[b-hebrew] Four Rivers of Eden - Sources of Life

tladatsi at charter.net tladatsi at charter.net
Sat May 14 12:55:51 EDT 2005


Well, just a parting thought.  I think the other point 
being made that Eden is source of four major rivers is that 
it is source life.  The modern urban reader does not 
appriciate the huge significance of water in general and 
rivers in partular.  You turn on a tap and out it comes.

In many parts of the world today and every where in ancient 
times water was the difference between wealth and poverty, 
hunger and sateity, life and death.  The bigger the river, 
generally the reliable the source.  Thus, Eden, the source 
of the four biggest rivers in Levant, is the source of 
life.  This underlays Edens spot as the point creation.

Something to think about.

 
> From: "Heard, Christopher" <
Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu>
> Date: 2005/05/13 Fri AM 09:53:00 EDT
> To: tladatsi at charter.net
> Subject: Re: Four Rivers of Eden - Somewhere Up North
> 
> Jack,
> 
> Thank you for your very thoughtful note. I appreciate 
your insights,  
> but continue to think I'm on the right track, for at 
least a couple  
> of reasons that I will have to state very quickly 
(because I need to  
> read 100 pp. in the next two hours for a seminar :-D).
> 
> I agree with you that the Anatolian mountains are 
important at least  
> for some biblical writers' conceptions of the world, yet 
the narrator  
> of Genesis 2 clearly places Eden in "the east," not the 
north.
> 
> Second, I do think that anyone able to read the canonical 
form of  
> Genesis would realize that the Tigris/Euphrates system, 
the Gihon  
> (being the spring outside of Jerusalem, for most such 
readers), and  
> Cush were far, far apart. Indeed, I think they might even 
perceive a  
> north-to-south movement (from the farthest conceivable 
north in  
> Anatolia to the farthest conceivable south, the bottom of 
Arabia and  
> sub-Saharan Africa) or a crescent-shaped movement from 
Mesopotamia  
> through the Levant down to the opening of the Red Sea 
into the larger  
> ocean. Perhaps I am giving those readers too much credit, 
but I think  
> that the canonical form of Genesis is a very 
sophisticated piece of  
> literature.
> 
> My apologies, but I have to run for now. I probably also 
ought to re- 
> read Speiser's classic article on this, though he agrees 
more with  
> Walter. :-)
> 
> Chris
> 
> On May 12, 2005, at 9:50 PM, <tladatsi at charter.net> 
wrote:
> 
> > Christopher,
> >
> > I think you make some very good points but I am not 
sure
> > that I agree with you one point.  While the modern 
reader
> > with access to accurate maps can discern that the four
> > rivers do not in fact have a common source, I doubt the
> > ancient reader or author would have known that.  Rather
> > than intentionally creating a *never-never land* the 
author
> > seems rather to be pointing to a real place that is
> > completely inaccessable to the reader.  No 1st 
millenium
> > Judean or Israelite is going to trek into the lands of 
the
> > wild Medes (Kurds) to find either Eden or the sources 
of
> > these rivers.  It was perceived as a real place, *far, 
far,
> > away*.
> >
> > Also there is clearly some historical kernal to this 
story.
> > 2nd King 19 reports that king of Assyria brags of 
defeating
> > the "sons of Eden" somewhere near Haran in the northern
> > edge of Mesopotemia.  Abram travels through this area 
on
> > his journey from Ur to Canaan.
> >
> > When the flood ends, Noah finds his box has landed in 
the
> > mountains near Ararat, near the headwaters of both 
Tigris
> > and Euphrates.  This can't be a coincidence.
> >
> > In Joshua 24, Joshua makes several references to the
> > ancestors living *beyond the flood*, i.e. the 
Euphrates.
> > It is traditionally thought to think that Joshua was
> > looking eastward toward Ur (which is on the same side 
of
> > Euphrates as Sechem is).  However if one looks 
northward
> > from Sechem the Euphrates is there as well (it has a
> > northwestern orientation) and across the Euphrates is 
Haran
> > and beyond that the highlands of the Medes the 
headwaters
> > of the Tigris and Euphrates.
> >
> > It would seem that there was a general belief that the
> > Israel and Judea came from somewhere *up north*.
> >
> > Jack Tladatsi
> >
> 
> --
> R. Christopher Heard
> Assistant Professor of Religion
> Pepperdine University
> Malibu, California 90263-4352
> http://faculty.pepperdine.edu/cheard
> http://www.iTanakh.org
> http://www.semioticsandexegesis.info
> 

Jack Tladatsi



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