The Jacob Stories
The Wrestling at the Jabbok hypertext has
been created as part of a Master's degree course on The Bible and Electronic
Media. It is designed to be used by undergraduate level students in Biblical
Studies. Such students would be in the process of developing critical
skills, and would have begun to develop tools and background knowledge
for reading the Bible. This resource would be useful for students researching
this particular biblical text, as well as those beginning to explore issues
of hermeneutics, and the way in which assumptions and questions determine
interpretive decisions and results. Such students would have a relatively
high level of interest and commitment, so although the contents of this
hypertext have been written for screen, they have not been simplified
as much as might be appropriate for a website written for a general audience.
The project is intended to demonstrate some of the possibilities that
hypertext media can offer biblical interpretation, in contrast to some
of the limitations of print media.
With this in mind, the website has been shaped by a number of guiding
- The initial idea is to offer two primary sets of paths that interconnect
and illuminate each other.
- Each side offers multiple interpretations from multiple angles - one
begins in traditional fashion by examining the text in its historical
and literary context; the other proceeds from a more intuitive question
regarding the identity of the 'man'.
- As well as conveying a large amount of content about this particular
text, the arrangement of the material is intended to facilitate the
undergraduate student's growing familiarity with the conventions, methods,
and hermeneutical issues of biblical studies.
- The dual approach of the Home page, and particularly
the question marks, is intended to connect with ideas of the known versus
the unknown, and to convey a sense of mystery, rather than a set format.
- The selection of interpretations of the identity of the man, and the
way in which they connect to each other in a somewhat circular manner,
is intended to give a sense of the impossibility of final interpretation
in biblical studies.
- Some secondary material selected is older than might often be encouraged
in undergraduate biblical studies (such as Gunkel and Skinner), which
has been done deliberately in order to introduce the student to the
notion that interpretive models and assumptions change and develop over
- The hyperlinks make organic, meaningful connections between the different
aspects of the interpretive material, rather than a list or smorgasbord
approach - the sense is intended to be of a meaningful web rather than
a jar of random bits.
- Similarly, the selection of secondary literature is deliberately eclectic,
and is utilized in a manner intended to facilitate exploration and making
connections, rather than in a hierarchical or prescriptive fashion.
- At the same time, navigation tools have been designed to allow the
user to easily orient themselves in the site.
- The image of wrestling is intended to encourage wrestling with the
text, with its interpreters, with God and with ourselves.
It is hoped that overall these features will lead to a more vital integration
of content and presentation.