The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

A Magic Dwells in Each Beginning: On the Genre and Function of 1 Chronicles 1:1–4

Thomas Hieke describes the opening verses of Chronicles as a list of names which functions as a genealogy. This function is not built on the text in Chronicles but depends on reading these verses together with genealogies in Genesis. This paper describes briefly some aspects of this reading strategy for 1Chr 1,1-4 and 1,24-27 and ties it to other passages in Chronicles which assume the reader’s familiarity with other texts and traditions of the Hebrew Bible. This reading strategy sheds some (additional) light on themes in Chronicles like the importance of David, the role of the Levites or the retribution principle and requires a reflection on its hermeneutical and theological implications. In particular, the relationship of Chronicles to other texts and traditions of the Hebrew Bible deserves some discussion. This reading strategy suggests that Chronicles cannot be reduced to supplement some material to Kings or Genesis or to an attempt to replace texts and traditions. Rather, it ties itself and its particular emphases and perspectives to an existing network of texts, emphasizes the continuation of the divine story with the people and their responsibility in their post-exilic existence without a king and without the divine presence in the second temple.