GEN 1: 26
Although Gen 1: 26 may be an isolate within the Priestly tradition, it shares much in common with non-Priestly texts. It shares linguistic features that include the semantic, discourse, and pragmatic. It shares a basic form-critical structure. And it may share an awareness that gods exist in God's realm. To this extent, P's story of human creation is not an isolate within a larger biblical context.
5.1. Form-critical analysis indicates that Gen 1: 26–27 conforms to an older, pre-Priestly model.
Then God said,“Let us make humankind in
our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over
the fish of the sea, and over the birds of heaven, and over the beasts, and
over the whole earth, and over everything that moves on the earth.” So
God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created it,
male and female he created them. (Gen 1: 26–27)
Such an analysis shows, in fact, that Gen 1: 26–27 exhibits every formcritical component of J's nonliteralclause (see §2.5.3).
5.1.1. To begin with, when P's God proposes the creation of humankind, he opens his speech with(v. 26aβ). Technically, this form is ambiguous; the imperfect and cohortative of final weak roots are usually not distinguished in the morphology but are expressed by the selfsame ending .1 The interpretation of , however, is clear enough. Not only does the clause-initial position of the verb suggest the cohortative reading,2 but a comparison with the jussives that engaged other acts of creation reinforces its desiderative sense. This speech therefore begins like that of Gen 11: 7, 11: 3.4, and Ex 1: 10, with a desiderative proposition. In form-critical terms, Gen 1: 26 “begin[s] with direct speech,” in which “a speaker formulates … (i) a directive or assertive utterance (represented by a cohortative or imperfect, respectively).”
1 See §2.3, intro. with n. 35.
2 Alviero Niccacci, The Syntax of the Verb in Classical Hebrew Prose (trans. W. G. E. Watson; JSOTS 86; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1990 ) 78, 94, by implication.