It reflects a literary austerity, an abstractness that rigorously avoids the fray of mythic conflict, on the one hand, and eschews the pathos of ancient poetry, on the other.Its closest intellectual cousins are found among the cuneiform astronomical diaries of ancient Mesopotamia.
It reflects a literary austerity, an abstractness that rigorously avoids the fray of mythic conflict, on the one hand, and eschews the pathos of ancient poetry, on the other.
One could call it chaos, but not in any mythically threatening sense.
Darkness, water, and emptiness do not make a monster. To find the deity creating from nothing (ex nihilo), one must look elsewhere in the biblical tradition (e.g., 2 Maccabees ; see May, 1994).
While the six-day schema exhibits a well-calibrated correspondence, the symmetry is not perfect.
Within its literary patterning, Genesis 1 features a number of "nonpredictable variations" (Middleton, 2005, p. Vegetation, for example, occurs on the third day, concluding the left column, even though plants, like the animals, populate the land.
As a whole, the Genesis account charts the progressive differentiation of the cosmos from a formless chaos to an intricate structure that supports the diversity of life.
Keywords: Genesis, cosmology, light, temple, Big Bang 1.5-17; for a general discussion of the relationship between Mesopotamian astronomy and science, see Rochberg, 2004).In this brief essay, I examine the ancient cosmology of Genesis 1, the best known, but by no means the only, creation account in the Bible (see Brown, 2010).This concluding act vividly changes the earths primordial condition from its formless state of barrenness: the earth is no longer a "void" (tōh) but a fructified land, providing the means for sustaining life on the land.Covering Days 4-6, the right column reports the filling of these domains with their respective inhabitants, from the celestial bodies, which "rule" both day and night, to human bodies, who exercise "dominion." The creative acts on Days 5 and 6 specifically change creations primordial condition from "vacuum" or emptiness (bōh) to fullness (Tsumura, 2005, p. Genesis 1, in short, describes the systematic differentiation of the cosmos that accommodates and sustains the plethora of life.In the course of the Genesis narration, both the domains and the "members" of these domains reveal an overarching symmetry as the following table illustrates. Their chronological ordering gives rise to a thematic symmetry.According to their thematic correspondences, the first six days of creation line up to form two parallel columns (see Mc Bride, 2000, pp. Days 1-3 establish the cosmic domains, which are subsequently populated by various entities or agencies (Days 4-6).Read vertically, the two columns address the two abject conditions of lack described in Genesis 1:2, formlessness and emptiness.The left column (Days 1-3) gives form to creation, with Day 3 climactically depicting the growth of vegetation.Compared to the rough-and-tumble drama of the Babylonian myth of creation, the Enūma Elish (late 2nd millennium BCE), Genesis 1 reads like a dispassionate treatise.Through the near-monotonous repetition of literary motifs and structural devices, the Bibles first account of creation resembles more a report than a story, more an itemized list than a flowing narrative.