Genesis 1 & 2

Jonathan Bailey jonathan.bailey at
Thu Dec 2 17:33:02 EST 1999

---------- Original Message ----------

>Rather than suggest that its focus is the creation of the garden or 
>the creation of woman, I would submit that its focus is building the 
>setting in which the man and his eventual mate would ultimately be 
>tested for obedience, the test that takes place in chapter 3.  The 
>combination of the garden, the plants, the animals and the woman 
>work together to build an idyllic setting in which this test occurs, 
>so in a real sense it's possible to see chapter 2 as setup for the 
>pivotal event in chapter 3.

Good point. The next Toldot isn't until 5:1. Now I am not being so bold as to suggest 
that 2:4-5:1 are all a unified source from the same author, there is that possibility, and 
even if they are not, redacteurs who would have pieced the segment together did not 
see fit to insert dividing passages in this piece of text, and it would seem that the 
author or redacteurs saw these chapters as a unified story. Perhaps this section is 
the section of the fall of the world, with the second creation account simply the 
opening (background) paragraphs of a larger story, that is, the story of the fall of man. 
I am convinced that chapters 2 and 3 are of the same author, and am looking into the 
possibility of 2-4 being of the same author. Even if they are not, though, the text is 
thematically unified. I may well be that Chapter 1 is the creation, 2-5 is the fall, and 
with Noah we get our first glimpse of God's salvation of a select few, i.e. our first 
redemption story.

>I'm hardly illustrious and I'm certainly not PhD laden, and I agree 
>with you.  I frankly reject the JEDP hypothesis wholesale, and I 
>also reject the evolutionary approach that you mentioned further in 
>this paragraph.  IMO that kind of approach died several years ago, 
>it just didn't have the good sense to roll over and stop breathing.


>I don't think they are contradictory.  The supposed contradiction 
>most frequently pointed out (at least pointed out to me) is the 
>sequence of creation between Adam and the animals; chapter 2 
>supposedly says that the animals were created after the man, 
>because the mention of the animals' creation uses a waw-
>consecutive verb.  But my grammatical research has found that the 
>waw-consecutive isn't consecutive at all, and more and more 
>approaches are starting to realize this.  In fact, the suggestion of 
>such a blatant contradiction is an insult to the ancient editors: are 
>we really supposed to imagine that these fellows, pious and 
>concerned about what they were doing, were also so stupid that 
>they didn't realize that one put animals before man and the other 
>put man before animals?  And that in the space of a relatively few 
>sentences so that it would have been glaringly obvious to anybody 
>but a complete moron?  "I don't think so, Tim."  The problem is not 
>that the scribes, editors etc. were idiots, the problem is that we 
>don't understand the function of the verb form in question.

Additionally, we have to consider the great probability that the source material for 
Genesis came from other languages and was translated into Hebrew at the level of 
redaction. So during the redaction process with the combining of the sources, there is 
a translation element here that causes us to lose the ability to look for redactionary 
indicators in the grammar. Take this for example. I like to say that the first source 
ends with the very end of 2:4 after eretz ve-shamayim, and I make verses 2:5-2:6 (in 
their entirety) a redactional insertion that attempts to smooth out the 2 sources, and I 
make the second source start with verse 7, vayitsar. Of course the notion of an 
independant source starting with a vayyiqtol is ludicrous, but the Akkadian or West 
Semitic or even Protosemitic source need not necessarily start with an imperfective 
form, if there even was such a thing in the source language, as we are working with 
the translation into Mosaic/Davidian Hebrew. So in this respect, detailed grammar 
analyses are only useful for exegesis. You cannot apply grammar to theories of 
redaction if you are working with a text that was translated as it was redacted.

>Um, I was with you up to this point, but issuing this kind of 
>challenge is unnecessarily inflammatory.  If you want a discussion, 
>stick with the material above and eliminate this.  If you want a fight, 
>this paragraph is the surest way to get one.  Not from me, but I'm 
>sure there are some who will gladly oblige.  We've had too many of 
>those lately, so I would ask you to retract this and instead call for 
>discussion as you did above.  I suspect the reason there was no 
>answer to your previous question about translation is because we 
>really don't have any way to know.  That hardly constitutes 

Then I retract it. I am not interested in picking fights. I am just not above pointing 
fingers at scholars, one of which I myself am, or at least I aspire to be.

Jonathan Bailey
MA Kandidat
Hochschule für Jüdische Studien

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