cover of book

Encounters in the Dark: Identity Formation in the Jacob Story
by Noel Forlini Burt
SBL Press, 2020
Cloth: 978-0-88414-459-5 | eISBN: 978-0-88414-460-1 | Paper: 978-1-62837-284-7
Library of Congress Classification BS580.J3
Dewey Decimal Classification 222.11092


An interdisciplinary study of a familiar patriarchal narrative

Encounters in the Dark: Identity Formation in the Jacob Story traces the many moments of darkness in the life of Jacob. From the darkness of his mother's womb, to the darkness Jacob uses to deceive his father and his brother, to the night he sleeps on the ground with just a stone for a pillow at Bethel, and to the triumphant scene of wrestling God by the Jabbok River, the biblical story frequently situates Jacob in the darkness. Through an exploration of key moments in Jacob's story, Noel Forlini Burt follows Jacob's journey from home to exile and back home again. His story symbolizes the larger story of Israel's own wrestling with God in the darkness of exile and return.


  • An exploration of the poetics and rhetoric of the Jacob story

  • An examination of characterization in its ancient and modern contexts

  • An analysis of individual and collective identity
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