The Twelve Tribes

Bruce Gardner b.gardner at
Sun Feb 4 16:04:40 EST 2001

By the way, does anyone know what the twelve tribes were in the Hebrew 
Bible and in the New Testament? This is a serious question. There is an 
ambiguity caused by the inclusion or exclusion, respectively, of Joseph's 
sons, Levi and Dan. The history of Dan is particularly interesting and the 
fate of the tribe in the list in Revelation 7 may be linked to the 
parallelism with Judas in the disciples which led to a church tradition 
that Judas was originally descnded from Dan. In considering this, 
replacement of Judas by Mattathias and the conversion of Saul (Acts 1, 9) 
creates another tension where an Old Testament idea develops within the New.

It may be the tribes actually existed, or that they were simply districts 
personified, or it may also be they are cyphers for something else. Or, 
indeed, they may be a mixture of the above.

Bruce Gardner.
Dr Bruce Gardner,
Divinity and Religious Studies
University of Aberdeen
Scotland, UK
AB24 3UB.

Bruce Gardner
b.gardner at

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