Motif of Generational Change in the Old Testament. A Literary and Lexicological Study

Author: Mollo, Paola
This pioneering study opens the way for new developments in the field of biblical history writing – e.g. the study of the formation process of this and others through patterns and literary tòpoi within biblical narrative. The contribution this book makes is the investigation of the DOR and the theme of generational change as narrative tools playing an important role in biblical history writing.


“Paola Mollo offers some interesting reflections on historical responsibility. In the early period of Israel’s history down until the time of Judges, the collective responsibility of the people is most frequently enhanced, whereas the Books of Samuel and Kings will underlie the individual responsibility of the kings. This would explain why the word dôr (“generation”) disappears from the texts after the Book of Judges.”
-Jean Louis Ska,
Professor of Old Testament Exegesis,
Pontifical Biblical Institute – Rome

“This book is characterized by awareness of the practical and theoretical challenges posed by the field of study and characterized also by clarity of expression and of thought…it is the outcome of persistent, creative and meticulous work.”
- Pier Giorgio Borbone,
Professor of Syriac,
University of Pisa

“This book contributes to scholarship in that it creates and describes a new notion within Biblical Studies, the theme of generational change, paving the way for further research studies and discussion within the flourishing field of Biblical historiography and history writing. Dr. Mollo’s work offers a new and intriguing interpretation of several biblical narratives from the Book of Genesis to Judges, reading them in relation with the theme of generational change which is shared to varying degrees by all.”
-Corrado Martone,
Associate Professor Hebrew,
University of Turin

Table of Contents

Foreword: J.L. Ska
Chapter One: Background, Literature and Research Approach

1.1 Histories: existing case studies using the comparative approach
1.2 The history of ancient Israel and the concept of “Literary construction
1.3 Concentrating on the way biblical historiographers presented the past
Chapter Two: Research Question and Methodology
2.1 Generational change versus Genealogy: constructing a new notion in The field of biblical studies
2.2 Defining historical construct and utterance
2.3 Defining
2.4 The theme of generational change as a historiographic tòpos
2.5 The theme of generational change as a literary tòpos
Chapter Three: Accounts of Generational Change in the Old Testament
3.1 Presentation
3.2 The Flood
3.3 The seed of Abraham (and the fourth dôr)
3.4 And Joseph died,br> 3.5 In the Wilderness
3.6 The Witness
3.7 And Joshua died
Chapter Four: Conceptual Constructs, Utterances and Deviations
4.1 A moment to consider what we have learned so far and where we are Going
4.2 A bi-directional historiographical tool
4.3 Conceptual constructs of the two paradigms of generational change
4.4 Concepts and related utterances
4.5 A focus on the common concepts and related utterances: “group of people/generation” and “death”
4.6 Repetition of stereotyped utterances and repetition of conceptual patterns
4.7 Literary reworking: the case of the accounts of potential generational Change
Chapter Five: Outcomes, Perspectives and Final Considerations
5.1 “Ontological nature”: what we have discovered and how
5.2 “Process”: ideas for future investigation on the motif’s literary history
5.3 Responsibility of the people and responsibility of the king: final Considerations
Index of Subjects