raqia encore

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at sil.org
Wed Jul 24 17:05:54 EDT 2002

Ian, you have no evidence that Enuma Elish is part of this context, that
it was known to the author Genesis 1. The only link you mention is one
cognate word, used in a very different sense. I agree that the link is
possible, but not that it is indisputable. There is a little more
evidence that the authors of Ps 74, 89 etc were acquainted with some
kind of Enuma Elish tradition, but the link may be extremely tenuous,
certainly not necessarily knowledge of a specific work.

You have absolutely no evidence for your assertion that the author of
Genesis knew anything that he or she did not say. This is pure
speculation. You talk about "an ancient text with ancient ideas". But
ancient ideas were highly diverse, especially if we are talking over
millennia. You don't seem to allow for that possibility.

Peter Kirk

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Hutchesson [mailto:mc2499 at mclink.it]
> Sent: 24 July 2002 10:11
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: raqia encore
> Dear Rolf,
> I find it difficult to understand the
> impression I get that you wish to read the text
> outside its context which includes texts such
> as the Enuma Elish as well as material from
> within the biblical tradition itself.
> When God divided the waters and broke the heads
> of the dragons of the waters, we are obviously
> dealing with part of the same tradition as we
> find in Marduk's victory over the dragon of the
> waters, Tiamat, cognate with tehom of Gen 1:2.
> Ps 74:14 goes on, "You broke the heads of
> Leviathan" (dragon in LXX) in parallel with the
> heads of the dragons of the water in the
> previous verse. We have what you would call
> mythological material which gives body to tehom
> in Gen 1:2, the dragon of the waters,
> Tiamat/tehom.
> Ps 89:9  You rule the raging of the sea...,
> 10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass
> Isa 51:9 [you] cut Rahab to pieces, profaned
> the dragon
> Again working on the unruly sea and slaying the
> dragon/Rahab/Leviathan. This latter is known
> from Ugarit where we find a phraseology rather
> similar to Isa 27:1 (which has turned the event
> into an eschatological event) of Lotan being
> defeated by Baal -- apparently the same story
> in Ugartic vestments.
> As I said in a previous post, Genesis knows
> much that it doesn't say. One of those things
> is what the tradition says happened in 1:2, but
> obviously there is more than what is stated and
> we see it both in those biblical glimpses of the
> creator god's domination of the dragon of the
> waters.
> In reading Gen 1 totally from within itself and
> from a belief that it must conform to a modern
> view of the world, you may be able to pull off
> a certain rehabilitation of an ancient text with
> ancient ideas for modern eyes with modern ideas,
> but the cost is saying that whatever doesn't fit
> those modern ideas must be metaphorical.

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