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The Nature, Function, and Purpose of Old Testament Genealogies

Lucid Theology

900-158_Ahnentafel_Herzog_LudwigEvery student of the Bible at one point or another comes to certain portions of Scripture that create confusion, perhaps mixed with a tinge of boredom or imagined insignificance. One such portion is the genealogies found across the Old Testament.[1] This post will examine in cursory fashion a smattering of these genealogies, giving attention to some general considerations of their form, how they function in a text, and conclude with a brief word on the purpose they serve. In so doing, the reader will grasp the importance genealogies play in societies in general and that of the nation of Israel in particular. It is easy to assign one all-encompassing reason for the presence of genealogies in OT, but that would be reductionistic and ultimately unhelpful; genealogies are much more expansive and layered than most readers often assume.

I. The Nature of Genealogies

In a sentence, genealogies are a record of…

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