Seeing and Being Seen at the Margins: Insight into God from the Wilderness

By Luke Hillier, ’15

Introduction: “She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar.” (Gen. 16:1)

Throughout the history of the Jewish and Christian religious traditions, Hagar has been a character in the biblical story who has often gone unnoticed and overlooked. Her story, which takes place only in the sixteenth and twenty-first chapters of Genesis, is one that easily falls into obscurity, overshadowed by the ongoing narrative of Abraham and Sarah which is emphasized by the narrator and the faith traditions at large. In fact, the majority of the commentary regarding the account, which deals with the decision to use Hagar as a surrogate mother in order to ensure that Yahweh’s promise to Abraham is fulfilled, does not even take Hagar’s perspective into consideration, focusing instead on what the experience meant for Abraham and Sarah and what the theological implications of it are.

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