Was there a proto-Genesis-Creation writing?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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Re: Was there a proto-Genesis-Creation writing?

Post by ABuddhist »

John T wrote: Tue Sep 13, 2022 9:05 am
rgprice wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 9:16 pm
I understand the impulse, and its a good one, but I've come to the conclusion that we are actually missing quite a bit. Also, look at how many works we've found in the DSS that were previously never alluded to. I also no longer think that we posses the earliest versions of the Gospels. I don't think that either Mark or Marcion were the first Gospel. There are actually quite a few documents we have that are never discussed in other known sources.

So, while I think that its good not to rely on concepts like Q, we also have to acknowledge that less has been preserved that we would like to imagine.
On that we can agree.

Perhaps, you can now entertain the sticky point that some here on this thread are deliberately trying to ignore. That is how literature migrated from Mesopotamia 2,500 BCE in the form of cuneiform. That proto-Sinatic script goes back to 1,700 BCE in the land of Cannan. That when Abram left Ur it is only logical that he took with him stories of the first humans and the great flood as told in Gilgamesh? That by the time the Greeks conquered Canaan/Egypt and translated the stories of Genesis into Greek, the Enoch stories were already written down over a thousand years before Plato was born? That it is logical to think that the story of Enoch is older than the story of the Exodus?

Even so, would it make a difference with the mythicists?

John T is done with this thread.
1. Why do you assume that Abraham's story is true?

2. The relative antiquity of the story of Enoch and of the Exodus, although fascinating, has no real bearing upon mythcism as far as I am aware.
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Re: Was there a proto-Genesis-Creation writing?

Post by neilgodfrey »

rgprice wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 6:51 am

I'm proposing that some longer work was derived from Timaeus first, and that the biblical narrative is a redacted version of the longer narrative, with Genesis 5 inserted into a narrative that spanned from Genesis 2:4-6:4. I would think that the longer narrative would more thoroughly cover the sons of God and account for the creation of the nations of the earth, with Yahweh being the son of God who creates the people of Israel, while other sons of God create the people of other nations.

From Enoch:
(I) Asael taught men to make swords of iron and breast-plates of bronze
and every weapon for war; and he showed them the metals of the earth. how
to work gold, to fashion [adornments] and about silver. to make bracelets
for women; and he instructed them about antimony, and eye-shadow, and
all manner of precious stones and about dyes and varieties ofadornmenrs; and
the children of men fashioned them for themselves and for their
daughters and transgressed; (2) and there arose much impiety on the
earth and they committed fornication and went astray and corrupted their
ways_ (3) Semhazah taught spell-binding and the cutting of roots; Hermoni
taught the loosing of spells, magic, sorcery and sophistry. Baraqel taught the
auguries of the lightning; Kokabiel taught the auguries of the stars; Zikiel
taught the auguries of fire-balls; Arteqif taught the auguries of earth; Simsel
taught the auguries of the sun; Sahrel taught the auguries of the moon. And
they all began to reveal secrets to their wives. (4) Then the giants began to
devour the flesh of men, and mankind began to become few upon the earth;
and as men perished from the earth, their voice went up to heaven: 'Bring our
cause before the Most High, and our destruction before the glory of the Great

This certainly reads more like Greek mythology. Here the sons of God have been reinterpreted as angels, but I can easily see this being part of the original story, in which these are terrestrial gods like Yahweh-Elohim of Genesis 2-3.
Hesiod's Catalogue of Women in his Theogony has a pertinent parallel to Genesis 6:1-4''s section about "sons of elohim" mating with women:
Now all the gods were divided through strife; for at that time Zeus who thunders on high was meditating marvellous deeds, even to mingle storm and tempest over the boundless earth, and already he was hastening to make an utter end of the race of mortal men, declaring that he would destroy the lives of the demigods that the children of the gods (tékna theôn) should not mate with wretched mortals, seeing their fate with their own eyes: but that the blessed gods henceforth even as aforetime should have their living and their habitation apart from men. But on those who were born of immortals and of mankind verily Zeus laid toil and sorrow upon sorrow.25

25 = Translation from Evelyn-White, Hesiod, pp. 199f. See also the treatment by Hendel, Of Demigods and Deluge,” JBL 106:18-20.
I took that from John Van Seter's Prologue to History, p. 156. He comments:
There are some obvious similarities between the Catalogue and Gen. 6:1-4. First, the principal actors are the same, that is, mortal women and the gods. Here tekna them in the Catalogue is the direct equivalent of benë hâ'elôhîm in the Hebrew text26 It is specifically noted in the Bible that the women were beautiful, that the gods had sexual union with them, and that the offspring of the unions were the heroes of the heroic age. This interpretation is certainly borne out by the content of the Catalogue.

But of more interest here, I think, is Van Seter's thoughts on Genesis 6:1-4 what might lie behind that passage and how the author has used or bypassed it.
A further comparison between the Catalogue and Gen. 6:1-4 on the question of form is in order here. In neither case can there be any question of reconstructing a specific mythical tale. In both the Catalogue and Genesis, the tradition about the union of gods and mortal women is construed as an introduction and interpretive prologue to other materials.29 This common antiquarian use of tradition makes it quite misleading to speak in either case of mythical “fragments.” This would confirm our earlier analysis of Gen. 6:1-2,4aß,b as an introductory prologue to the larger flood story.

29= It is altogether possible that the Yahwist knew of traditions in which there were specific stories about the actual union of deity with mortals.

(pp. 157f)
My understanding of what he is saying is that it is possible but not necessary to explain Gen 6:1-4 as evidence of a now lost Hebrew narrative. The author's plan was to provide a critical turning point in the plot to introduce the Flood story. (Hesiod's story appears to have had Zeus depopulate a sizeable portion of the earth by means of the Trojan War.) That turning point, the content of Gen 6:1-4, could have been inspired by a pre-existing narrative or it could have been taken from the general knowledge of the mythical tales that had their counterparts in Hesiod et al. -- the plot function of Genesis 6:1-4 means its origins can be explained either way.
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