A Bayesian Blessing: A Biblical Decision Explained by Game Theory

Dodell, Leah

Harvard University

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This paper revisits one of the most debated tales from the Old Testament, Jacob’s deception of his father Isaac, and models it in the framework of a Bayesian game. Solving for the equilibrium that occurs in the Torah reveals what conditions must hold for biblical characters to be willing to make the decisions that they make. The paper also examines how the protagonists’ decisions would have changed if they had held different values. The analysis sheds light on which interpretations of the biblical story hold the most weight when its characters maintain consistent beliefs and act upon them in a sequentially rational manner.


Journal Decyzje 
Issue 30 
Issue date 2018 
Type Article 
Language en
Pagination 53-62
DOI 10.7206/DEC.1733-0092.113
ISSN 1733-0092
eISSN 2391-761X