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FSU CLT 3378 - Creation in Genesis

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Lecture Outline: Creation in GenesisI. Name of Israelite Goda) ’elohim = “god” 1. title- Not name, title2. cf. Canaanite ’el3. ’elohim = 1-2.4b) Yahweh 1. Yahweh ’elohim = 2.5-32. Yahweh = name- Name, not title 3. YHWH - Exact translation, we are not sure what the vowels would have been. Yahweh is our guess. a. in Persian period (after 538) = too holy- Yahweh is too holy for human beings to utter, so they substituted it with adonay b. ’adonay (“lord”)c. thus, YHWH = “Lord”II. monolatry to monotheisma) Israelite monolatry vs. Canaanite polytheism 1. polytheism = belief in many gods 2. monolatry = worship of one god- Acknowledgement that other gods exist, but only worship one god b) Yahweh = god of Israelites/Hebrews c) after Babylonian Exile (586-538 BCE)1. Israelites/Hebrews = now Jews2. Jews = monotheistic3. monotheism = worship/belief in one godd) Yahweh likened to 1. El = creator2. Baal = conqueror III. God (Yahweh) vs. the seaa) storm god vs. primordial waters (or sea)- Ancient idea 1. cf. Marduk vs. Tiamat; cf. Baal vs. Yam2. order vs. chaos- Metaphorically b) Yahweh vs. the sea1. defeats sea (cf. Marduk, Baal)2. storm god (cloud, thunder, lightning)3. sea - Sea is not a god (different from other myths), but sea is considered to be naturalistic a. Leviathanb. Rahabc. river, serpent, dragon (cf. Yam)- Either other names for the sea, or monsters associated with the sea4. “Rahab’s helpers” (Job 9.13)- cf. Tiamat’s monster army or Anat helping Baal IV. Genesis a) bereshith = “in the beginning” (Hebrew) 1. title - First word, also the title of the Book of Genesis 2. cf. Enuma Elishb) genesis = “origin” (Greek)c) written c. 950-550 BCEd) mostly prose (cf. Baal Cycle, Enuma Elish, etc.)- Different from other books in the bible, however, there are snippets of poetry- Why did the Israelites do this when most mythology is in poetry? Possibly to distinguish themselves from the other cultures of the time – poly vs. monoV. Genesis 1-3a) two creation mythsc) JEDP Theory (as in Reader intro.): discrepancies = different sources- Every time there is discrepancies in stories there are two different storiesd) contra JEDP Theory: Genesis 1-3 = literary unity- Author is putting the two stories together for a literary effectVI. Genesis 1-2.4 (first creation myth)a) creation of universe- Responding to polytheistic models of creationb) cf. Enuma Elishb) contra polytheistic models- Written before Jews became monotheisticc) demythologizes natural forcese) 1.14-19: “two great lights” - Ex—two great lights – one over the day, one over the night – aka sun and moon – aka demythologizing natural forces e) Hebrew shemesh (“sun”) vs. Akkadian Shamash/Ugaritic Shapash- Sounds too similar – author wanted no confusion – god did not create binatural gods g) Hebrew yareah (“moon”) vs. Ugaritic YarikhVII. God and the primordial watersa) primordial waters in ANE 1. assoc. with chaos, disorder2. evilb) 1st, 3rd-6th days = “it is good”- God declares what he creates to be good- “And god said, “let there be light” […] and there was evening and there was morning, one day”- Declares to be good d) God = goodnesse) 2nd day: waters (sky)- “And God said, “let there be a firmament” […] and there was evening and there was morning, a second day.”- He does not declare what he does on the second day to be good- Why? See belowe) cf. Marduk and Tiamat1. “deep” = Hebrew tehom2. tehom and Tiamat- Author is uneasy of what god does and that it is too similar to what Marduk does to Tiamat- Genesis 1.1-2 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth […] moving over the face of the waters.”f) preexisting waters = primordial waters- ANE idea that at the start of the universe there are waters that precede creationg) 1.3: beginning of creation- Creation begins with 1.3 – he brings light to the deep, dark, waters (a lot like what Marduk does toTiamat, Tiamat is primordial waters) – or he brings “light” to the “darkness” aka polytheistic cultures - Primordial waters are also associated with evil, god cannot create things that are not goodVIII. Cosmocentric creation- Universe centered creationa) order of creation1. light2. sky3. earth, sea, plants (geocentric)4. sun, moon, stars5. animals6. human beings- Why are humans last? Possibly saving the best for last or because human beings depend on all these things before. The author doesn’t tell us b) man, woman = created at same time- Created and given a specific jobc) job of humans = dominion- They are supposed to master everything on earth, they rule itIX. Genesis 2.5-3 (second creation myth)a) anthropocentric creation - Focuses on humans and their relationships with god rather than the cosmos (cosmocentric)b) order of creation1. earth2. man3. Garden (plants)4. animals5. woman- We are not told why man is created before man b) “heavens and earth” (1.1, 2.1, 2.4) vs “earth and heavens” (2.5)- Reverses order in the second story- Genesis 2.3-4(or 5) “So god bleed the seventh day […] made the earth and the heavens”- In the second story the first thing he creates is the earth and puts things on it and vice versa – author signals to us that these stories are different c) anthropomorphic God (walks, potter, father)- Hard to imagine him in the first story, there is no description, however in the second storyhe is shaped and behaves like a human being - Father to Adam, worried about him, concerned he doesn’t have good companions (reasonfor creation of animals and woman) d) woman created from man- Men and women are formed from the same body and are reunited in marriage - Created out of the ribsX. Serpenta) later Judeo-Christian reading: serpent = Satanb) original Israelite author/audience- Going back to original tellers of this story c) serpent = trickster (amoral)- Operates on their own moral codes e) eating of Tree of Knowledge (= like gods? or like humans?)- What do they


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