Saturday, February 6, 2010

Acknowledging the use of literary structure in Genesis 1-11

Sometimes when you read all the debates over the nature of Genesis 1-11 and whether it should be interpreted via the grammatical historical method or use genre to guide the exegete towards the meaning of the text, you get the impression that for those that take the days of Genesis 1 as 24 hour periods that we don't accept any literary markers in the text. That there isn't a literary structure to the text.

Advocates of the Framework Hypothesis for example make a big deal out of the phrasing "And God said Let there be ... and God saw that it was good ... and there was evening and morning the Nth day." declaring it to be strophes and thus semi poetic, and then they point out the literary feature of the seeming parallelism between days 1 & 4, 2 & 5, 3 &6.

Now I don't reject such literary structure, indeed I think that the Lord is focusing the reader on some very important points, points which are discerned by first investigating the text grammatical historical method. However, I do wonder by the same token whether those that reject the literal interpretation and that Genesis 1-2 are historical, in the sense of being actual events that took place, whether they have taken on board the literary structure that runs from Genesis 2:4 all the way through Genesis 12 marked by the phrase "this is the account of", running from the creation account all through the narratives to Abraham in Chapter 11, who is clearly an historical figure.

The fact that we have chronological narrative doesn't exclude that there is also the presence of literary structure.

In Christ,

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