Genesis

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The book of Genesis is the first of the books of both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles.

The first eleven chapters tell the story of the Creation (Chapter 1 and the first few verses of Chapter 2), the Garden of Eden and the story of Adam and Eve (Chapters 2-4), Noah and the Flood (Chapers 5-10), and the Tower of Babel (Chapter 11). Chapters 12-24, tell the story of Abraham, the patriarch of the Jewish people who entered into a convenant with God to make the Jews his special people. Chapters 25-36 tell the story of Jacob, one of Abraham's grandsons. Chapters 37-50 tell the story of Joseph, which provides a prelude to the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt told in the next book of the Bible. The stories are linked with geneologies.

This book of the Bible is associated with more of the divisions between religion and science than any other. For example, most of the disputes over Teaching Evolution flow from a literal intepretation of the first eleven Chapters of the book of Genesis.

The "tradition" is that God dictated the text of Genesis in words and letters to Moses. Many historically oriented scholars see multiple authors of the early books of the Bible, distinguishing between the parts of the Bible in which God is referred to as Jehovah (the J portion), and those in which God is referred to as Elohim (the E portion), as well as the contributions of a Redactor, who merged to two accounts (the R influences, sometimes associated in the "tradition" with the Biblical figure Ezra). Some historically oriented biblical scholars also see the E material in Chapters 1-19 of the Book of Genesis, and the E material in Chapters 20-50 of Genesis as coming from distinct sources.

Harold Bloom's book, "The Book of J", popularized a particular version of this theory which viewed J as a woman and as the J material as particularly creative and important. This view is not necessarily widely held, in exactly that form, in the scholarly community.

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