Was there a proto-Genesis-Creation writing?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
rgprice
Posts: 966
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Was there a proto-Genesis-Creation writing?

Post by rgprice »

I've been rereading Genesis 1-6, along with re-reading Gmirkin's latest book (Timaeus and the Creation Accounts). It seems to me like Genesis 1-4 in particular, and how they relate to 5-6, implies that Genesis 1-4 was not itself a novel creation, but that it is a shortened version of a longer story from which several details have been left out.

Much seems to be implied in Genesis 1-4 that goes unsaid, and much of what goes unsaid would seem to explain various puzzling features of Genesis 1-4. I agree that the story of Genesis 1-4 makes the most sense if we read Genesis 1-2:4 as relating to the creation of the cosmos by El -- the Highest God, and that Genesis 2:5+ generally conveys the story of how Yahweh, son of the Highest God, created life and dwelled on earth in Eden. Or perhaps more precisely, it seems that Genesis 2:4-4 may be based on a longer narrative (and Genesis 1-2:3 is a novel creation).

Based on the LXX we get:

22 Then Elohim said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out with his hand, and take fruit also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore Yahweh Elohim sent him out of the Garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

Of course all of this implies that the Highest God, Elohim/El Elyon/Demiurge, is in conversation with his son, the terrestrial god Yahweh. The Tree of Life exists in the Garden of Eden as a source of sustenance for Yahweh, so that Yahweh, and perhaps other terrestrial gods, will be able to maintain their immortality. These trees, (of Life and Knowledge of Good and Evil) existed in the Garden of Eden for a purpose, not just to tempt Adam and Eve. They were there because the gods needed them. Adam and Eve were living in the palace grounds of the gods, or at the very least in the palace grounds of Yahweh.

It would seem that we are missing parts of this story. Perhaps even parts that featured other gods.

Gmirkin argues for the creation of Genesis 1-11 being based on Plato's Timaeus and other Greek works. While influence here is possible, it seems to me that even if this is the case, that Genesis 2:4-4 (and perhaps more as well) appears to be redacted from some longer story. That longer story may have been influenced by Hellenistic sources. But it seems to me that what we have in the Bible is the abbreviation of a longer tale that included more details about the gods and what was going on in Eden prior to the casting out of Adam and Eve, and perhaps even more info on life outside of Eden.
User avatar
John T
Posts: 1463
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 8:57 am

Re: Was there a proto-Genesis-Creation writing?

Post by John T »

rgprice wrote: Fri Sep 09, 2022 12:29 pm
Gmirkin argues for the creation of Genesis 1-11 being based on Plato's Timaeus and other Greek works.
Gmirkin is off (once again) by several hundred of years. Also, (once again) it is clear he does not understand the purpose behind Plato's Timaeus. Timaeus (which includes the story of Atlantis) is an elaborate political treatise informing us of the necessity of teleological law of reason and good. To obtain the good as intended by the "Good Craftsman" i.e., God, we must first replace bad government lead by the the sophists and hesiotic poets who lead Greece to chaos, force, and violence.

Timaeus is not so much about cosmology and metaphysics but the correct integration of the Tripartite soul: Logos = reason, Thymos = spirit, Eros = desires.

Perhaps you can link this video by Paul Krause to Gmirkin.
Even better, you should watch it so as to be fooled no more by Gmirkin

https://youtu.be/_iMsGM4Chn4

:cheers:
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5028
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Was there a proto-Genesis-Creation writing?

Post by neilgodfrey »

rgprice wrote: Fri Sep 09, 2022 12:29 pm . . . . it seems to me that even if this is the case, that Genesis 2:4-4 (and perhaps more as well) appears to be redacted from some longer story. That longer story may have been influenced by Hellenistic sources. But it seems to me that what we have in the Bible is the abbreviation of a longer tale that included more details about the gods and what was going on in Eden prior to the casting out of Adam and Eve, and perhaps even more info on life outside of Eden.
You don't think that Plato's account might be that longer tale on which parts of Genesis are based?

Referring to the dividing up of the earth according to different peoples, each with their own god, we have Critias, the work following Timaeus, where we pick up after the creation of humans (at the end of Timaeus):
Once upon a time, the gods divided the whole earth among themselves, region by region. There were no disputes involved; after all, it makes no sense for the gods not to know what is appropriate to each of them and, since they do have such knowledge, it is illogical to believe that they would dispute claims and try to gain what properly belonged to another one of them. So each gained by just allocation what belonged to him, established communities in his lands, and, having done so, began to look after us, his property and creatures, as a shepherd does his flocks, with the difference that they did not use physical means of compulsion. Shepherds use blows as they tend to their flocks, but the gods focused on that part of each creature which makes it most easy to steer, like helmsmen steering from the stern; they took hold of its mind, employed the rudder of persuasion as they saw fit, and in this way guided and led every mortal creature as a whole.

As a result of the allocation, various gods gained various regions to govern, and Hephaestus and Athena (who are very similar in nature, not just because they are brother and sister, with a common father, but also because their love of education and of craft give them the same goals) gained Athens here as their shared allocation, since the nature of the district was such that it was suitable for courage and intelligence. So they created men of courage, who were born from the ground, and implanted in their minds the outline of their political system.

108b-d
And Yahweh was given Eden.

? no?
Last edited by neilgodfrey on Fri Sep 09, 2022 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
billd89
Posts: 756
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:27 pm
Location: New England, USA

Re: Satanael, Samael ...

Post by billd89 »

Story never happened.

Why would the Most High God bother w/ management & residential problems? Shouldn't Horon (in his capacity as Judge, Scourge) have ordered an Angel to do this mundane sort of thing?

'Elohim' sounds like Ialdabaoth, in this context. In Philonic cosmogonies, the 'Administrator' is God #3.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5028
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Satanael, Samael ...

Post by neilgodfrey »

billd89 wrote: Fri Sep 09, 2022 3:48 pm Story never happened.

Why would the Most High God bother w/ management & residential problems? Shouldn't Horon (in his capacity as Judge, Scourge) have ordered an Angel to do this mundane sort of thing?

'Elohim' sounds like Ialdabaoth, in this context.
Plato's point is that the lesser gods were given the task of managing the corruptible world while the highest god was beyond that sort of thing. The "most high god" did not bother with "management and residential problems". He made lesser gods for that task.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5028
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Satanael, Samael ...

Post by neilgodfrey »

billd89 wrote: Fri Sep 09, 2022 3:48 pm Story never happened.

Why would the Most High God bother w/ management & residential problems? Shouldn't Horon (in his capacity as Judge, Scourge) have ordered an Angel to do this mundane sort of thing?

'Elohim' sounds like Ialdabaoth, in this context. In Philonic cosmogonies, the 'Administrator' is God #3.
I see that I failed to explain in my previous reply: Gmirkin's thesis is that Yahweh is not the "most high" god in Genesis 1-2. That position belongs to Elohim. Strict monotheism is reserved for the later material.
rgprice
Posts: 966
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: Was there a proto-Genesis-Creation writing?

Post by rgprice »

neilgodfrey wrote: Fri Sep 09, 2022 3:44 pm You don't think that Plato's account might be that longer tale on which parts of Genesis are based?
No. My point is to me it seems like there is some longer version of the Genesis narrative. Plato's account is not the Genesis narrative. It could be that someone wrote a narrative based on ideas from Plato's account, but it seems like what we get in the Torah is a redaction of that account.

There are too many things are are unexplained in our version of Genesis. It requires too much reading between the lines and assumptions (which of course have been mostly wrong). Surely there was some version of the story which contains all of the material we find in Genesis, plus additional narrative that has been removed. And of course what we have in Genesis appears to be a pretty strict redaction, not a re-writing, because the elements that cause confusion are left in.

It makes me think that the Gnostic account of creation may be derived from the original longer story.

Chaos or Yaldabaoth the Demiurge or Chief Archon. Yaldabaoth is a Semitic name, probably from yalda ('child') and bo' ('come, go') (cf. On the Origin of the World 100:12-14) or possibly yld ('give birth, create') and Sabaoth. He is clearly the creator God of the OT but, in the inverted view of the Gnostic myth, he is not good but evil. His creation is the Archons, including Yao (Yahweh), Elouaiou (Eloah or Elohim), Adonin (Adonai?), Sabaoth - all names for the God of Israel in Jewish tradition - and 365 angels.

Yaldabaoth and the Archons together create the first man Adam. They do so by using as a model the reflected image of the Pleroma,

--Lester L. Grabbe. An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel, and Jesus

Also note that in the LXX it states not that God made man in his "own image", but that he made them "according to the divine image".

But this makes me wonder if there was some original version of the creation story in which multiple gods lived in Eden and the story actually went more along the lines of what the Gnostics claim.
Last edited by rgprice on Sat Sep 10, 2022 3:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
billd89
Posts: 756
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:27 pm
Location: New England, USA

Monotheism is False at the Deepest Mythos Level

Post by billd89 »

I suppose the Garden Story is Egyptian. If a plausible origin is the Fayum, consider the cosmological lineage of Tebtunis.

Geb is a Divine Man, descended from Kronos (Yahu?). There is also a 'Zeus Hypsistos' (who may or may not be El) and a 'Kronion' who may correspond to Adam-Man:
https://www.jstor.org/stable/1508189

Of course, there's also a hot mess of Deity Lists to reckon against...
User avatar
John T
Posts: 1463
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 8:57 am

Re: Satanael, Samael ...

Post by John T »

neilgodfrey wrote: Fri Sep 09, 2022 3:52 pm
Plato's point is that the lesser gods were given the task of managing the corruptible world while the highest god was beyond that sort of thing. The "most high god" did not bother with "management and residential problems". He made lesser gods for that task.
Plato's purpose for using metaphysics in Timaeus was to kill the Greek mythological gods of rage and violence and replace them with one God of good and beauty.
Plato's idea (form) of the demiurge was an allegory to replace the mythological demiurge. Plato's demiurge is not a semi-god creature used for the creation of the universe but rather the ordering/design by the one God. His plan to turn disorder into order.

There is no nexus to Genesis. :facepalm:

https://www.maier-files.com/the-demiurg ... dialogues/
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5028
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Satanael, Samael ...

Post by neilgodfrey »

John T wrote: Fri Sep 09, 2022 6:40 pm
neilgodfrey wrote: Fri Sep 09, 2022 3:52 pm
Plato's point is that the lesser gods were given the task of managing the corruptible world while the highest god was beyond that sort of thing. The "most high god" did not bother with "management and residential problems". He made lesser gods for that task.
Plato's purpose for using metaphysics in Timaeus was to kill the Greek mythological gods of raft and violence and replace them with one God of good and beauty.
Plato's idea (form) of the demiurge was an allegory to replace the mythological demiurge. Plato's demiurge is not a semi-god creature used for the creation of the universe but rather the ordering/design by the one God. His plan to turn disorder into order.

There is no nexus to Genesis. :facepalm:

https://www.maier-files.com/the-demiurg ... dialogues/
Yes, John T. I've read Timaeus several times and know what his Demiurge was. Genesis is not Timaeus and is not an attempt to duplicate Timaeus. Now do you have any comment on the translated words of Plato that I cited? If you actually read what others say .....

If Timaeus is too long for you to be able to read, would you like me to quote for you Plato's words where he says the Demiurge created lesser gods to create the corruptible part of the universe?
Post Reply