'Out of All Nations they shall Bring All your Brethren': The Rise of Brotherhood in the Bible

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Abstract

In biblical texts, brotherhood is always connected to life in the Promised Land. If the positive relation between brothers is lost, death looms. Genesis conveys this message by using groups of brothers within the in-group. All these groups (Cain and Abel; Shem, Ham, and Japheth; Abraham and Lot; Jacob and Esau; Joseph and his brothers) consist of relations which are complicated and full of tension. New Testament texts continue the problematic aspects of brotherhood, as can be seen in Matthews and Acts, describing the relations between Jesus’ disciples and the relation within the ekklesia. In prophetic texts, however, the idea of brotherhood is also used to describe the relation towards the nations. Especially Isaiah makes clear that the Lord’s salvation for his people has become accessible to the world of the nations as well. New Testament texts, as in Matthews and Acts, too, continue this theological idea towards the nations. Nevertheless, the ideal brotherhood is still ‘work in progress’. The realization of brotherhood is beyond the texts of both the Old and New Testament.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-127
Number of pages19
JournalET-Studies - Journal of the European Society for Catholic Theology
Volume10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Keywords

  • brotherhood
  • Bible
  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Genesis

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