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(p.275) Peniel
University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the Hebrew Bible, more specifically on what many consider the two most decisive battles in the perpetual war between the Lord and his subjects. The first story is about Jacob's deceit, escape, and wrestling; the second is about Job's struggle for the right to be right. In both cases the disputes center on the exact drawing of the boundaries between the Territory of the Humans, on the one hand, and the two modes of the utterly different, on the other. There are close parallels between the book's conception of the human territory and Karl Marx's conception of the commodity, for in both cases there is a braiding of reification and deification, fetishism and alienation. This chapter also comments on the word “Peniel” in Genesis; it means “the face of God,” at the same time a proper name and a definite description.

Keywords:   Hebrew Bible, Jacob, Job, boundaries, human territory, Karl Marx, commodity, Peniel, Genesis

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