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"My Brother Esau Is a Hairy Man" – Hair and Identity in Ancient Israel - Oxford Scholarship Online
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"My Brother Esau Is a Hairy Man": Hair and Identity in Ancient Israel

Susan Niditch


The story of Jacob and Esau is told in the book of Genesis. With his mother's help, Jacob impersonates his hairy older twin by dressing in Esau's clothes and covering his own hands and the nape of his neck with the hairy hide of goats. Fooled by this ruse, their blind father, Isaac, is tricked into giving the younger son the blessing of the firstborn. This is only one of many biblical stories in which hair plays a pivotal role. In recent years, there has been an explosion of scholarly interest in the relationship between culture and the body. Hair plays an integral role in the way we represent ... More

Keywords: Jacob, Esau, Israelite culture, hair, Samuel, long hair, hair cutting

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780195181142
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181142.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Susan Niditch, author
Samuel Green Professor of Religion, Amherst College
Author Webpage