Journals Higher Education



Published: 09 April 1998

480 Pages | 6 line illus.

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195109658

Also Available As:


Bookseller Code (04)


The Names of God

Poetic Readings in Biblical Beginnings

Herbert Chanan Brichto

In this book, Brichto argues for the aesthetic and ideological wholeness of the Hebrew Bible. He uses the methods of contemporary literary criticism to examine one of the greatest inconsistencies within the Book of Genesis, the alternating use of Yahweh (the Lord) and Elohim (God) as names for the Deity. Often cited as the proof of multiple authorship, Brichto shows, instead, that this "inconsistency" serves as a device for a single author, using the specific name that is appropriate to each specific story. Brichto then proceeds to overturn other multiple-author proofs, including variations in genealogies, eponyms, and chronologies. He shows that their variety, ingenuity, and imaginative whimsy serve a vital poetic function in the structure of the text as a whole. Finding a unity in this diversity of genres, styles, and devices, Brichto solidifies his thesis of single authorship.