In His Own Image and Likeness: Humanity, Divinity, and Monotheism

By W. Randall Garr | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
THE PREPOSITIONS ט AND ב

The grammar of Gen 1: 26a is unusual (see §0.3). At first, v. 26a conforms to grammatical expectation. The proposal to create humanity is introduced by a desiderative predicate (

) and is then followed by an undetermined direct object (). Thereafter, though, two different prepositional phrases appear in immediate succession. Neither phrase is semantically or grammatically required. They each contain a similative nominal yet are governed by a grammatically distinct prepositional head. They each present information rhetorically peripheral to the sentential core. Hence, the differential marking of each nonobligatory phrase suggests that each phrase has distinct meaning, at least in relation to one other.

Gen 5: 3 is often adduced to prove the contrary (§0.3).1

When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he fathered (a son)

. (Gen 5: 3a [PT])

then God said, “Let us make humankind

.” (Gen 1: 26a
[P]

Like 1: 26aβ, 5: 3aβ is headed by a highly transitive verb of creation (

). The direct object—omitted as an obvious, generic, and contextually less salient entity than the fathering agent2—is viable, newborn, and human. So too, the final constituents in 5: 3aβ are a pair of nonobligatory prepositional phrases that recycle the same prepositions, similative nouns, and syntax as in 1: 26aβ. These two passages are clearly similar, then, even though the prepositional phrases themselves

1 E.g., Josef Scharbert, “Der Mensch als Ebenbild Gottes in der neueren Auslegung von Gen 1,26,” in Weisheit Gottes—Weisheit der Welt. Festschrifl für Joseph Kardinal Ratzinger zum 60. Geburtstag (ed. Walter Baier et al.; 2 vols.; St. Ottilien: EOS, 1987) 1.250.

2 See J. C. L. Gibson, ed., Davidson's Introductory Hebrew Grammar ~ Syntax (4th ed.; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1994) §89, Rem. 4, in conjunction with GKC §117f. Cf. Ronald S. Hendel, The Text of Genesis 1–11: Textual Studies and Critical Edition (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) 49–50; and, differently, Howard N. Wallace, “The Toledot of Adam,” in Studies in the Pentateuch (ed. J. A. Emerton; VTS 41; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1990) 19.

-95-

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In His Own Image and Likeness: Humanity, Divinity, and Monotheism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Culture and History of the Ancient near East ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Note on Translations and Citations xi
  • Abbreviations and Symbols xiii
  • Preface 1
  • Part One - God and the Gods 15
  • Chapter One - The Plural Pronouns 17
  • Chapter Two 23
  • Chapter Three - Gen 11: 7 45
  • Chapter Four - Gods 51
  • Chapter Five - Gen 1: 26 85
  • Part Two - The Divine-Human Relationship 93
  • Chapter Six - The Prepositions ט and ב 95
  • Chapter Seven 117
  • Part Three - Creating the World 177
  • Chapter Eight - The Priestly Cosmogony 179
  • Chapter Nine - God's Victory over the Gods, and the Elevation of the Human Race 201
  • Bibliography 241
  • Text Index 279
  • Word Index 291
  • Author Index 293
  • Culture and History of the Ancient near East 307
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