The genre of the opening chapters of Genesis.

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
Although I'm not wedded to this interpretation, I do think it's the most plausible based on intertextual evidence, other ancient texts, the mixed interpretation of the text over history, and scientific evidence of macroevolution, namely, that the creation account in Genesis is essentially historical myth. This does not mean that it's a lie or false: it presents deep truths about human nature, the divine, the created order and our relationship with God; however, I do think that it cannot be taken to be a literalistic account, or rather, an historical narrative in the sense that we mean history today.

Thoughts?
 

En Hakkore

Active member
Although I'm not wedded to this interpretation, I do think it's the most plausible based on intertextual evidence, other ancient texts, the mixed interpretation of the text over history, and scientific evidence of macroevolution, namely, that the creation account in Genesis is essentially historical myth. This does not mean that it's a lie or false: it presents deep truths about human nature, the divine, the created order and our relationship with God; however, I do think that it cannot be taken to be a literalistic account, or rather, an historical narrative in the sense that we mean history today.

Thoughts?
Genres are dynamic categories of classification, often overlapping with each other and relevant only insofar as particular communities find them useful. As such, fixing the genre of Genesis or some portion thereof (ie. the creation account) would prove an elusive task.

An alternative approach to the topic might be to explore how the genres of 'historical myth' and 'history' function for the different communities that apply them to the text of Genesis and what precipitates these choices.

Another avenue of exploration would be to ask about the utility of form-critical judgments about the constituent parts of these early chapters (narrative, poetry, genealogy, etc) and whether the ancient authors/compilers would recognize these categorizations within their own work.

Yet another approach would be to ask whether the ancient Israelites believed these stories took place as described, which is an entirely different question from whether the contemporary exegete thinks so. While the divine fiats of Genesis 1 are fragments of great antiquity -- they contain rare or obsolete grammatical forms (1:11, 24) and traces of polytheism (1:26) -- the surrounding material is noteworthy for what we might call demythologizing tendencies. For example, the Ogdoad associated with the watery chaos of the Egyptian creation myth at Hermopolis are stripped of deity and relegated to the raw materials with which the Israelite god fashions the world (1:2). There is no theogony or battle between the creator god and primordial beings as in the Enuma Elish, the sea monsters are instead the first created beings (1:21). The manner in which ancient Israelite authors/compilers reworked the appropriated Egyptian and Babylonian 'myths' is often overlooked and with it the possibility they were fashioning what they believed to be a literal account of the world's creation.

Anyway, a few thoughts for your and others' consideration... thanks for starting what will hopefully be a fruitful exploration of these issues.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

Gary Mac

Well-known member
Although I'm not wedded to this interpretation, I do think it's the most plausible based on intertextual evidence, other ancient texts, the mixed interpretation of the text over history, and scientific evidence of macroevolution, namely, that the creation account in Genesis is essentially historical myth. This does not mean that it's a lie or false: it presents deep truths about human nature, the divine, the created order and our relationship with God; however, I do think that it cannot be taken to be a literalistic account, or rather, an historical narrative in the sense that we mean history today.

Thoughts?
The bible is not a historical document it is a religious document.
 

e v e

Well-known member
Although I'm not wedded to this interpretation, I do think it's the most plausible based on intertextual evidence, other ancient texts, the mixed interpretation of the text over history, and scientific evidence of macroevolution, namely, that the creation account in Genesis is essentially historical myth. This does not mean that it's a lie or false: it presents deep truths about human nature, the divine, the created order and our relationship with God; however, I do think that it cannot be taken to be a literalistic account, or rather, an historical narrative in the sense that we mean history today.

Thoughts?
Thank you for your thoughts and starting the thread. Here is a first response.

I think that today the modern mindset can’t imagine the events of scripture as valid, simply because the context of the ancients has been lost, translations not taking into account many details.

Consider that to the ancients the term mythos is oral history and that while versions of events may differ, because of memory or intentional deception or bias, every culture, even those having no connection to each other, record certain events.

For example, the sumerian account of the conquest of tiamat, the similar account in rg-veda, the accounts in hieroglyphs of the same when read properly right to left, though a problem we see in budge’s translation is that they were not. This conquest of tiamat was the conquest of eden. And in hieroglyphs aapep (adam) is hated by that pantheon, and much gloating happens of the downfall of ‘those two’. prior to the fall, marduks apes crying for ‘bodies like those two’ (kar tablet 4) and also in pain because eden is lethal to them.

What we take as symbolic is not necessarily only symbolic...rather consider that we lack the context... they had. The modern mind fits all to its own point of view, based on what it can see, the mindset of the day, and reconstructs accordingly.

For example the plasma torus, an object of physics was once easily seen in the sky. ancients all over the world having no way to compare notes with each other and with no contact to each other, drew the same. To the modern mind that may be excused as something else, something imaginary, but this is an assumption. I’ve attached images here of that torus, drawn by ancients, and also of a world tree image I will comment on later.

Per hieroglyphs adam and eve were stripped of their eden aspects, the attributes of God given them, so thereby
the pantheon led by thoth (the same marduk and in rg veda agni) could acquire what they coveted in their jealousy of God. In the world tree image, the round disk is the realm of the gods of the hieroglyphs, the sekkt fields. They appear in scripture, in ezekiel. eden, is below there. We actually are dealing with cosmology, which was affected by the fall, since now eden was conquered. These were not fantasies the the hebrew people believed. The same cube described in rev as to be in the new creation is described in the book of enoch as eden which fell, situated below the sekkt fields and their city of Õn.

The torus in the case of scripture is tree of knowledge of good and evil, a reality of physics described by God in genesis. While there are symbolic archetypes visible, what was eaten of and touched was a realm, a different sort of reality belonging to God’s enemy. The same tree is visible here in the image of the world tree. the earth we know is not depicted, it would be in the far western branches of the large tree. The dome is just as plato describes in Phaedo dialogue. And indeed, the torus depicted by modern physics has that rounded donut like shape and dome, just as in the cave drawings. They drew what they saw and wrote of real events. Our burden is to understand them and take ancients seriously. The travesty is to be careless and simply glue modern suppositions to them. Or worse view the ancients as simpletons.

Translators lacking context and encountering strange constructs can then make assumptions that render ancients texts as imaginary, purely symbolic, non-historical or just ‘unimportant history no longer crucial to us today.’ Which is the furthest thing from the truth. exegetical methods have also rendered scripture into a series of texts having only textual value as ancient writing but forgetting God gave these words to men. A problem with scripture once being written down was that this left His words open to being mistranslated, misunderstood, miscontextualized, misinterpreted etc.
 

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e v e

Well-known member
An idea that scriptural events (as myths) derive from the texts of previous cultures, is not true... while events are described in texts predating scripture, the events not the dating of a text is what is crucial. In addition any text has a context and point of view by which “archetypes are filled”, and this precludes some sort of evolution or amalgamation of concepts, as if terms were interchangeable.
 
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