The book of genesis
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The book of genesis

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An introduction to the literature and structure of the Book of Genesis

An introduction to the literature and structure of the Book of Genesis

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The book of genesis The book of genesis Presentation Transcript

  • The Book of GenesisIntroduction
  • Genesis is the first book of theBible ―Genesis is a book about origins: the origins of humankind, the origins of Israel, and the origins of the unique relationship between God and a particular people.‖ (The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis; Commentary by Nahum M. Sarna; The Jewish Publications Society, Philadelphia, PA 1989 p.xii)
  • Genesis is the first book of theBible Genesis is about origins View slide
  • Genesis is the first book of theBible Genesis is about origins The origins of humankind View slide
  • Genesis is the first book of theBible Genesis is about origins The origins of humankind The origins of Israel
  • Genesis is the first book of theBible Genesis is about origins The origins of humankind The origins of Israel The origins of God‘s relationship with a particular people
  • (Bereshit)
  • (Bereshit) Hebrew Word for ―beginning‖ or ―in the Beginning‖
  • (Bereshit) Hebrew Word for ―beginning‖ or ―in the Beginning‖ The word ―Genesis‖ comes from the Septuagint (Greek) version
  • (Bereshit) Hebrew Word for ―beginning‖ or ―in the Beginning‖ The word ―Genesis‖ comes from the Septuagint (Greek) version Both words refer to the concern with origins in the Book
  • Toledot Hebrew for ―generations‖ or ―descendants‖
  • Creation ―The theme of Creation, important as it is, serves merely as an introduction to the book‘s central motif: God‘s role in history.‖ (The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis; Commentary by Nahum M. Sarna; The Jewish Publications Society, Philadelphia, PA 1989 p.xii)
  • Creation ―...the human being in Genesis – the pinnacle of Creation – is a creature of infinite preciousness who enjoys a unique relationship with God. Humankind is endowed with free will and, consequently, is also charged with moral responsibility and inescapable accountability.‖ (The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis; Commentary by Nahum M. Sarna; The Jewish Publications Society, Philadelphia, PA 1989 p.xii)
  • Dignity of the Human Person  ―The dignity of the human person is a transcendent value, always recognized as such by those who sincerely search for the truth. Indeed, the whole of human history should be interpreted in the light of this certainty. Every person, created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26-28) and therefore radically oriented towards the Creator, is constantly in relationship with those possessed of the same dignity. To promote the good of the individual is thus to serve the common good, which is that point where rights and duties converge and reinforce one another.‖ (MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE WORLD DAY OF PEACE 1 JANUARY 1999)
  • The Number 10  “ten is one of the perfect numbers, and signifies the perfection of Divine order, commencing, as it does, an altogether new series of numbers.‖
  • Unity of the Scriptures  ―Genesis is part of a grand design which unites the books of the Torah with Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings in one configuration: from the creation of the world to the choosing of the people of Israel and their settlement in Canaan up to the Babylonian Captivity.‖ (The Literary Guide to the Bible; edited by Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, Bellknap Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1987 p. 40-41)
  • Primeval History  Chapters 1-11 cover the distant aeons of primeval history
  •  chapters12-50 cover the shorter span of patriarchal history
  • Toledot = Generations  ―...the internal structure of Genesis is marked off by the recurring formula “These are the generations” or “these are the descendants” or “this is the history” (Heb. ‘elleh toledot).
  • Toledot = Generations  Eleven times the underlying Hebrew expression occurs in Genesis, each time pointing the way forward to a new phase or development in the story, usually with a reference to a single ancestor.‖ (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Commentary, Notes and Study Questions; Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch; Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA 2010 p.14)
  • Toledot = Generations  “...toledot, literally ‖begettings,‖ from the root yld which is used for mothers (yaldah ―she gave birth‖), fathers (holid, ―he begot‖), and children (nolad,‖he was born‖). The begettings provide a solid framework that supports and meticulously articulates the various sections of Genesis.‖ (The Literary Guide to the Bible; edited by Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, Bellknap Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1987 p. 40-41)
  • Documentary Hypothesis  The Documentary Hypothesis. The documentary hypothesis, (DH) (sometimes called the Wellhausen hypothesis), holds that the Torah was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors (editors). The number of these is usually set at four, but this is not an essential part of the hypothesis.
  • Documentary Hypothesis  the Yahwist source ( J ) : written c. 950 BC in the southern Kingdom of Judah.
  • Documentary Hypothesis  the Yahwist source ( J ) : written c. 950 BC in the southern Kingdom of Judah.  The Elohist source ( E ) : written c. 850 BC in the northern Kingdom of Israel.
  • Documentary Hypothesis  the Yahwist source ( J ) : written c. 950 BC in the southern Kingdom of Judah.  The Elohist source ( E ) : written c. 850 BC in the northern Kingdom of Israel.  The Deuteronomist ( D ) : written c. 600 BC in Jerusalem during a period of religious reform.
  • Documentary Hypothesis  the Yahwist source ( J ) : written c. 950 BC in the southern Kingdom of Judah.  The Elohist source ( E ) : written c. 850 BC in the northern Kingdom of Israel.  The Deuteronomist ( D ) : written c. 600 BC in Jerusalem during a period of religious reform.  the Priestly source ( P ) : written c. 500 BC by Kohanim (Jewish priests) in exile in Babylon.
  • Creation in the Bible  ―...the theme of creation is not set down once for all in one place; rather, it accompanies Israel throughout its history, and, indeed, the whole Old Testament is a journeying with the Word of God. Only in the process of this journeying was the Bible‘s real way of declaring itself formed, step by step.‖ (‗In the Beginning’ – A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), translated by Boniface Ramsey; William B. Eerdman‘s Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. 1995) 
  • Composition of Genesis  ―On this hypothesis, the composition of Genesis began around 900 B.C and came to an end around 400 B.C., sometime after the return of the Jews from the Babylonian Exile. Most who adopt this view acknowledge that the stories in Genesis are often much older than their written form, and some would allow that certain parts of its contents may indeed be Mosaic.‖ (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Commentary, Notes and Study Questions; Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch; Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA 2010 p.13)
  • Composition of Genesis  ―The moment when creation became a dominant theme occurred during the Babylonian Exile. It was then that the account we have…based to be sure, on ancient traditions – assumed its present form. Israel had lost its land and its temple. According to the mentality of the time this was something incomprehensible, for it meant that the God of Israel was vanquished – a God whose people, whose land, and whose worshippers could be snatched away from him. A God who could not defend his worshippers and his worship was seen to be, at the time, a weak God. Indeed he was no God at all: he had abandoned his divinity. And so, being driven out of their own land and being erased from the map was for Israel a terrible trial: Has our God been vanquished and is our faith void?‖ (‗In the Beginning’ – A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), translated by Boniface Ramsey; William B. Eerdman‘s Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. 1995)
  • gods in the Ancient Near East  ―The king enjoyed the favor of the gods, but their favor was exhibited preeminently when they granted the king and his armies victory over the enemies that threatened his realm.‖  (Gods in the Desert: Religions of the Ancient Near East; Glenn S. Holland; Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, Md., 2009 p. 135)
  • The God of Israel  1 Samuel 5: The Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant
  • The God of Israel  1 Samuel 5: The Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant  The implication is that the God of Israel was defeated and was now held in the house of the god Dagon. However, with the destruction of the cult statue of their god, the Philistines got the message: the God of Israel is the true God.
  • The God of Israel  The Israelites ask for a king. "Grant the peoples every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.‖ (1 Sam. 8:7)
  • The God of Israel  ―To Israel, his chosen, God revealed himself as the only One: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might." (Deut 6:4- 5.) Through the prophets, God calls Israel and all nations to turn to him, the one and only God: "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. . . . To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. ‗Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength." (Isa 45: 22-24; cf. Phil 2:10-11) (CCC Ch. 1, Art. 1 #201-#202a)
  • I believe in one God  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth": (Gen. 1:1) three things are affirmed in these first words of Scripture: the eternal God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself; he alone is Creator (the verb "create"—Hebrew bara—always has God for its subject). The totality of what exists (expressed by the formula "the heavens and the earth") depends on the One who gives it being. (CCC Art. 1, Par. 4 #290-292) 
  • I believe in one God  ―The mythology of both Mesopotamia and Egypt makes clear that the gods had origins. They exist in familial relationships and there are generations of gods.‖ (Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible; John H. Walton; Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Mich. 2006 pp. 87-88)
  • I believe in one God  ―...unlike earthly overlords, the gods are endowed with a divine authority and power that elevates them far above the capabilities of human beings. The symbols of their power embody that power and confer it upon their owner. They have strength, knowledge, and skills that surpass those of human beings, but they are still recognizably human in their emotions, their desires and their ambitions.‖ (Gods in the Desert: Religions of the Ancient Near East; Glenn S. Holland; Rowman and Littlefield, NY 2009 p.113)