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Medieval Exegesis and Religious DifferenceCommentary, Conflict, and Community in the Premodern Mediterranean$
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Ryan Szpiech

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264629

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264629.001.0001

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Sons of God, Daughters of Man, and the Formation of Human Society in Nahmanides’s Exegesis

Sons of God, Daughters of Man, and the Formation of Human Society in Nahmanides’s Exegesis

Chapter:
(p.171) 11 Sons of God, Daughters of Man, and the Formation of Human Society in Nahmanides’s Exegesis
Source:
Medieval Exegesis and Religious Difference
Author(s):

Nina Caputo

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823264629.003.0011

This chapter considers the exegesis by thirteenth-century Catalan rabbi Moses ben Nahman (Nahmanides) of the charged scriptural verses at Genesis 6:1–4 (describing the coupling of the “sons of God” with the “daughters of men”). it shows how Nahmanides diverged from both Jewish and Christian interpretations by affirming that the “sons of God” were to be understood literally. Similarly, his unconventional interpretation of this gendered image from Genesis was a means of addressing a cardinal point of divergence in Jewish-Christian polemical disputation, viz. the character of antediluvian humans and the nature and effects of human sin. Caputo’s discussion unites the historical discussion of Jewish-Christian polemical disputation in the late thirteenth century with a broader thematic analysis of the place of gender in exegetical interpretations of identity and individual difference.

Keywords:   Nahmanides, Jewish Biblical exegesis, Genesis 6:1–4, Sons of God, Daughters of Men, Jewish-Christian encounter

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