Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Some more observations on Genesis 1-3

I am hoping to do a proper study on Genesis later this year for all sorts of reasons (do I need a reason?) but had a few thoughts last night while reading and this is a good place to drop them down, till later. 

So two very different creation narratives put next to each other and of course it is often observed that things happen in the opposite order.  In the first one the order of creation is plants, animals, humans.  In the second it is man, plants, animals, woman.  By wodging (a technical term!) the two narratives together two things happen. 

  1. A chiasm of sorts is created around the Sabbath which is bookended on either side by the creation of man.  Could this be significant?
  2. In the first story creation is completed by the creation of humanity, both male and female, but in the second creation is only completed by the creation of woman.  Both stories place the creation of a whole humanity (both genders) as the telos of creation.  What is the compound effect of these two narratives with such high anthropologies?


The other point is that last time I made some observations on Genesis ETB suggested that the serpent might have been a winged beast rather than a legged one.  But that seems contrary to the text's designation of the serpent as a חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה (beast of the field, 3:1) as opposed to a כָּל־עֹוף הַשָּׁמַיִם (bird of the air, cf. 2:19).  So the old saw about the snake 'not having a leg to stand on', still stands, if you catch my drift. :-)

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