Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel

By Michael Fishbane | Go to book overview
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12 Aggadic Transformations of Non-Legal Pentateuchal Traditions

A Narratives

Genesis 9: 1-7 and the Image of Man

The detailed reuse in Gen. 9: 1-7 of language from the creation narrative in Gen. 1: 26-9 regarding the creation of man, his blessedness, his fertility, and his dominion over other earthly creatures is well known. Indeed, the overall linguistic recapitulation is so precise as to leave little doubt that the post-diluvian restoration of life is modelled on the very creation of life, 1 and that Noah is an Adam redivivus. 2 This intertextual stylistic dependence is also strikingly evident precisely where variations between the two texts are most blatant. Thus, while it is obvious from Gen. 9: 3 that mankind is permitted to eat animal and reptilian life, whereas earlier, in Gen. 1: 29, only vegetation and its products were permitted, the particular way this change is introduced into the narrative is of exegetical interest. For when Gen. 9: 3 states that 'every living and moving thing may be food for you; I have given you everything: just as [I once gave you] the green vegetation', it takes over the phrases 'may be food for you' and 'I have given you every' from Gen. 1: 29, and substitutes 'every living and moving thing' for 'every vegetation'. After the flood, all life-forms and not just all greens are permitted. The fact that the narrative traditio has indicated that the new edibles are a divine allowance, 'like' those permitted in the older traditum, shows a deliberate attempt to relate the new dispensation to the original source and its authority. Thus, the older traditum is not revised, but only supplemented; for while Gen. 9: 3 is a new divine revelation on edibles, its purpose is to extend the legal scope of Gen. 1: 28. 3

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