[b-hebrew] Gen. 1:27: inspired midrash on Gen. 3:23-4?
Douglas.Galbi at fcc.gov
Thu Nov 6 10:40:31 EST 2003
As many persons have recognized, the Hebrew word
'adam in Genesis is not well understood as just
the personal name for a particular male. The word
can also be understood as a generic term meaning
the human. This space for making sense of the sacred
text is important. First, proper names are not
distinguished in written Hebrew, but they have a
much different value than generic terms in the
economy of language use in the ancient world
(and today). Knowing someone's proper name is
highly valued knowledge. Second, the relationship
between female and male is a central aspect of the
stories of creation in Genesis 1-3. To Jews,
Christians, and Muslims, Genesis is a sacred text
describing the relationship between a particular
male or a particular female and fundamental truth
of human being. The meaning of 'adam is an important
part of this description.
My study of sense in communication indicates that
different sensory modes interact throughout the
body in making sense. Jews from the time of David's
monarchy to the return from the Babylonian exile
read the second story of creation. As James Kugel
has emphasized in his books, Jews understood
this story to be relevant, without mistakes, internally
consistent, but cryptic and in need of interpretation.
An important issue for interpretation is the expulsion
of 'adam from Eden (Gen. 3:23-4). In particular, how
did Eve get out of Eden? Was she expelled with 'adam?
How does the text communicate this? It seems to me
that Gen. 1:27 explains the sense that Adam and Eve
together were expelled from Eden.
You can access my work, "Sense in Communication,"
at www.galbithink.org The analysis above is set
out on pp. 51-4. I welcome informed review and
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