An Unnoticed Jacob-Esau Allusion in Acts

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Abstract

A suggestion is made about a possible but hitherto unnoticed Jacob–Esau allusion in the Petrine vision of Acts 10. This not only fits well with the dense scriptural intertexture already observed for the passage but may further illuminate the tense issues involved, both in the impending Cornelius visit and in the related Acts 15 conference. Besides offering a close match to Acts 10:13 in the fateful meal invitation of Gen 27:19, the Jacob–Esau story was not only widely used in relation to the Jew–gentile divide but also displays a strong connection to food and the capture and slaughter of animals. Jewish traditions about the source of Esau’s power over “all the beasts of the field and birds of the air” may lie behind the otherwise curious image in the vision. The story’s brooding sense of conflict and deception and the vulnerability of the ailing Isaac, whose persona Peter is invited to assume, all contribute to the destabilisation the vision seeks to achieve.
Original languageEnglish
Article number434
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalReligions
Volume13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2022

Keywords

  • biblical studies
  • intertextuality
  • dreams and visions
  • Jew–gentile divide

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