From: Robert Schneider <>
Date: Thu Feb 19 2004 - 17:04:32 EST

Regarding possible sources of the Genesis 1 account of the creation, Gordon
Wenham in his Word Commentary on Genesis reviews the arguments for different
sources. He notes the scholarly consensus for a dependence on "Enuma
elish," and also Lambert's critique of the arguments for this account. He
then reviews briefly the discussion on a possible relationship with the
Atrahasis Epic, but notes that there are several dissimilarites. Then he
reviews the claims that there are closer parallels in Egyptian literature,
but concludes that "it is doubtful whether the parallels cited actually
demonstrate dependence upon Egyptian sources." He concludes that the
writers were probably aware of a number of creation accounts in the near
east of their day, implying that one need not conclude the dependence was
limited to the Babylonian account: "The author of Gen.1 therefore shows that
he was aware of other cosmologies and that he wrote not so much in
dependence upon them as indeliberate rejection of them" (vol. 1, pp. 8-9)

Having taught both the "Enuma elish" and Gen. 1 in tandem several times over
the years, I am not ready to abandon the notion that the Gen. 1 writer had
the Babylonian text in mind when he penned the Gen. account. There are
enough parallels to take seriously the argument that the writer knew the
myth, whether in the Assyrian form that has survived, or in some other form
that has not. One can still agree with Wenham that Gen. 1 was written in
deliberate rejection of both the political and theological proclamations
that underlie "Enuma elish."

Bob Schneider

----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald Nield" <>
To: "Keith Miller" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 4:08 PM

> Keith Miller wrote:
> > Graham E. Morbey wrote:
> >
> > Reading the Creation story of Genesis as anti-idolatry polemic is
certainly valid, in my estimation. But it is not the whole story because
literary genre and structure need also to get their due. For this, let me
suggest an article by Rikki E. Watts, "On the Edge of the Millennium:
Making Sense of Genesis 1" from Hans Boersma, ed., Living in the Lamblight,
(Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 2001). p. 129-151. Watts is quite
persuasive in showing that the Egyptian influence on Genesis is more
important than either the Babylonian or Sumerian. He states, " Surprisingly,
although Israel had just spent 400 years in Egypt, relatively little
attention has been given to Egyptian creation accounts which one might
otherwise expect to provide the dominant background against which Genesis 1
was heard or read.. And considering that Genesis is traditionally described
as one of the books of Moses, from a literary standpoint it seems right to
read it in the light of Israel's
> > exodus." (pp. 138-139).
> >
> > The chapter "What says the scripture?" by John H. Stek in the book by
"Portraits of Creation" also discusses the Egyptian creation mythology. I
agree that more emphasis on the Egyptian cosmology would seem warranted.
> >
> > Keith
> >
> I do not disagree with Keith, but I point out that if Genesis 1 is a
Priestly story to be dated in the time of the Exile or thereabouts then one
should expect a closer correspondence with Mesopotamian cosmology than with
Egyptian cosmology. I am not an expert on this subject, but from what I have
read on the subject I get the impression that there is indeed a closer
correspondence -- and that is something that would agree with the dating.
> Don Nield
Received on Fri Feb 20 17:05:55 2004

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