The Catholic University of America

Doctoral Defense: Dr. Garrett Galvin, O.F.M.

Committee in Charge

Chair: Msgr. Thomas J. Green, J.C.D.

Secretary: Raymond Studzinski, O.S.B., Ph.D.

Director: Christopher Begg, S.T.D., Ph.D.

Reader: Joseph Jensen, O.S.B., S.T.D.

Reader: Robert D. Miller II, Ph.D.

Summary of Coursework:

Readings in Biblical Hebrew Spirituality of the Psalms

Biblical Hebrew Prose I Middle Egyptian

Intermediate Biblical Greek Biblical Hebrew Prose II

Middle Egyptian Intermediate French I

Reading for Comprehension Advanced Biblical Greek II

History of Pharaonic Egypt I Biblical Hebrew Poetry I

Syriac Literature Middle Egyptian

Biblical Hebrew Poetry II History of Pharaonic Egypt I

Genesis I - XI Israel & Judah in Iron Age

Egypt II Exodus Trad in Heb Bible

Wisdom of Ben Sira Acts of the Apostles


Egypt as a Place of Refuge in the Old Testament

Garrett Galvin, O.F.M.

Director: Christopher Begg, S.T.D., Ph.D

Egypt plays a unique role in the history of Israel. The Old Testament often presents it as a place of bondage, but the picture is not monolithic. Upon closer examination, we find many biblical figures fleeing to Egypt as a place of refuge. Although a number of articles have examined this aspect of the Old Testament's image of Egypt, my dissertation will be the first full-length monograph to look at Egypt as a place of refuge in the Old Testament. I examine biblical texts from a number of different time periods (1 Kgs 11:14-12:24; Jeremiah 46; Matt 2:13-15, 19-21) in order to highlight the importance of literary genre for understanding the phenomenon of Egypt as a place of refuge in the Old Testament. My interdisciplinary methodology of textual criticism, literary criticism, and historical criticism brings to light both the importance of literary genre for our historical understanding (or lack thereof) of the early monarchy, fall of Jerusalem, and the Hasmonean Period.

My first chapter examines the history of refuge in the Ancient Near East and the relationship between Israel and Egypt through a review of previous scholarship. Chapter two begins by examining the semantic field of "refuge," distinguishing this from concepts of "permanent exile," "diaspora," and "criminal asylum." I then explore the topos of refuge in the literature of the Ancient Near East, and more specifically in the Old Testament. Chapters 3-4 focus on two figures especially connected with refuge: Jeroboam and Jeremiah. Finally, Ch. 5 examines the postexilic/Second Temple Period in which we find both widespread flight to Egypt and the depiction of Egypt as a place of refuge in the New Testament.

My study of Egypt as a place of refuge demonstrates the importance of genre for a better understanding of the Old Testament, via its examination of the broad sweep of history through literary, historical, and textual criticism and close readings of selected texts. We find that Egypt plays an important role as a refuge throughout the history of Israel. While this role is explicit at times, it is often implicit in the literary structures used. The reality of refuge-seeking in Egypt often contrasts with the Old Testament's authors denunciations of Egypt as a "house of bondage" thereby producing heightened rhetoric.