[b-hebrew] Gen 1 & Gen 2

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Oct 30 09:29:52 EDT 2007


I agree with you that there are two narratives, but are they different
and contradicting stories?

On 10/29/07, George Athas <george.athas at moore.edu.au> wrote:
> Bryant Williams wrote:
> Genesis 1 describes the events of each day using Yom
> with cardinal number and the phrase "evening and morning," etc., while
> Genesis 2
> is describing in more detail the events of Day 6. In no way is it
> providing a
> different creation story. This is paying attention to the literary
> genre,
> grammar, rhetorical devices, etc.
I have heard from lectures that there was an ancient literary style
that went out of use about early to mid second millennium BC, the
title and author were added to the end of a document, instead of at
the front as is modern practice (since at least the first millennium
BC to now).

Looking at YLD in its uses, it had a greater semantic range than
merely giving birth. As far as I can tell, its semantic range probably
would be better indicated by "to bring forth" of which giving birth is
merely the most common way of bringing forth mentioned. Then looking
at TWLDWT (probably should have been pointed as toldut), in the
context of Genesis, this referred to the message that the author
wanted to bring forth. Looking at its uses, it appears to follow that
literary style mentioned above, as the title of what was written

Putting the two together, we get the picture that Genesis 2:4 is the
closing verse to chapter one, ending the first narration concerning
creation. So what followed is a second narration. Just because it is a
different narration does not mean that it is of a different story.

Another implication is that when Moses wrote Genesis, he basically
compiled, redacted, earlier documents with minimal editing.
> Bryant, I beg to differ. There are no chronological markers in Gen
> 2.4ff. to indicate a connection with Gen 1. Furthermore, the verb
> forms used suggest a very different presentation of events. It seems
> we have an empty but potentially fertile earth, followed by the
> creation of a man and a grove to locate and occupy him, followed by
> the creation of animals, and then of a woman to partner the man. Also,
> the toledoth formula at 2.4 marks a clear break with the preceding
> material.
> In light of these observations, I'd suggest that it is an assumption
> to read Gen 2 as an 'in detail' view of Day 6 in Gen 1. And in any
> case, the details don't seem to match up very well anyway. I think
> there are far fewer problems with holding the two accounts apart as
> distinct rather than seeing them as different facets of the same
> storyline.
> Best Regards,
> Moore Theological College (Sydney)
> 1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia
> Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774
But your second conclusion is harder to support.

One way to put it is that chapter one is like the report on a traffic
jam reported by an observer in a helicopter, and chapter two a report
on the same traffic jam reported by a driver stuck in it. Chapter one
is from the viewpoint of God, chapter two from man. Further, the
author of chapter two may have had a copy of chapter one in his hand,
so he did not see it necessary to repeat a strictly temporal listing
as was done in chapter one.

It is recognized by grammarians that the waw as used in these verses
can refer to actions out of temporal sequence albeit in narrative
sequence, though that is not common it does occur, therefore it is
incumbent on those who insist that in these verses that it cannot be
so used to show why the denial of the grammatical possibility. If we
allow the grammatical possibility, then there is no problem in
allowing that the two narratives are different viewpoints on the same

Karl W. Randolph.

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