Re: Four rivers revisieted
Thu, 15 Apr 1999 23:38:54 EDT

Ray has noted that

<< At least two archaeologists have argued that the 'four rivers of
Genesis' appear to correspond to four rivers that ran during the
Wet Neolithic (7000 - 4000 BC or so).

The references are:
Hamblin, Dorothy. 1987. "Has the Garden of Eden
been located at last?." Smithsonian (5):127-134.

Sauer, James A. 1996. "The River Runs Dry:
Creation Story preserves historical memory."
Biblical Archaeology 22(4):52-57, 64.

Both archaeologists felt that the story of the Garden of
Eden refered to rivers that would have been dry at the
time Moses codified or wrote the Pentateuch.

If that is the case, then how would Moses have indicated
these rivers?

Just as Noah's flood has spawned a number of theories as to exactly what
event lies behind the story, so it is with these rivers. Assuming that
these two archaeologists happen to be right, Moses would presumably have
spoken of rivers that had dried up. Cf Josh 3:17, I Kg 17:7; Isa 19:6,11.
But, the narrative in 2:11-14 does not sound like a reference to something no
longer present. I know of no translation that puts the existence of the
rivers in the past tense. At the very least the passage is referring to
river beds still clearly discernable in the days of Moses.