lecture8prim_hist2_revised - Bible As Literature Bible...

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Unformatted text preview: Bible As Literature Bible Lecture 8 2/8/10 Administrative I hope you had a good weekend Close Reading assignment canceled We’ll begin the Abraham cycle on Wednesday (right on schedule) ◦ Read: Gen 12:1-25:18 Quiz 2 scheduled for Friday ◦ Reading quiz RA 1 is up on compass The Primeval History The Genesis 1-11 Part 2 Emergence of the Real Order Emergence From Eden to Shinar in the J source The Yahwist (J) in the Primeval History in Dominant Narrative Strand in Primeval History Includes: ◦ Eden narrative (2:4b-3:24) ◦ Post-Eden Murder of Abel Cain and his posterity Birth of Seth and origins of worship of Yahweh ◦ Flood (highly edited and intertwined with P material) The origins of the “Nephilim” (6:1-4) and YHWH’s repentance of creating humans and animals Entrance of Noah into ark (7:1-10)—7 pairs of “clean” animals Sending of raven and dove (8:6-12) Building of an “altar to YHWH” (8:20-22) Curse of Ham (9:20-27) ◦ Tower-Builders (11:1-9) Thematic Unity in Yahwist’s Primeval History Yahwist’s Narrative of “etiologies:” ◦ Origins of all human endeavors “Adah bore Jabal; he was the ancestor of those who live in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah bore Tubal-cain, who made all kinds of bronze and iron tools” (4:20-22). ◦ Origins of “immutable facts” of human nature (esp. 3:16-19) ◦ Origins of nations ◦ Surprisingly LITTLE regard for Israelite religious practices Sacrificial worship not under control of priests No mention of Sabbath Recurring motif: ◦ Rivalry between humans and God. Manifests as the attempt of humans to seize divine prerogatives ◦ Predicated on strong perception of human freedom. ◦ Key to freedom: Consciousness of one’s self as an agent. The Eden Narrative The Eden: Between the Ideal and the Real Between As “Ideal:” ◦ Derived from Mesopotamian mythology as the “place of delight.” ◦ Identified as the “Garden of God” (cf. Ezek 31:9, Isa. 51.3) ◦ Visualized as the “cosmic mountain” (cf. Ezek 47:1-12) As “Real:” ◦ Garden is a portion of the entirety, not the whole itself. There is a place “outside” the garden Defined by Geographic features (2:10-14) and minerals (2:10-12) ◦ Perspective shift: Not the ideal order as God perceives it (cf. Gen 1: “God saw that it was good”) Limited order as the human experiences it. God attempts to understand human experience: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” Adam and Ishah: Adam Between the Ideal and the Real Contrast to P: ◦ Yahwist depicts the human being as directly “formed” by God (but cf. 2:19). NOT identified as possessing the “image” of God ◦ Sequence: first man formed before first woman. ◦ Portrays social relationship between “man” (adam) and woman (ishah), not simply the biological duality of “male” and “female.” (cf. 1:27) Social Reality: ◦ Tasks assigned to first man. Labor is part of the purpose of being human. (2:15) Work is not solely an outcome of transgression (3:17f.) ◦ Regulations imposed (2:16-17) ◦ Humans require companionship and partnership. ◦ Anticipation of further social growth (2:22-23) Theological Vision in Creation Narratives in Priestly Account ◦ Creates by “decree” ◦ Imposes intentional design ◦ Assigns roles to all creatures and their proper food ◦ Assigns value to creatures ◦ Transcends all place Yahwistic Account ◦ Creates by direct action ◦ Acts to resolve difficulties rather than to impose pre-existent design ◦ Uses the human as a partner in establishing roles for creatures ◦ Moves in (inhabits?) the place where the humans reside Seizure of the Fruit Seizure ◦ Transgression emerges in the “inbetween” world of the ideal and real: psychologically plausible actions in unreal setting Dialogue with the Serpent depicted as a natural creation of God (3:1). Promise: “You shall not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” ◦ Action: Taking the fruit Subtle shift to the woman’s perspective narrator reflects not the physical features of the Tree, but the woman’s impression of it. Actions mirror the decision-making process—sees, takes, eats, shares. Took/ate/shared with her husband Actions test the serpent’s proposition: rebellion or experiment? Emergence of Consciousness Emergence Consequences presented naturalistically with attention to human consciousness: ◦ “They knew that they were naked.” First statement of reflection upon the condition they are experiencing. ◦ Reader is in position of watching the pair undergo experience and reflecting upon it. ◦ Experimental action: “they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.” Consciousness intimately linked to senses: ◦ “the eyes of both were opened.” ◦ “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden. . .” The primordial response: shame ◦ “I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” Actions of God Actions God presented as ◦ Investigating ◦ Responsive ◦ Punitive ? Relationship between the penalties imposed and the transgression not clear: How does imposing social hierarchy address the root cause of the transgression? Turns on whether the seizure of the fruit seen as rebellion or as experimentation. God’s Main concern: protecting Divine Prerogatives and Territory ◦ Motif of “god-likeness” (cf. 3:22) ◦ Eviction from Garden “Like One of Us:” Divine likeness in J and P Priestly Account ◦ Humans created “in the image of God” (1:26-27) ◦ Humans assigned their place (1:28) Rule over other living creatures ◦ Assigned their food Every food-bearing plant. Yahwistic Account ◦ Humans not created in the image ◦ Not assigned a fixed place in the Garden: “to till it and keep it” ◦ Promise of serpent: “Your eyes will be opened . . .You will be like God. . . .Knowing good and evil” ◦ Confirmed by God: “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil” Primeval History—Two Motifs 1. Human Freedom and Rivalry with God in the Yahwistic Narrative 1. The Tainted Order: From Ideal to Real in the Priestly Narrative First Motif (J) First Expulsion from the Garden in part to protect YHWH from further attempts of humans to seize power and privileges reserved for the divine. ◦ “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, and now he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life. . .” (3:22) Humans NOT created in the “image” or “likeness” in J. Human ambition not limited by the fixed role assigned to it as in P. J precedes flood narrative with account of the origins of the “Nephilim.” ◦ Nephilim were the “heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.” ◦ Product of the union “when the sons of God went into the daughters of humans, who bore children to them.” At conclusion of flood narrative (J layer), YHWH makes private vow (“said in his heart”) never ◦ “to curse the ground because of humankind” (cf. Gen. 3:17) nor ◦ “will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.” (8:21) The Tower Builders The The Plan of the Tower Builders: ◦ “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, ◦ And let us make a name for ourselves; ◦ Otherwise we shall be scattered abroad on the face of the whole earth.”(Gen 11:4) The Tower Builders, continued The God’s Investigation: “The Lord (YHWH) came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the Lord said: ◦ ‘Look, they are one people, and they have all one language ◦ And this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. ◦ Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.’” (Gen 11:5-7) Tower Builders, conclusion Tower Conclusion: “The Lord [YHWH] scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.” ◦ Fulfills the fear voiced by the tower builders ◦ Remedies open to YHWH limited by the previous vow (8:21) Second Motif (P) Second In Gen 1 (P): ◦ Creation is process of separation and distinction from primordial chaos; ◦ God’s sovereignty is defined by perfect execution of perfect design ◦ God assigns to each creature its proper place and role ◦ Human place defined by: Possessing the “image” of God Command to subdue the “earth” Dominion over the other classes of creatures Food assigned to humans: “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food” (1:29) ◦ This constituted the perfect order: “And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” (1:30-31). The Priestly Flood Story The P account: 6:11-22 (primarily), 7:11-8:5, 8:13-19, 9:1-17 Key elements ◦ Provision of food permitted in Gen. 1:28-30 (6:21) ◦ Cosmic cataclysm: “all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened” (6:11) (cf. 6:20) ◦ Single pair of all animals (no distinction between clean and unclean) ◦ God appoints the proper time to depart from the ark (8:16). ◦ No sacrifice Renewal of the blessing (9:1-7) “Everlasting” Covenant established “with every living creature. . .for all generations” Priestly Writer: Priestly Renewing the Blessing God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” (Gen 1:2830) God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” (Gen 9:1-4) ...
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This note was uploaded on 05/23/2011 for the course RLST 101 taught by Professor Layton,r during the Spring '08 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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