The Deep Sleep of Adam and Abram in the Book of Jubilees

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In his article on instances of "deep sleep" (Gen 2:21 and 15:12) in the Hebrew Bible and their reception in the book of Jubilees, Topias Tanskanen traces different interpretations of the term as reflected in varying translation choices. While in the Ethiopic Jubilees' rendition of Gen 2:21, "deep sleep" is translated with the respective word for "sleep, slumber," underlining the passivity of Adam vis-à-vis God's sovereign action, in Gen 15:12 the same Hebrew term is rendered with a Ge'ez term signifying a tumultuous state of mind, involving fear and terror, rendering someone unable to act. This suggest at least some kind of conscious participation of Abraham in the act of covenant-making in Jubilees' rendition of the narrative. The article also opens up and discusses the issues of retroversion from Ge'ez and/or Latin to the reconstructed Hebrew of Jubilees by taking "deep sleep" as a case study.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Abnormalities in Biblical Figures
EditorsGuido Baltes, Lukas Bormann, Martin Meiser
Place of PublicationÅbo
PublisherNetwork for the Study of the Reception History of the Bible, Åbo Akademi University (Distribution: Eisenbrauns - Pennsylvania State University Press)
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-952-12-4243-4
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventUnderstanding Abnormalities in Biblical Figures - Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marburg, Germany
Duration: 8 Oct 20209 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameStudies in the Reception History of the Bible
PublisherNetwork for the Study of the Reception History of the Bible
ISSN (Print)2342-5741


ConferenceUnderstanding Abnormalities in Biblical Figures


  • Jubilees
  • Abram
  • Abraham
  • Adam
  • ecstasy
  • reception history
  • semitic
  • hebrew
  • ge'ez
  • classical ethiopic


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