An Ark on the Nile: Beginning of the Book of Exodus

ISBN : 9780198784074

Keith Bodner
208 Pages
135 x 216 mm
Pub date
Jul 2016
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The opening sector of the book of Exodus is a powerful narrative and a striking example of the artistic qualities of the Pentateuch, a facet of the text that occasionally is neglected in high-level scholarship. Exodus 1-2 is finely choreographed work that compresses a vast amount of material onto a limited textual canvas, creating a story that appeals to readers of every age. Resuming where the book of Genesis leaves off-the last image of Genesis 50 is a coffin in Egypt, primed for a sequel-the first two chapters of Exodus combine a fast-moving plot with some unique shades of characterization: Israel's growth in Egypt, the rise of a malevolent new king, the birth of a hero and early experiences of adversity for the main character in the story to come. The burden of slavery and miracle of salvation are introduced in this sector of text, and become paradigmatic examples of divine redemption that reverberate throughout the Hebrew Bible and beyond. An Ark on the Nile: The Beginning of the Book of Exodus is a close-reading of Exodus 1-2 that analyzes the story as a reasonably self-contained unit, but suggesting that major plot movements in the book of Exodus are foreshadowed and anticipated here. Applying a number of insights from literary theory, Keith Bodner offers an illustration of further integration of biblical studies with cross-disciplinary narrative interpretation.


1 Images of Egypt in Genesis
2 Old promise, New King
3 Pharaoh s Midwife Crisis
4 The Water of Chaos
5 Criminal Charges
6 The Stranger in Midian
7 Exodus 1-2 and the Soujourn of Israel

About the author: 

Keith Bodner is Professor of Religious Studies at Crandall University in New Brunswick, after teaching for a number of years at Tyndale University College & Seminary in Toronto. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, and is a former section chair (Bakhtin and the Biblical Imagination) for the Society of Biblical Literature. His 2008 book 1 Samuel: A Narrative Commentary (Sheffield Phoenix Press) was awarded the R. B. Y. Scott Award from the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, and his recent books include Jeroboam's Royal Drama (2012) and Elisha's Profile in the Book of Kings: The Double Agent (2013), and After the Invasion: A Reading of Jeremiah 40-44 (OUP, 2015).

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