[b-hebrew] Gen 1 & Gen 2

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Oct 31 08:41:08 EDT 2007


On 10/30/07, George Athas <george.athas at moore.edu.au> wrote:
> Hi Karl!
> You're absolutely right - there is no toledoth formula at the
> beginning of Genesis. And that is precisely my point. It means that
> Gen 1 sits separately to the rest of the book.
Nowhere in the rest of Tanakh does the toledoth formula appear at the
beginning of a story. What we find is that it appears only in Genesis
and then only for stories that happened before the literary formula of
title and author being listed at the tail end of the story was
discontinued. Then from about 1000 BC to the Exile most, though not
all, datable works had an introduction listing author, often time
frame and some other introductory material. After the Exile, some of
the works had a title, others didn't.

What this suggests is that when Moses compiled Genesis, that he made
use of older documents. What we don't know is how much editing
(redacting) he did to those earlier documents. That the toledoth
formula survives indicates that he did very little, if any. What that
also suggests is that Genesis 2:5–5:2 was written by Adam, Genesiss
5:3–10:1 were written by people who actually observed the flood, and
so forth.

> I understand a little better what you're saying. What I'm saying about
> Gen 2 is that it is a completely different story to Gen 1, even though
> the subject matter (creation) is the same.

If the subject matter is the same, doesn't it make sense that
different stories would be just different angles on the one story?

> ... The difficulty I have with
> your traffic jam analogy is that it seems to assume there is one story
> to tell, just from different angles.

What evidence is there that this isn't the case? There is nothing in
grammar to insist on it. There is nothing in literary style (both
chapters are prose, as if telling history) that would insist that they
are different stories. So why shouldn't it be assumed that they are
the same story, just told from different angles?

> ... I would argue that Gen 1 is a
> discrete story from Gen 2 and chooses to convey the subject matter in
> a totally different way.

Other than point of view, how does it convey the subject matter in a
different way?

> ... Also, the details don't match up between the
> two,

Only if you assume that the author of Genesis 2 did not make use of
literary, grammatical and linguistic tools that were available to him.
That's the assumption I'm not willing to make.

> ... and your traffic jam analogy assumes the details do overlap. As
> such, the analogy doesn't sit well with me.
Now this sounds more like a philosophical (religious) argument, where
we have made an a priori agreement to agree to disagree, and not try
to proselyte on this list.
> Best Regards,
> Moore Theological College (Sydney)
> 1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia
> Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774
Some have tried to claim that Genesis 1 is poetry. My answer, just try
to memorize it. It's prose. It doesn't have the poetic elements that
make it easier to memorize—no meter, parallelisms or other poetic
elements. For the same effort needed to memorize it, one could
probably memorize 10 chapters in Proverbs, which is poetry.

Karl W. Randolph.

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