Endangered Ancestress Revisited: Sarah’s Miraculous Motherhood and the Restoration of Eden

Michael Carden


This article examines the ‘endangered ancestress’ theme in Genesis, in which the matriarchs, Sarah and Rebecca, are passed off to alien rulers as the sisters of their respective husbands, in Sarah’s case twice. Rather than viewing these incidents as clumsy duplication, the paper reads them as a literary device in a continuous narrative. The paper argues that when read in this way, these incidents serve to underline the singular status of Sarah in contrast to Rebecca and subsequent matriarchs. Sarah is shown to be the unique foremother of Israel. Alone of all her sex, she represents a pristine new beginning, analogous to human beginnings in Eden.


Sarah; Eden; queer; mother

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391