The Names of God: Poetic Readings in Biblical Beginnings

By Herbert Chanan Brichto | Go to book overview

THREE
EDEN AND EDEN'S
AFTERMATH

The characterization of the story that begins with Genesis 2:4b as a second creation narrative is almost never challenged, questioned, or even examined in modern scholarship; not even by scholars who, disenchanted with the Documentary Hypothesis(/es), do not keep company with those who ascribe authorship of the first narrative to P and the second to J. That this second narrative involves creational themes is undeniable; whether that warrants the genre-label "creation story" is not. That it contains elements parallel to features in the first narrative is true, but such parallelism does not in itself point to it as independent of its precedent account; and such independence is both an assumption and a consequence of the genetic division. Nor is independence a necessary consequence of such dissimilarities as in the deployment of the names of God or indulgence in anthropomorphisms. The only persuasive basis then for the independence of these pericopes and their separate origins would be in such discrepant or contradictory items as the following: the creation of humankind, male and female, in a single action in the first account as against the discrete steps of that creation in the second; the creation of the animals before man in the first account, and after his creation in the second, and--no more; these two exhaust the list of discrepancies.

That these two do, indeed, constitute discrepancies and not contradictions will emerge from our poetic analysis of this second story and from its comparison with the first narrative. In a word, we shall see that Scripture begins with that narrative technique, the synoptic-resumptive, the first story constituting the former and the

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