Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Leah and Rachel, Joseph and his brothers: stories and afterlives of biblical siblings

Course Dates: 30/05/20
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street

The course examines some of the literature which stemmed from well-known biblical stories of siblings, and considers how and why communities continued to engage with and rewrite biblical stories.


What is the course about?

This study day will examine clusters of biblical stories from the book of Genesis focusing on the relationships between siblings. We will look at the reception of these stories in Jewish and Christian communities. Each story will focus on a specific aspect, the problem of sibling jealousy and competition being the most obvious one. The case of Rachel and Leah is more complex as they are both sisters and co-wives. We will use a diversity of tools from biblical scholarship to analyse and assess these stories and understand why they have been so popular.

What will we cover?

• Cain and Abel
• Leah and Rachel
• Jacob and Esau
• Joseph and his brothers.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

· Analyse biblical stories relating to three sets of texts focused on famous sets of siblings.
· begin to use some of the tools used from biblical scholarship, in particular the reception of biblical texts.
· Appreciate the literary impact outside the Bible of some biblical texts about siblings.
· Understand the factors at work in the transformation of these stories in various literary works.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Anyone is welcome, although some knowledge of the Bible is desirable, but not essential. More importantly an openness of mind and a willingness to engage with a variety of views is required.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will use look at the stories in their original setting, and will be organised around group discussions and illustrated lectures.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There is no extra cost. Please bring a copy of the Bible.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please see our wibsite at for full details about religion and belief courses at City Lit.

Tutor Biographies
Ann Jeffers

Dr Ann Jeffers taught Biblical Studies (Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism) at Trinity College Dublin and Heythrop College, University of London for 30 years. She is now Research Fellow at Roehampton University. Her research interests, and publications are in the field of magic and divination in the Bible and the ancient world, feminism and reception history of the Bible mostly in literature and the visual arts. She also belongs to an interdisciplinary research group, ‘Media and Religion’.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HRS37

Sat, day, 30 May - 30 May '20

Duration: 1 session

Full fee: £59.00
Senior fee: £47.00
Concession: £30.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.