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A Critique: Genesis 1-11

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A Critique: Genesis 1-11

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  • Feb. 24, 2013
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A Critique

The article I have chosen for this critique assignment is “Genesis 1-11” written by J. Rogerson. He made it known clearly to his readers at the beginning of his article that the article aims to deal with separate questions: (a) How did the presumed Israelite readers of Genesis chapters 1-11 understand these passages? (b) What do we mean when we classify Genesis 1-11 or parts thereof as myths or mythical? These are the two goals the article aims to achieve. In order to do this, the author of the article divides the article into 16 sections, with each of which focusing on a particular issue which is either problematic or controversial. Some issues touch on broader areas (e.g. One Creation Story or two?) whereas some others are concerned with the life events of particular characters in Genesis (e.g. Cain and Abel). All these issues/topics, whether broad or narrow in appearance, do have a wide scope of theological implications.

In the first section of the article, the author explains that the Israelite readers can understand Genesis 1-11 because the stories in chapters 1-11 were compiled from ancient traditions about origins which the Israelite shared with other ancient Near Eastern neighbours whose folk tale motifs enable the Israelite readers to believe in the contents of Genesis 1-11. Regarding the question of ‘myths’, the author claims that he is convinced by Müller’s approach to myth: the narratives of Genesis 1-11 are more or less the same as their similar traditions from the ancient Near East, even if the latter are polytheistic and the former is monotheistic. Section 2 tells us that Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, is probably a summary statement of what God had done, and the words in verse 2 “darkness” and “without form” suggest something sinister about the unformed earth which was chaotic. Section 3 of the article tries to distinguish between ‘Creation by Word’ and ‘Creation by deed’. An...