Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel

By Michael Fishbane | Go to book overview

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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