The Creation of Heaven and Earth: Re-Interpretation of Genesis I in the Context of Judaism, Ancient Philosophy, Christianity, and Modern Physics

By George H. Van Kooten | Go to book overview

CREATION IN THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

FLORENTINO GARCÍA MARTÍNEZ


Introduction

The topic of creation in the Dead Sea Scrolls can be approached from many different perspectives. A few years ago, we concentrated on the 'micro level,' on the two parallel accounts of the creation of man and woman in Genesis and on its interpretation.1 The idea of this year's meeting was to focus on the 'macro creation,' and my task was to examine how the 'creation' on this level has been interpreted in the Scrolls. To me this implies a certain level of abstraction, of going a step further than the narrative of the biblical text of Genesis in which God's creative action is described using the verb

but where we do not find an abstract name to designate the divine action or all things created. In fact, this level of abstraction, if we may judge from the absence of a name for the results of God's creative act in a general way or this action in itself, is absent from the entire Hebrew Bible, with the exception perhaps of Num 16:30, which is a notoriously problematic verse.


1. The abstract substantive for 'creation' in the biblical texts

Within the discourse of Moses which precedes the punishment of Dathan and Abiram, the MT puts the following words into the mouth of Moses:2

[I]f these men die as all men do, if their lot be the common fate of all
mankind, it was not the Lord who sent me to do all these things;


,3 so that the ground opens its mouth and swallows them

1 G.P. Luttikhuizen (ed.), The Creation of Man and. Woman: Interpretation of Biblical
Narratives in Jewish and Christian traditions
(TBN 3), Leiden 2000.

2 According to the JPS translation.

3 'But if the Lord brings about something unheard of' according to the JPS transla-
tion.

-49-

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