Lucien S Carroll wrote:
> > Genesis 1 is a theological and (perhaps) liturgical text that proclaims
> the God of Israel as the creator of the world and of humanity. It uses
> ideas about the physical world current ~2600 years ago
> This is the second time that i've seen you give ~600 BC as the date of the
> writing of genesis, and i guess it surprises me. This certainly isn't my
> specialty, but 600 BC seems pretty incongruent. The level of detail in
> Joseph's story for example, or the correlation between the structure of
> deuteronomy and akkadian-era (if i remember correctly) fealty covenants,
> or the finding of the "book of the law" in the time of josiah, all seem to
> indicate that the pentateuch was atleast primarily written in the time of
> moses or so. To clarify on josiah's find, either it was written then and
> passed off as ancient (which would be devastating to any claims of even
> theological authority) or there really was a lost book (deuteronomy
> (?)) found.
> I do think there is a high possibility of later elements slipping
> into the text, but to attibute it all to that late seems a bit of
> stretch. I'd like to know on what basis you date it that late, or atleast
> point me to a critic whose opinion you trust.
My reference to ~2600 years ago had to do with the first creation
account of Genesis, not the whole book of Genesis. If that's correct then the
composition of the whole book in its present form would be no earlier than
that, but it could include a good deal of older material.
Many biblical scholars today date the 1st Genesis account to sometime
around ~550-450 B.C. and the 2d account a few centuries earlier, 900-1000
B.C. A resource on this is Conrad Hyers, _The Meaning of Creation_ (John
Knox, 1984). Modern commentaries on Genesis (Von Rad, Westermann,
Brueggemann, &c) can also be consulted.
One reason for dating Genesis 1 shortly after the Babylonian exile is
that its theology seems intended to counter Babylonian polytheism. The world
is not made from the body of a defeated chaos monster but is created by God's
command and is good. The heavenly bodies are not deities that control the
world but are created in the middle of the creation week for specific
purposes. Human beings are not made as slaves to do the dirty work of gods and
goddesses but are given dominion over the earth.
Genesis 1 has a mature theology in which Yahweh is the only God of the
whole universe, not just the only God to be worshipped by Israel. In that
regard it has connections with Isaiah 40-55, which are now often dated ~540
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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