Narrators of the Bible

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REL 1010 Understanding the Bible
First Response Paper

Philip Heil
5 February 2013

Directly compare and contrast the two creation narratives (P and J narrators) relative to: a) Each narrator’s literary and style differences; b) Portrayal of God (including name) and the subtle yet important theological differences in the portrayals of God; c) Portrayal of human in each narrative; d) Ultimately what do you think was the primary purpose of each of the writers and the creation story collectively…. and do both “P” and “J” narrators in your opinion accomplish this goal? Please use Biblical narrative examples for all the above.

The differences in styles of the two narrators in the bible are apparent when the text is looked at from an objective point of view. In the two separate creation stories you can see an obvious difference in literary style and the interpretation of the creation of not only the earth, but also male and female. Both the Yahwist and the priestly narrator have a different account of the creation, with a different name for God, different priorities on the creation of human kind and its relation to God, and a different order for the way things were made (Reed, 2013). While it is clear that both narrators appear in the first part of the creation story, we only see the J narrator, or the Yahwist narrator, in the second part, the fall of man.

When we analyze the text of the first creation story, we see some key differences that separate this narrator from the Yahwist narrator. The priestly account talks of Elohim dividing the creation into six days, each day carefully planned and arranged to make the Earth habitable for life, and each day followed by another in a very symmetrical sequence. At the end of each of his creations, Elohim ends his statements with “Very good,” showing that he takes pride in his work. The bringing up of humans, man and woman, in his “likeness” and “image” does not come about until the sixth and final day of creation,...
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