Monday, 27 January 2020

Monday quote

The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.


Thursday, 23 January 2020

The conclusions of Genesis 1 and 2

Recent posts have discussed the structure of Genesis 1 and 2 as proposed by Doukhan. The structure of Genesis 1 is quite clear. There is an introduction, 6 days clearly delineated by God finishing his creating at the end of the day, and a conclusion which is the seventh day. The frequency of the phrase, "And spoke Elohim" using the grammar of the waw-consecutive indefinite is 1,1,2,1,1,3 over the 6 days of creation.

Questions still remain around the conclusions to both pericopes. Where does the conclusion end for each pericope And where does the Genesis 2 pericope begin?

As shown previously, the introductions to both pericopes follow very similar structures, that is the introduction of the second pericope starts with,
In the day that Yahweh God made the earth and the heaven,... (Gen 2:4b)
which is highly parallel to
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen 1:1)
Doukhan places Genesis 2:4a with the conclusion of the first pericope. He supports this with the claim that the word "create" occurs 7 times in the first pericope and the word "earth" 7 times in the second; assuming this division.

In contrast however, the toledoth structure acts as an introduction elsewhere in Genesis. Using Genesis 2:4a as a conclusion does not match toledoth use elsewhere; and further, it leaves Genesis chapters 2 to 4 without a toledoth introduction. Secondly, does Genesis 2:4a act as a conclusion to Genesis 1, or does the seventh day purpose this? Genesis 2:3 reads as an appropriate conclusion on its own. Thirdly, there is no parallel to verse 2:4a at the end of the second pericope. So if verse 2:4a is a conclusion, it is a second conclusion to the creation account in Genesis 1, and one without parallel in Genesis 2.

Currently my preference is to consider verse 2:4a as an introduction to the next major section of Genesis: verse 2:4b through to the end of chapter 4.

We will now consider the conclusion of the second pericope. Genesis 2 finishes,
And Yahweh God fashioned the rib, which he had taken from the man, into a woman and brought her to the man. And the man said,
“This one, this time;
bone from my bones
and flesh from my flesh;
she shall be called ‘Woman,’
for she was taken from man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife, and they shall be as one flesh.

And both of them were naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed. (2:22-25)
The beginning of chapter 3 has the serpent tempting the woman.
And the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field which Yahweh God had made. (3:1)
There is a play on words between "naked" (arom) and "crafty" (arum), so the last verse of chapter 2 could be the beginning of the next pericope, or the author may just be joining the pericopes by means of this.

The man's speech concerning the woman seems to be closely bound up with the sixth section. No animal was found to correspond to the man; but the woman did—this one, this time. So contrary to Doukhan, I would not place the conclusion at the beginning of verse 23.

Verse 24 seems to be a conclusion relating to the creation of the woman, and not a conclusion to the entire pericope: the reason a man is to leave his parents, who made him, is because he gets a wife and the first wife was made from the first man. Verse 24 ends section 6.

So the conclusion to the pericope seems to be the man and his wife, together in the garden, naked, and unashamed.

In summary, the structure of Genesis 1 and 2 considering grammatical issues and parallelisms.

Creation universeCreation mankind
Genesis 2:4a
IntroductionGenesis 1:1-2Genesis 2:4b-6
Section 1Genesis 1:3-5Genesis 2:7
Section 2Genesis 1:6-8Genesis 2:8
Section 3Genesis 1:9-13Genesis 2:9-15
Section 4Genesis 1:14-19Genesis 2:16-17
Section 5Genesis 1:20-23Genesis 2:18
Section 6Genesis 1:24-31Genesis 2:19-24
ConclusionGenesis 2:1-3Genesis 2:25

There is a further question which this raises. Which of the two accounts is derivative? Not in terms of content as the content is not derivative, in terms of structure.

The content source of the second account probably relates to family records and the toledoth structure of Genesis supports this. The content source of the first account is more elusive.

Although both pericopes follow a similar outline, Genesis 1 is more highly organised. While both accounts as they are may have been written at a similar time, which one was structured based on the other? Was Genesis 2 written first and Genesis 1 written in a more highly organised form? Or does the nature of creation in Genesis 1 clearly lead to a more organised narrative and then was Genesis 2 written to emulate the structure of Genesis 1?

Lastly, I suspect that translations should format Genesis 2 so that its correspondence to Genesis 1 is more obvious. That will mainly involve paragraphing the sections appropriately.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Grouping the themes of Genesis 2

Previously I posted on the similarities that Doukhat identifies concerning Genesis 1 and 2, specifically the 9 times that the waw consecutive is used with an imperfect verb and the name of God: Elohim in Genesis 1 and Yahweh Elohim in Genesis 2. The frequency of this phrase in Genesis 1 is apparent as the days are clearly delineated. "And God said", is used over the 6 days in the frequency 1,1,2,1,1,3. Doukhat claims that this is the same frequency in the sections of Genesis 2. However the end of each section in Genesis 2 is not clearly delineated like Genesis 1. Below is the text from each pericope with discussion on the section divisions of Genesis 2 to follow.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

On the structure of Genesis 2

Jacques Doukhan is the author of The Genesis Creation Story: Its Literary Structure. I have not read the book but assume it is based on his thesis, The Literary Structure of the Genesis Creation Story. In it he claims that Genesis 2 is parallel in structure to Genesis 1. Both pericopes have a sixfold structure with an introduction and conclusion either side. Doukhan sees parallels between the introductions, the sections, and the conclusions. Though I am not convinced of the parallels between the two pericopes, the argument on structure is more convincing.

Genesis 1 to 2:3 has the introduction of the creation of heaven and earth followed by 6 days of creating, followed by the conclusion of the seventh day of rest. There is debate whether Genesis 2:4a is the end of the first pericope or the beginning of the second.
These are the generations of heaven and earth when they were created. (Gen 2:4a)
Doukhan includes this phrase with pericope starting in Genesis 1, not the second creation pericope. He calls the creation account in Genesis 1 C and the account in Genesis 2 C'. He has several arguments for including verse 2:4a with C based around the parallels he identifies between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. More convincing is that the word "create" appears 7 times in C if we include Genesis 2:4a. Further the word earth occurs 7 times in C' if we exclude Genesis 2:4a (both words "create" and "earth" are included in Genesis 2:4a). Thus dividing the pericopes after 2:4a gives 7 occurrences of each word and 7 is a common symbol in these passages.

I currently place Genesis 2:4a with what follows based on my understanding of the toledoth phrases throughout Genesis. If the other toledoth are introductory then it seems unusual that Genesis 2:4a would be a conclusion or colophon for the preceding verses.

Doukhan has the following passages parallel.

Creation CCreation C'
IntroductionGenesis 1:1-2Genesis 2:4b-6
Section 1Genesis 1:3-5Genesis 2:7
Section 2Genesis 1:6-8Genesis 2:8
Section 3Genesis 1:9-13Genesis 2:9-15
Section 4Genesis 1:14-19Genesis 2:16-17
Section 5Genesis 1:20-23Genesis 2:18
Section 6Genesis 1:24-31Genesis 2:19-22
ConclusionGenesis 2:1-3; 4aGenesis 2:23-24

He finds parallels between the first 3 sections and the second 3 sections of C' (this has been previously noted in C).

First halfSecond half

1. Light4. Luminaries

2. Firmament5. Birds

3. Plants6. Plants as food

1. Dust4. Death

2. Garden for man5. Companion for man

3. Dominion over garden6. Dominion over animals

And he contrasts the introductions

In the beginningIn the day 
GodYahweh God
Heavens and the and heavens, 
And the earth was formless and empty,and not yet any plant of the field was on the earth, 
and darkness was upon the face of the deep.and not yet any herb of the field had sprung up (because Yahweh God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not yet a man to till the ground).
And the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.And a mist would rise from the earth and water the whole face of the ground.

His comparison of the conclusions is less convincing.

Part of the reason for seeing a similarity between the two pericopes is the use of a similar phrase in both. During the 6 days of creation the term "And God said" appears 9 times. Each time the word Elohim is used for God. And the construction of the phrase is a waw (or vav) consecutive. This is the use of the letter waw (or vav) in Hebrew, which means "and", before a verb; in this case the verb "to speak".The verb is grammatically in the imperfect (which makes the action perfect with a waw-consecutive, and following the previous phrase temporally). Thus the phrase: And spoke Elohim. As mentioned, this phrase occurs 9 times in Genesis 1. Doukhan notes that in Genesis 2 a similar phrase occurs 9 times. The waw-consecutive with an imperfect verb (different verbs) and the name Yahweh God. Example: And planted Yahweh God (Gen 2:8).

This phrase in Genesis 1 only occurs during the days of creation, it does not occur in the introduction or the conclusion, though the word "God" occurs in them. Because Genesis 1 is highly structured, it is clear when the days start, and especially when they finish. The phrase, "And spoke Elohim" occurs once each on days 1 and 2 and twice on day 3; it occurs once each on days 4 and 5, and thrice on day 6; the pattern being 1,1,2,1,1,3.

Doukhan claims this same pattern occurs in Genesis 2 with the 9 occurrences of, "And verb Yahweh Elohim". Which is why he states that Genesis 2 has 6 sections like Genesis 1 does. We will review this in the next post.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Monday quote

The covers of this book are too far apart.

Ambrose Bierce

Monday, 13 January 2020

Monday quote

She is always married too soon who gets a bad husband, and she is never married too late who gets a good one.

Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Monday quote

Never allow an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted in your life.

William James (Selected Papers on Philosophy)


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