BABEL to AVRAM
Monday June 18:
After repeated exile stories, here is an immigrant tale: Avram, Sarai and Lot migrate from Egypt up through the Negev, to arrive at Beth-el. There Avram and Lot split up, an etiological legend of how one set of cousins ends up in the east plain and Transjordan, and the other in hill countries.
Take a moment to find this on a map – we’ll visit this turf repeatedly before this book is over! This occupation is less warlike than the Joshua tales to follow, and based on a choice not to overburden the land, let alone displace the people already in the land. Lot’s peoples are judged, while Avram receives a development of chapter 12’s promise, land added to offspring blessings, settling by Mamre in Hebron.
From the past 2 weeks of creation myths and universal assertions of common humanity. We have moved to legends, sagas and epic stories about particular peoples in recognizable geographic regions. ‘Etiological’ legends are stories that explain how a place got its name, and we’re in the old folk stories now.
Did we come from Egypt, or from Iraq and Iran? Yes. Both.
These stories bind a people gathered from many places, in several waves, over centuries, into one people with a common story. Can you see how Canadians are retelling our story in this century, differently than in the last one, or in the 18th century facing a revolution to the south, or a 19th century facing a civil war and expansionary republic to the south? How did 20th century immigration change us, and how do we retell our story to include Asian and African immigration – and also First Nations voices?