Gen 4) in late ancient Judaism (Genesis Rabbah, Targum Onkelos, Targum Neofiti, and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan) with regard to the way Cain is portrayed differently from how he is depicted in the Hebrew text. The perspective from which his portrayal in the Jewish literature of late antiquity will be viewed is that of vulnerability or fragility, asking the question whether the reception of Cain in Jewish antiquity allow for such vulnerability in the interpretation of the story, or does he remain a villainous character who refused to be redeemed. The question of the redemption of Cain is formulated within a her-meneutic of vulnerability as a framework to deal with the perpetration of apartheid. The following aspects of the story are discussed: the birth of Cain, his occupation, the sacrifice, Cain's reaction to the sacrifice, the deity's questioning of Cain, the conversation in the field, the murder, the blood of Abel, Cain's curse, his response, and his punishment. The study concludes that although the reception portrays Cain as a villain par excellence, there are aspects in the representations that provide glimpses of redemption for Cain, implying a particular vulnerability.

Palabras clave : Cain; Abel; hermeneutic of vulnerability; villain; Targums; Genesis Rabbah; Abel's blood; Cain's punishment; villain.

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