Talk:Genesis creation narrative/Archive 10

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Archive 9 Archive 10 Archive 11


Requested move

Suggestion 1: Creation according to Genesis

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was alternative move suggestion discussion started (see below). --RegentsPark (talk) 18:22, 22 April 2010 (UTC) [[:Genesis creation myth]] → Creation according to Genesis — The article was the most Stable under this name, Secondly if the first thing we have to say in the introduction is a defense of how "it is neutral"; than odds are it is not neutral. Weaponbb7 (talk) 17:44, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

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'In this Discussion Please dont use Straw man Arguments, they insult both the User writing them and the Users Reading them'

* Support The article was the most Stable under this name, Secondly if the first thing we have to say in the introduction is a defense of how "it is neutral"; than odds are it is not neutral Current title seems to be a POV-push of how it is just myth; whether or not it is a myth or not in academia. It is unacetable to label something held as sacred to half the world (Jew+Christian+Muslim), This is not Censorship but common sense. The instability of This article since i think an acceptable middle ground would run something like

"Creation according to Genesis refers to the text found in the opening two chapters of the book of Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible. This text has been identified as a creation myth by scholars,[1] and has religious significance for Christians and Jews."" (AFA Prof suggest two months ago)

Weaponbb7 (talk) 17:44, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
  • OPPOSE "Creation according to Genesis" implies reality, it is inaccurate and in disharmony with other articles about other creation myths. This article is not religious propaganda. We have already discussed this at great length and we will not have a small minority of editors force their ideology down everybody's throats. · CUSH · 18:40, 25 March 2010 (UTC).
According to Genesis is just what it is. if people want to take Genesis and take it as literal fact that is their prerogative. Weaponbb7 (talk) 18:48, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Cush, I think you're shying at shadows - does anyone think "Creation according to the Rig Veda" would imply acceptance of the Vedas as history or fact? PiCo (talk) 04:22, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support - It's high time this POV-pushing sham of a title was put out of its misery and restored with something more sensible and less partisan. The current title was only chosen for the sake of its offensiveness value. I think the few editors who insisted on this title have already received all the mileage reward they're ever going to get, hope they enjoyed it. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:53, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
  • OPPOSE Why does Christian-judeo religious belief deserve special treatment? The genesis creation myth clearly meets the definition on the Myth page of wikipedia as a "sacred myth". We haven't gone around changing Greek Mythology to something like "Heros and gods according to ancient Greeks". Christian Mythology refers to this as one of a body of myths. Myth: "academic use of the term generally does not pass judgment on its truth or falsity". Myth: "a myth is a religious narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form" -- the term is neutral from an encyclopedic perspective. If this is changed, then the Myth article needs to be changed to say something like "Myth means that the story is false". I don't think you'll find a source on that to use as a reference! Reboot (talk) 19:03, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Actually, theologians have never agreed on a scholarly definition of "myth", and it is a complete fiction to pretend that they ever have. (Sources.) Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 19:48, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Not sure why that is important. I'm fairly sure anthropologists and archaeologists would use the term quite casually. What's your point? Reboot (talk) 02:08, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I thought your point was that this was a supposedly 'formal' definition, and my point is that there has never been any such thing as an agreed 'formal' definition. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 13:39, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Labattblueboy, Observe the Archives since beginning of of those 7 weeks the past seven weeks have generated more controversy than any all the other section of the archive combined.Weaponbb7 (talk) 19:27, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Indeed I am aware. I went through the discussion and saw no indication that consensus has changed and frankly, I am really not a fan of seeing multiple move requests in a short periods of time. Its sets a poor precedence for people inputting request repeatedly until their desired result is achieved. You will find that my positions is quite consistent in such cases, wherein I will support moves if consensus has changed or been formed and oppose when move request are continuously hammered. I should note that I am certainly open to changing my position if consensus is clearly shown to be 'Creation according to Genesis'. My opposition is entirely based on a procedural motivation.--Labattblueboy (talk) 19:35, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
You call this consensus? I'd hate to see a page you thought didn't have one!EGMichaels (talk) 19:47, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not the one who makes the call one way or the other. All I can say is that two different admins, who are both extremely active in the requested move area, thought so.--Labattblueboy (talk) 20:01, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Actually, the last admin had the same reaction I did -- there was no consensus and a third title should be found. I then tried to bring folks together to brainstorm for a third title and was gamed beyond anything I've ever seen on Wikipedia.EGMichaels (talk) 21:22, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I believe I could support Genesis creation story. Yes, it breaks with the mold of most articles but I think it's a good compromise in alleviating the deadlock.--Labattblueboy (talk) 03:21, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support The move to Genesis creation myth was out of line with the umbrella content of the article and has proven to be highly disruptive and POV. Although I do see the benefit of a Genesis creation myth article as a study of Genesis in relation to ancient near eastern myth, within the literary genre of myth -- the very people promoting the title "Genesis creation myth" are the same people who oppose limiting the article to that genre. Since the advocates of "Genesis creation myth" cannot limit the content of the article to that subject, we should return the article to its previous NPOV title.EGMichaels (talk) 19:20, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support There was nothing wrong with "Creation according to Genesis." It's clear, descriptive and perfectly neutral. Why use the loaded word "myth" in the title of this article, where it will be misunderstood and viewed as provocative by many readers? The technical term "creation myth" should be introduced in the body of the article where its neutral scholarly intent can be made crystal clear.--agr (talk) 20:26, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Weak Support I've always been uncomfortable with the "myth" language. I would prefer "Creation according to the Book of Genesis" b/c I think "Genesis" alone is a little ambiguous. But the proposed title is better than the current title. NickCT (talk) 20:32, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Abstain—votes belong to sources not editors—I choose to represent Julius Wellhausen, who says Genesis 2 is myth and Genesis 1 is not. But Julius and I graciously conceed that a vote of Wikipedia editors is more likely to establish what will help readers better than stuff written in books. Alastair Haines (talk) 21:24, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
But they're both Creation Myths (as defined as a religious account of the creation of life, the earth, universe etc...) hence why the title is appropriate. Nefariousski (talk) 23:20, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
On behalf of Julius Wellhausen, I can pass on that he has changed his mind, he wrote in 1878 that Genesis 1 is "sober reflection" but that Genesis 2 and 3 are "marvel and myth", but he is willing to change his mind since Nefariousski must know better than he does. :)) Alastair Haines (talk) 06:24, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support - "myth" carries a negative connotation. JFW | T@lk 21:34, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong Support When terminology used by regular people and academics don't match, the rule on Wikipedia is to use the common term. All of the arguments that "myth" isn't dismissive of the account may be true, in an academic context. But that isn't relevant. Story and account are neutral terms, which do not have either a denotation or a connotation which favors one side of the question of the account's historicity. I would be willing to compromise with either Genesis creation account or Genesis creation story, but Genesis creation myth is intentionally and unnecessarily incendiary. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 21:38, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Abstain—which has the advantage that one can do it multiple times—this time I represent the Oxford English Dictionary, which I'm reliably informed isn't permitted sufferage at Wikipedia, unless an editor chooses to give it a voice.
myth 1. A purely fictitious narrative usually involving supernatural persons, actions, or events, and embodying some popular idea concerning natural or historical phenomena.
Alastair Haines (talk) 21:50, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Alastair Haines, i dont think any one hear is debating whether it is a creation myth, but whether it is necessary to be in the title. As an anthropologist i agree its the Genre but lets be it as the Genre and not as the title. Weaponbb7 (talk) 22:11, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Dear Weaponbb7, I am personally sympathetic to your proposal, but my opinion is irrelevant. I have simply attempted to give votes to the OED and Julius Wellhausen, who clearly agree with you that the current title is deficient. However, I'm still running around as fast as I can, listening to dead people who can speak intelligently to support your alternative title. Julius does call Genesis 1 and 2-3 "accounts" (at least in the English translation). Julius writes so lucidly and lyrically that I'm charmed away from listening to others. Must go, the dead are clamouring to be heard. Alastair Haines (talk) 22:23, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support a move to a neutral name without a POV problem. Grantmidnight (talk) 22:29, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose, with alternatives okay. "Creation Myth" is a standard term, with quite an anthropological pedigree. And it can be used for verifiable events, so long as it refers to a ritualized, collective imagination of how they happened. See, for example: "The scientific culture is no exception; we have our own scientific creation myth called cosmology" [1]. Still Genesis creation account or something similar sounds just peachy, too.--Carwil (talk) 22:37, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support-ish—grrr, I forbid anyone to count this as a vote—Genesis creation account, Genesis creation narrative and Genesis creation story seem deficient as alternative titles for this topic. Too many scholars doubt that what is being offered in the early chapters of Genesis is simply an account or narrative of creation. The Sabbath thingy, for one, has everything to do with what people actually do, rather than merely what might have happened. And some people still get married don't they? If people want this article to discuss creation in Genesis, then that is what it should be called (and it covers more and less than Genesis 1-2). If people want it to discuss Genesis chapters 1 and 2, then that is a rather odd division of the book, since chapters 2 and 3 are married to one another. Why Creation according to Genesis, when in is shorter than according to, and implies somewhat less? Alastair Haines (talk) 22:42, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Alastair, thanks for your vote. Seriously, though, how is "story" anything but neutral? If anything, it can be seen as meaning something made up. It certainly doesn't imply that it happened, even if you think "account" would. I think Genesis creation story is probably the best choice. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 23:13, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Noooo! Dat no vote! Yukyyy! The OED says: "Lisa is right, story is neutral, myth is not." The only problem is Julius Wellhausen and others think Gen 2ff are a story, involving borrowings from other myths, BUT (and it's a big but) Gen 1 is a "sober reflection". Not only that, "image of God", "Sabbath", "original sin", "marriage", etc. go beyond a mere alleged account of an alleged creation, in the view of many scholars. Perhaps, although Julius might not agree with Lisa, most other scholars would: "story" is a richer word than account, permitting "morality play"-type interpretations. Lisa may understand better than other editors here that Genesis is more about telling people how to understand the now rather than the then. I guess that does make it a story, but other editors might not be interested in those story parts, just the parts that are about creation, which they think are an alleged (and demonstrably false) narrative. Alastair Haines (talk) 23:33, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
    • Strongly Support BOTH #1 Creation in Genesis; #2 Creation according to Genesis. But to my honored colleague Alasair Haines I must say, drat it! While you were writing your above thesis proposing the dropping of "according to," I was writing my below thesis supporting it. Why have none of us proposed Creation in Genesis 'ere now? It's painful to admit that it has never occurred to me.
(1) Both Creation in Genesis and Creation according to Genesis avoid unnecessary specificity such as "myth," "account," "narrative," "Gen. 1-2," "Gen. 1-11," etc.
(2) Weaponbb7 's proposal, "According to", still is a great choice. It is not even marginally POV. It is truth neutral, as is Creation in Genesis. It simply means "As stated or indicated by." The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene is a gnostic gospel not recognized as scripture by any Christian group; yet, no one objects to the prepositional phrase "According to" in its title. Christianity still accepts the title "The Gospel According to John" and it continues to be printed in many versions of the New Testament─even though many modern scholars disclaim its authorship by John. "Creation according to Genesis" is simply a good way of saying "Creation as reported by (or in) the Book of Genesis." It carries no connotation of validity. The "reputation" rests with the word "Genesis" and whatever the reader may believe about the creation narratives. But "myth" in any form carries a highly significant connotation of falsity─disclaimers notwithstanding. We collectively have wasted so much time arguing about "myth" and who has it helped? We are not writing a refereed academic journal article. We are supposedly writing for the "average reader." No one has been able to show that "myth" to the average reader does NOT mean "purely fictitious narrative."
(3) "Creation according to Genesis" was the title of the Wiki article until late 2009. It was when creation "myth" became an even more virulent Talk page issue that a very few editors decided not only to prevent any quashing of the phrase in the opening paragraph, but to put it into flashing neon lights in the "title" so that anyone offended by the term in conjunction with Genesis would be thoroughly outraged. I can think of no more neutral a title than "Creation in Genesis" with "Creation according to Genesis" a very close second.
(4) John Walton, Wheaton graduate professor of Old Testament and Ph.D. from Hebrew Union College, says: "We sometimes label certain literature as 'myth' because we do not believe that the world works that way. The label becomes a way of holding it at arm's length so as to clarify that we do not share that belief." That's hardly NPOV.[1]
(5) This all started with a move to demythologize the article (dropping "myth" from anywhere but perhaps a footnote). I was among that group. My impression today is that the non-mythers have made a huge compromise and backed off from that stance, agreeing with "myth" being listed as an a.k.a., but not in the title. It would be so nice if the "myth group" would conciliate and meet halfway. ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 23:38, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
How very astute and irenic, good Sir! It's a pity we don't have your words on the very great quality of Lisa's proposal. If we are to extend some kind of literary classification to the title, "story" seems exactly the right word to me. But if we can't all feel that we have something good to say, perhaps it is best we say nothing at all. CiG or CatG would be the way to go: "creation" first word as some people are more interested in creation de re, rather than Genesis de dicto.
Perhaps I shouldn't throw even more dust in the air, but I'm not even sure "creation" is the best word. More precise terminology would be: "origins", "beginnings", brshit (Hebrew), "archeology" (Greek), "genesis" (Latin). "Creation" is inherently POV imo, because the English language assumes the monotheism associated with the Judeo-Christian God, Yahweh. "Creation" implies an agent: "created by ..." Indeed, this is precisely what scholars identify as the radical demythologizing of Genesis 1: how is "the Beginning" to be understood? As the unilateral direct creative purpose and action of Yahweh. That is the first sentence of Genesis. Alastair Haines (talk) 23:55, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Now, now, now my dear academicians. Let's not overly confuse the fake scholasticism with real educated wit! ;-) Granted, bereshit is the title in Hebrew and not bara, but the subject matter of origins here falls pretty well into the more specific subject of "creation" rather than simply "beginning." I've been looking for that third alternative for a full month now, and Alastair has been the first to give one that avoids all the words both sides love to hate: I LOVE "Creation in Genesis." Bravo! Poli kala, ha chaver sheli.EGMichaels (talk) 01:39, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. It's pretty much been stated before; I agree that "mythology" is a POV violation. It has been brought up that "Genesis" may also have to be unambiguated, so a possible title may be "Creation according to Book of Genesis" or something like that. Backtable Speak to meconcerning my deeds. 01:25, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Comment: Backtable's proposal is a good condensing to a potentially workable consensus. Maybe I need to take a little away from other things I've proposed, though. Reference to the whole Book of Genesis might give a little too much scope, and dilute our focus. Creation in the prologue to Genesis is my best refinement of Backtable's excellent suggestion to disambiguate the Genesis part of the title. EGM's points are also taken on board here. "Creation" simply is an unavoidable term. Alastair Haines (talk) 02:08, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose': The term creation myth is the standard (and hence neutral) term. This has been demonstrated with reliable sources (many of Oxford's reference works like their Dictionary of the Bible, Encyclopedia Britannica, and relevant experts affirming what is mainstream as opposed to cherry picking sources that simply do not use the term) ad nauseum on these talk pages, including two previous Requested Moves. In light of that, allow me to point to the archives instead of retyping all of that again, though by request I'm happy to dig them out again. Some important notes: This RM presents no new information from the past two RM's. Editors who participated in the last two RM's should be notified about this RM. Many of the support votes above wreak of WP:IDONTLIKEIT. Lofty "It's POV" claims (presumably a violation of a neutral POV) tied to support votes without supporting reason or reliable sources should be discarded as a waste of bandwidth. Ben (talk) 04:08, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
What does it matter that it's the standard academic term? Wikipedia needs to be understandable to the average reader. Everyone understands "story". You know that the average reader doesn't understand "myth" the way academics do. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 04:29, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
"Wikipedia needs to be understandable to the average reader." For once I find myself supporting Lisa - will wonders never cease. PiCo (talk) 04:33, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Lisa, the problem is not so much that "the average reader" doesn't "understand" myth the way academics do, but rather that the editors promoting the use of the term do not use it in the way academics do. In the archives are reams and reams of arguments on the falsehood of Genesis. When pressed to give any example on any subject in which the term myth would NOT mean "false", Ben slapped me with an ANI for being unreasonable! Even after I gave an example of how several academics (Tolkien and Lewis) used the term in a pivotal conversation (in which Lewis converted to Christianity precisely BECAUSE it was myth), Ben et al were still not able to follow my lead. Given that the editors promoting the use of the term "myth" are not only unable to use it in an academic sense, and even accused me of being unreasonable for requesting such an academic sense, they can no longer be taken as credible promoters of said "academic" sense. I do know that Alastair is capable of using the term in this way, as is Afa Prof. But then, they are academics in real life (and don't just play it on WikiTV).EGMichaels (talk) 11:46, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Curious, EGM, that's a very long way of saying "Lisa is right". I'm surprised at PiCo's surprise at supporting Lisa: she's made some of the briefest and best contributions to this discussion imo. But I'm new here, forgive me. Alastair Haines (talk) 12:34, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
No, Lisa's not "right"; Lisa is "quite right." Just wanted to add a bit there! There is an irony here: those who can use "myth" in a non prejudicial way are also able to use synonyms instead. Those who demand to use the term myth, however, are clearly doing so because they are trapped in a prejudicial use. Those who claim an academic use, then, are clearly not doing so precisely because of their adamant refusal to consider anything else. This isn't the ASV, and we aren't stuck with some rigid concordance here.EGMichaels (talk) 14:05, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure the editors here appreciate your speculation into their motives. --King Öomie 15:10, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
King, take a look at that pointless ANI Ben hurled at me and see the repeated arguments that "well, it's not fact." And the "unreasonableness" Ben was accusing me of? Uh, asking for any example on any subject in which "myth" is used for something that is not false. That's not speculation on my part. It was hurled in my teeth on the ANI. You can't cram something down someone's throat and then accuse him of "speculation" when they gag on it.EGMichaels (talk) 17:00, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Not to mention the sock puppet crap Weaponbb7 (talk) 20:29, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Hey, whatever works, right? I haven't seen much of Deadtotruth after that. And to be honest, I haven't been so motivated myself.EGMichaels (talk) 20:41, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
@Ben Tillman-what case would you make for naming this article "Genesis creation myth" when neither of the sources you've listed above (Oxford's Dictionary of the Bible and Encyclopedia Britannica) refer to it by name as the "Genesis creation myth" or even contain the phrase? Although they do describe the story as a "creation myth" they do not refer to it by that name, and the reader entering that search term is "redirected" to articles with alternative titles. I've checked the Columbia Encyclopedia--same result: no use of the phrase "Genesis creation myth". Professor marginalia (talk) 17:53, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
This article's topic does not have a name, so mainstream reference works will simply offer a description of what they're talking about. How exactly they phrase that description will obviously vary according to editorial constraints, preferences, and so on, however one thing the mainstream references do agree on is the descriptor creation myth. Our article title (description) must be consistent with other mainstream reliable sources (NPOV) up to terminology used, not word order. The current title satisfies this. As an added bonus, this article title is consistent with our other similar articles, including the main creation myth article, which is undoubtedly helpful to our readers and editorially sound. It's easy to find sources that use the exact phrase "Genesis creation myth" (I was recently reading Tree of Souls and it had no problem using that phrase), but this completely misses the point: this article's topic does not have a name. Ben (talk) 01:35, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
It isn't referred to as proper name, but it is commonly referred to by a handful of terms that are very close to a "name". The Tree of Souls probably isn't the best representative of "common usage". The book is about myth, Jewish myth, and every page in it talks about one myth after another taken from the Hebrew texts, almost none of them besides this one will have "myth" in the article here in Wikipedia. Using this book as a guide, why not Genesis flood myth instead of Noah's Ark, Myth of Enoch instead of Enoch (Biblical figure), Myths of the Messiah instead of Messiah, and the Exodus myth instead of The Exodus. (Notice again-no redirects because nobody talks this way. I will say that "Genesis creation myth", like these, is an atypical usage for most contexts--that makes it awkward to use in most sentences). Professor marginalia (talk) 03:31, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. The present title is leading to confusion and instability. Incidentally, Genesis 1-2 is only one of a number of places where the Hebrew Bible deals with creation - it might be more inclusive if the title were Creation according to the Hebrew Bible. PiCo (talk) 04:15, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Regarding PiCo's point, it's beyond the Hebrew Bible. For example, Gen 14:19; 14:22; Deut 32:6; Eccl 12:1; Isaiah 27:11, 40:28, and {{Bibleref2-nb|Isa|43:15}. Several New Testament passages also affirm the Genesis 1-2 creation narratives: Rom 1:25; Col 3:10; 1 Pet 4:19, and others. They are affirmed by Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew[19:4] and Mark[10:6]. Not only is it a creation account, narrative, story, and anything creation myth might represent, Genesis is the beginning of the development of the doctrine of creation to the Christian faith. According to "The doctrine of creation" in The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine, "among all the theologies, myths and theories, Christian theology is distinctive in the form and content of its teaching. It is credal in form, and this shows that the doctrine of creation is not something self-evident or the discovery of disinterested reason, but part of the fabric of the Christian response to revelation." The Apostles' Creed, recited in thousands of Christian churches every Sunday, begins: "I believe in God the Father, maker of Heaven and Earth." That foundational theology comes from Genesis. ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 05:11, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm very impressed with PiCo's ability to both to modify his position slightly in response to other opinions, and more importantly to extend the proposal in a direction that allows key reliable sources to be recruited to help us give readers a complete picture. Like PiCo and AFA Prof01 I agree we could helpfully expand the article, without it becoming unwieldly, by incorporating scholastic analysis of the well-known Genesis passages alongside a substantial but very countable and finite set of "creation and myth" related passages in Hebrew Bible and New Testament. I lean more towards PiCo's suggestion, because extending to the New Testament means we'd be inclusive of Christians, but exclusive of Muslims and Mormons. Expanding to incorporate those movements would make this article cumbersome.
Perhaps some of the boffins here could allay any concerns the rest of us might have, by giving a list of the "creation and myth" related passages most pertinent to addressing the issues most readers would be interested in regarding the first few chapters of Genesis. I do remember once personally finding very helpful, scholastic examination of various Psalms and Job in comparison and contrast with Genesis and the surviving ANE literature.
I'm also particularly keen to hear back from editors opposed to the current proposal. I want to ensure that we have heard them clearly, that we are all aware of the sources they cite in support of their position, and that every possible attempt is made to reach a common mind, rather than a "lowest common denominator" compromise. If they're not very active, I may take up their cause, as best I can, to ensure we don't crowd out important sober criticisms in the current, apparently rather one-way direction this discussion seems to be going.
But to be very specific just now, AFA Prof01, Sir, how do you feel about keeping things to just the Hebrew Bible? Alastair Haines (talk) 12:28, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Whether the article discusses only references in Hebrew scriptures, or includes references from scriptures Christian, Mormon, Islamic or whatever should not affect the title. The primary subject of this article is still the account in Genesis. If there is an account of creation in the Bible that is not based on Genesis (and I am not aware of any) it might be mentioned as an aside here or have its own article if there is sufficient material for one. --agr (talk) 17:08, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Agreed.EGMichaels (talk) 18:29, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Alastair and agr→I'm losing track. As far as keeping things just to the Hebrew Bible, aka Old Testament, are we saying "Creation in Hebrew Bible" (or something similar)?
I agree with agr that the primary subject of this article is still the account in Genesis─which leads to the question of how much of Genesis, but if the title does not specify quantity, then we don't need to deal with that today. I also agree that the subsequent biblical, and possibly qur'anic, creation references that are clearly based on Genesis can be handled in their own sections within the article, or in their own articles given sufficient material─also a future decision. In principle, I am amenable to most any title proposals that refer to Genesis or Hebrew, sans "myth" or any variation of that term. I also accept your concern about "creation" moving to "origin" or other more neutral synonym.
Re: New Testament. In re-thinking my initial objection and the comments that followed, I withdraw my objection to PiCo's idea. My hope is that the agreed-upon title neither demeans nor denigrates post-Genesis OT or NT references and quotes back to the Genesis accounts. Thanks! ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 23:48, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

OPPOSE "Creation myth" can't be parsed out into "Creation" and "myth", electoral college doesn't equal a university where people study elections etc... Formal / informal etc... (it's all in the FAQ) Not to mention policy support is overwhelming for current title.

(relevent sections) "Formal use of the word is commonplace in scholarly works, and Wikipedia is no consistent; referring to "Christian beliefs" and "Hindu myths" in a similar context may give the impression that the word myth is being used informally." Being that the usage of "Creation Myth" in articles (and their titles) about creation myths is near unanimous across different belief systems changing this convention for Judeo-Christian related articles violates the word and spirit of WP:WTA. A sample of the other articles are as follows:
Chinese creation myth
Sumerian creation myth
Ancient Egyptian creation myths
Pelasgian creation myth
Tongan creation myth
Mesoamerican creation myths
Creation Myth
Keeping in mind that this isn't a case of WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS since WP:WTA makes a specific example for uniform usage and the usage of "Creation Myth" is clearly the dominant usage for Religious and Supernatural cosmogenical articles.
Usage of "Creation Myth" is clearly in line with this policy. The policy states "Wikipedia articles on history and religion draw from a religion's sacred texts as well as from modern archaeological, historical, and scientific sources." The latter three almost unanimously use the term "Creation Myth" while the first describes it as a historical fact (which we should not use for a myriad of reasons that I'm sure everyone reading this understands).
At best if any reliable sources can be found that are critical of usage of the term "Creation Myth" (not myth as a stand alone since the Electoral College can not be classified as a College any more than definitions of myth, particularly the informal/colloquial definitions can be applied to the term "Creation Myth") a section disucssing this criticism should be added to the article and the main Creation Myth article but shouldn't contradict usage of the term per "Some adherents of a religion might object to a critical historical treatment of their own faith because in their view such analysis discriminates against their religious beliefs. Their point of view must be mentioned if it can be documented by notable, reliable sources, yet note that there is no contradiction."
Per the section that states "Several words that have very specific meanings in studies of religion have different meanings in less formal contexts, e.g. fundamentalism and mythology. Wikipedia articles about religious topics should take care to use these words only in their formal senses in order to avoid causing unnecessary offense or misleading the reader." editors of this article have, in good faith, created a FAQ, cited formal definitions, wikilinked to the main Creation myth article (which also has a detailed formal definition) and added a footnote to the the term "Creation Myth" to further clarify formal usage. All of which meet and possibly exceed the due diligence required to ensure that the formal meaning is understood.
Usage of "Creation Myth" in the title has been furthermore contested after the first article RM, another RM was started about a week later to remove the term from the title, that RM also was declined and closed (albeit with some arguement and complaint regarding it possibly being closed too soon). UCN tells us "Articles are normally titled using the most common English-language name of the subject of the article. In determining what this name is, we follow the usage of reliable sources, such as those used as references for the article", considering the vast majority of cited sources including archaelogical, scientific, historical and other scholarly/academic writings use the term "Creation Myth" as opposed to other colloquial variants the title meets UCN.
Furthermore the usage of "Creation Myth" abounds in reliable sources doing a quick google search shows that its use clearly meets the "common usage" section of UCN "Common usage in reliable sources is preferred to technically correct but rarer forms, whether the official name, the scientific name, the birth name, the original name or the trademarked name"
UCN also tells us "Where articles have descriptive titles, they are neutrally worded. A descriptive article title should describe the subject without passing judgment, implicitly or explicitly, on the subject. " alternatives such as "Story" or "account" imply value judgements regarding veracity one way or the other (Story most often being defined as fiction, account commonly being used in factual / historical context). Additionally changing the name causes a loss of precision (also discussed in UCN) since "Creation Myth" is the formally defined academic term and as such doesn't allow for any ambiguity (only one definition) whereas other alternatives do.
Some editors have brought up different variants of google tests that show "Creation Story" or some other suggestion to have more "hits" than usage of "Creation Myth" again we look to UCN for guidance and see "Titles which are considered inaccurate descriptions of the article subject, as implied by reliable sources, are often avoided even though it may be more common. For example, Tsunami is preferred over the more common, but less accurate Tidal wave." which tells us that accuracy should value accuracy above hit counts when colloquial and non-arcane formal terms are in consideration for a article name.
Using terms and phrases such as Creation account/story or Creation according to... Violate NPOV policy since they either provide a value judgement regarding the veracity of the creation myth in question or they assume that there is only one interpretation of the creation myth (in the account of "Creation according to Genesis". Being that even amongst religious circles significant interpretation and variation of Genesis exists usage of language like "according to", which implies a single interpretation invalidates alternative interpretations or opens the door for a myriad of alternative articles like "Creation according to Genesis (Mormon Interpretation)" et, al...
Included for reasons already stated and re-stated above

Nefariousski (talk) 23:18, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Apart from UCN those refer to article content not title. UCN actually supports the move to a neutral title.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 23:47, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
  • SUPPORT move, per user agr and WP:UCN. A title such as myth is telling people what to believe, an encyclopedia needs to be neutral.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 23:47, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
  • oppose. There's nothing terribly wrong with "creation according to Genesis", but if people are going to write (and read) an encyclopedia they ought to learn what "myth" means in a scholarly context. The use of the word has nothing to do with whether the story is true or false. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:32, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment: Akhilleus — I don't think Wikipedia has a mission to promote "scholarly" terms. The purpose of a title is to identify an article. Within the body of the article is ample space to wax eloquent on the "scholarly" use of the word myth in relation to the subject of the article. But "myth" is not an indispensable term to the basic purpose of identifying the subject of the article. Bus stop (talk) 10:40, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose: this title is neutral in that all creation myths share the same format. There is no policy-based reason for this one, or any of them, to be different. I see a lot of "I don't like it" and "it makes people uncomfortable" but no arguments based on policy. Auntie E. (talk) 00:42, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment: I've gone through the exercise of summarising arguments for and against. It seems to me that what is claimed above is close to the truth: we are getting to the point that there is little new information (see Ben's comment). The basis of conflict is clear and the relevant policy is cited by both sides and claimed in support of both positions: all points of view from the neutral point of view--WP:NPoV. The question, according to people who've posted so far, is: whether formal use of the word "myth" (see WP:WTA#Myth and Legend) in the title presents Genesis as "purely fictitious", according to the common usage of the word, which would certainly be PoV, or whether failure to use the word in this formal sense would introduce a PoV treatment of Genesis in comparison with the creation myths covered in other articles.
The support case boils down to insisting on WP:UCN and the oppose case boils down to insisting on WP:WTA#Myth. Personally, I think WP:WTA trumps WP:UCN (Though it should be noted that WTA does say formal senses of myth are diverse and recommends "use care to word the sentence to avoid implying that it is being used informally", emphasis added). Were that all there was to the matter, were I closing this discussion, I'd close it as proposal rejected.
However, there is, in fact, a lot of information that has not been presented in the discussion above. If we allow the oppose case to stand--"myth" in the title is the formal usage--then the applicability of that formal usage depends on reliable sources having a unanimous (or at least consensus) agreement on the applicability of the word "myth", in its formal sense, to Genesis or to some identifiable part of Genesis. If reliable sources diverge, we cannot use the formal sense without favouring those who apply myth to Genesis over those who don't.
So, to close this discussion, we must turn to reliable sources of information. The support case will be upheld if it can be demonstrated that at least a significant and notable minority of scholars consider Genesis not to be formally classifiable as myth. The oppose case will be upheld if it can be demonstrated that all but a WP:UNDUE minority of scholars consider Genesis to be myth in the formal sense of the word.
Because of my day job, I happen to know dozens of reliable sources that think Genesis is self-consciously demythologizing literature. And that doesn't even count Genesis literalists, who I don't spend much time reading. Even excluding that--I would think--rather notable group, there is sufficient scholarly opinion that Genesis is "anti-myth" or "polemical", that Wikipedia would look ignorant or partisan were it to title this article as though they didn't exist.
I've interacted in this thread considerably more than I intended and now I will leave it. I think editorial opinion has gone as far as it can, and nothing new will come up. It is now up to people to actually turn to reliable sources to see how they can decide the matter for us.
If anyone actually looks, they will find plenty of (non-Genesis-literalist) scholars who do not think "myth" in its formal sense is a suitable description of Genesis. Anthropologically, for example, other things, but not creation, were ritualized in ancient Israel. The formal concept of myth is absolutely important in scholastic treatment of Genesis, because, in it's day, it was the mother of all myth-busters. If you can't find the scholars who say that, you're either not looking, or you're beyond help. ;)
Best wishes to all, Alastair Haines (talk) 05:52, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Alastair WTA is about article content so how can it trump UCA which is about naming articles?--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 12:17, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
How does WTA#Article and section titles lead you to that conclusion? Alastair Haines (talk) 18:55, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I fail to see how Wikipedia:Words_to_avoid#Article_and_section_titles (the correct link, can be used in support of the present name, which is both much less common and widely perceived as non-neutral. I accept that it can be used by scholars in a neutral way, but frankly some of the die-hard supporters of the current name have worn WP:AGF very thin indeed, if you have been watching trhe page for any length of time. Johnbod (talk) 23:58, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
As I mention below, I agree with you John, the case for "myth" in the title is tenuous. However, I'm just trying to be fair. We can't write off WTA as dealing with content only. Also, I'm new to this discussion, so I couldn't express an opinion regarding WP:AGF even if I wanted to. Though I do find it hard to see how a vote or bad argument, offered in bad faith, needs any other treatment than being ignored. Alastair Haines (talk) 01:50, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Though Genesis creation story or "account" are both preferable. WP:COMMONNAME trumps the "myth" policy, and the current title is in fact strikingly rare in scholarly use as an overall term, though there is no shortage of sources treating the Genesis story as a creation myth, but that is a different matter. I won't repeat the statistics on this, originally produced by D Bachmann, but they're here. Johnbod (talk) 15:48, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I would think sources that treat Genesis as a creation myth count in favour of the current title, even if they don't show up in searches on the terms "creation myth" or "Genesis creation myth". But I don't want to frustrate people I agree with any more than I already have. Thanks for this input, John. Alastair Haines (talk) 19:12, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
This discussion is about the title. Creation myth should be mentioned very early on, and linked, but that does not mean we need it as the title. Johnbod (talk) 21:50, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose but .....yech..that "note" attached to the article name needs to go! According to WP:COMMONNAME the "neutral" arguments are irrelevant. What matters is the terminology most commonly used. Using that standard, and my several very ad hoc hit counts (scoping google, google scholar, google books, the handful of online reference libraries I have access to and printed sources I've collected on the subject) to gauge common usage in reliable sources (and without the wiki padding the counts), Creation according to Genesis is the clear loser. But first is "Biblical creation story", no "myth", or Genesis creation story. Next come Genesis creation account or Biblical creation account. Both versions using "myth" fall way behind. However Creation according to Genesis is very clearly in last place. The fact that neither "Biblical creation account" or "Genesis creation account" have redirects, even while they're far more often used terms than "Genesis creation myth", is telling in itself, but having witnessed I don't know how many edit battles over pipes like [[Genesis creation myth|Genesis creation] ], I will say both the pro and anti "myth" fiends are scratching their own private itch and need to put the guns away and defer to sources. Give It a Rest already. Professor marginalia (talk) 06:13, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose for two major reasons. First and most important, there is much academic work to support the current title for the article as legitimate and reliable. Second, the proposed alteration flagrantly violates the same policy that others accuse the current title of violating: WP:TITLE. We are told to avoid "pedantic" titles and I don't see how Creation according to Genesis (or another fanciful concoction like Creation according to the Hebrew Bible) is anything but a contrived title masquerading as an encyclopedic effort. It's not a common reference to the myth, story, or whatever you want to call it. You can't argue against the current title by butchering the very Wikipedia standards you ostensibly support.UBER (talk) 04:08, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Isn't it strange then that there are so many more academic uses of the proposed title, and other alternatives, than the current one? See the stats. Johnbod (talk) 01:21, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't know to which stats you refer specifically, but I do know that the word myth is used overwhelmingly in academia to describe creation accounts for cultures throughout the world.UBER (talk) 02:57, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Summary 1

The following is a summary of comments above, irrespective who offered the comments, or how many people did. Except for comments regarding points of order (or process), comments regarding the presumed motives or attitudes or alleged behaviour of other parties have been omitted.

  • Proposal: rename (and move) article
  • Main issue: word "myth" in current title
  • Alternative titles:
1a Creation according to Genesis, also
1b Creation in Genesis (choice of preposition);
2a Creation in prologue to Genesis, and
2b Creation in Hebrew Bible (choices of scope);
3a Genesis creation account, and
3b Genesis creation story (choices of genre designation).
  • Points made to Support move:
  • "myth" is not neutral (implies "purely fictitious" OED, see also WP:NPoV)
  • "myth" is PoV (e.g. Julius Wellhausen thinks Gen 2 myth, Gen 1 not myth, see also WP:NPoV)
  • Sense of "myth" is not ordinary English usage (OED, see also WP:UCN)
  • Article history shows "myth" to have destabilized content -- verification?
  • Use of "myth" in title requires explicit disambiguation in text
  • Technical use of "myth" is best introduced and applied within the article
  • Many scholars believe Genesis (particularly chapter 1) to be deliberately demythologizing in an ANE literary context (WP:RS and WP:NPoV)
  • WP:COMMON; the current title is much less commonly found in scholarship than alternatives [2].
Point of order
  • Recent change of title to include "myth" based on poor process
  • Points made to Oppose move:
  • Absence of word "myth" from title implies Genesis is factual (WP:NPoV)
  • "myth" does not imply purely fictitious (see Myth)
  • "myth" applicable in anthropology when there is collective ritualization
  • "creation myth" is an inseperable collocation, or standard phrase (no one was there at the time)
  • There are lots of "creation myth" articles at Wikipedia (WP:NPoV)
Points of order
  • This decision has already been made
  • There is no new information in this discussion -- verification?

Alastair Haines (talk) 04:36, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

  • Comment For consistency with religious cosmology, Islamic cosmology, Hindu cosmology, Buddhist cosmology etc. the correct title for this article is Judeo-Christian cosmology. Currently we have Biblical cosmology, which is not as complete and should be merged into this article, and Christian cosmology which is a redirect to Biblical cosmology. Gandalf61 (talk) 09:47, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
    Nonsense. There is so much more to this article's topic than cosmology. This article is about the creation myth found in Genesis, that is all. Ben (talk) 23:41, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support change to Biblical cosmogony or Judeo-Christian cosmogony (after corrective moves) ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 21:30, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support change to Biblical cosmology, and merge content into that article. Excellent catch. Ἀλήθεια 14:29, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment: cool new suggestion, though it suggests a survey of all existing Genesis-Creation-Cosmology related article titles currently at Wiki wouldn't go astray in helping people consider coverage with adequate information. Alastair Haines (talk) 19:02, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment for clarification: I would be glad to assume responsibility for any searches and/or corrections or redirects should this proposal necessitate it. I very much like the idea of Cosmo...(something). In strict usage, cosmology refers to the study of the universe as it is now (or at least as it can be observed now); cosmogony refers to the study of the origins of the universe. NASA had to struggle with the terms when it conducted the Genesis Mission. (Interesting that they report no struggle with the word "Genesis" and went forth with it.) It would appear that we have some Wiki article titles that might need correction. Here is what NASA has written about it:

Cosmology is the study of the structure and changes in the present universe, while the scientific field of cosmogony is concerned with the origin of the universe. Observations about our present universe may not only allow predictions to be made about the future, but they also provide clues to events that happened long ago when...the cosmos began. So—the work of cosmologists and cosmogonists overlaps.

  • Support I don't think that "standard terms" are necessarily neutral. We say holocaust denial to indicate the widespread belief in the non-Islamic world that the Holocaust is real, and that the deniers are promoting a POV that is outside of the historical mainstream. Likewise, we speak of scientists disagreeing with the "consensus" about global warming indicating that their view is within the scientific mainstream.
  • It would really help our NPOV policy if we would take pains to use neutral titles, as opposed to titles which imply support for a mainstream against a minority. Creation in the Book of Genesis is 100% neutral, in the sense that it makes no comment on whether the Book of Genesis is right or wrong.
  • The whole point of neutrality is for us to step back editorially from presuming to evaluate the veracity of sources. We merely say that A said B about C. I thought this was settled way back in 2001 and 2002, but apparently there has arisen a "consensus" that we shouldn't be neutral any more lest we mislead our readers somehow into thinking that two opposing POV's have equal validity. --Uncle Ed (talk) 00:42, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
In support of what Uncle Ed is saying above, I find at WP:AVOID: "Article and section titles should be chosen, where possible, to avoid implying a viewpoint." Bus stop (talk) 01:38, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
If "myth" were being meant in a non-judgmental way, there would be no need to retain it in favor of any other other neutral synonym (or in the case of "Creation in Genesis" no synonym at all).EGMichaels (talk) 01:46, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. I support the move from Genesis creation myth to Creation according to Genesis. The title presently on the article gratuitously carries commentary. Titles should identify subjects and go no further. The phrase "creation myth" represents a characterization of Genesis that is not intrinsic to its identity. That other articles use the term "creation myth" may or may not be justified or represent the best title for those articles. Our responsibility is to get the title right for this article. We should not rely on what in some instances may represent missteps in naming other articles. The particulars of each article should be examined individually. Bus stop (talk) 02:04, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If you want to promote biblical literalism, or protect the tender eyes of Christians, go to conservapedia. It's a creation myth not unlike all the other creation myths and we should not give it any special place of privilege by naming it in a way that falsely implies some rational basis for believing it. —David Eppstein (talk) 15:49, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
That's a straw man argument. I don't know of anyone promoting the view you seem to oppose.EGMichaels (talk) 16:09, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The terms "creation myth" and "creation mythology" apply ex vi termini to all religious traditions. Presuming exceptionalism for the Book of Genesis will not change either common English usage or basic Wikipedia policies. Keahapana (talk) 21:20, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
This isn't about exceptionalism, but about use. It is not the most common term, and in fact links in other articles require Creation according to Genesis in many places just to lure people into this article. If you have to hide behind an entirely different name just to pull readers in, why not use the functional name?EGMichaels (talk) 21:27, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing out these redirects, many of which I've corrected. Keahapana (talk) 23:51, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support This move was done in stealth without fair consultation with the religious WikiProjects who contribute to this article. It's obvious from the great deal of opposition to the move, that the reason for this is because the move couldn't have possibly occurred otherwise. It's time to change the title back. Masterhomer 02:41, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
There isn't anything stealth-like in a requested move. Given the request moves results in publication at WP:RM and any relevant projects through article alerts, a wide level of notice is normally provided.--Labattblueboy (talk) 15:12, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support I agree, this title change was a strange move, and that it's time to change the title back. I have been fully convinced by Alastair Haines arguments and his use of sources to hold up his position. SAE (talk) 12:11, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose; those who think "myth" is pov are not familiar with the correct terminology. You might as well go argue for a move from Retraction to Changed my bullshit statement (per The Fugitive (1993 film) for those of you unfamiliar with that, as well.) Ignorance is no argument; nor is faith. This is not the Catholic Encyclopedia; nor is it Conservapedia - the threshold for inclusion here is verifiability, not truth, and the rationale for terminology is and should remain accuracy. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 17:00, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment: My primary argument would not be that myth is POV. My primary argument is that myth is extraneous. A title doesn't need added commentary. A title needs essential material. The purpose of a title is identifying the subject of the article. Adding the word "myth" to the title adds unnecessary commentary. No — no one said this was the Catholic Encyclopedia — except you. You are arguing against a straw man. Obviously there are those for whom the Book of Genesis is literally true. But they are not arguing for an indication of that in the title. The article is adequately identified by a title such as Creation according to Genesis. Yes — the threshold for inclusion here is verifiability. And there is adequate space within the body of the article for exploring all the verifiable material pertaining to Genesis as a "creation myth." Bus stop (talk) 20:37, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment: The phrase, "Creation according to Genesis," is not prescriptive; it is descriptive. The Book of Genesis describes its version of how creation came about. It is not telling us how creation should come about, or will come about. Bus stop (talk) 21:09, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment -- I think "The End of the World According to the Poetic Edda" is an interesting mental exercise that demonstrates Alastair's suggested title. "The End of the World in the Poetic Edda" simply shows a literary portion of that mythos, just as "Creation in Genesis" shows a literary portion of the biblical mythos. Readers, sources, editors, and article are completely free when discussing what the text says without embedding a value judgment within the title. Thanks for the example, Science! "The Poetic Edda End of the World Myth" is both unwieldy and unnecessary. It is more off balance than Thor's unfortunate mjolnir after Loki turned himself into a gnat and spoiled the forging of the thunder hammer. But "The End of the World in the Poetic Edda" is far superior. Perhaps we can make a small aside (while I'm offline for Pesach for the next two days) and explore the proper title for Ragnarok. OF COURSE "Ragnarok" is the best title, but only because it has such a snazzy name all to itself. Let's assume it didn't have such a cool name and come up with a different hypothetical title, using the same arguments we have been using about the present article. If a particular argument becomes recognizably silly (or unnecessary) for "Ragnarok" then we might see it easier. The first thing I would like everyone to notice, though, is that the title is not "Ragnarok myth". The "myth" is unnecessary.EGMichaels (talk) 21:24, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Friend, I like your prefered title a lot. Cosmogony specifies which parts of the Bible we are interested in conceptually, without assuming location or literary genre, nor even the kind of cosmogony—a solo creator. Those specifics we can leave to the sources. I'm rather embarrassed you attribute any reasoning to me, personally. I've tried very hard only to present the views of others, and views from quite different perspectives at that. Reasoning is something we can all do and share, it doesn't belong to any individual. But thanks anyway. Alastair Haines (talk) 13:39, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. The word myth is misleading to the average user - most are not academics. rossnixon 01:47, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment I think that Genesis creation myth is absolutely fine, as I explained in the previous section. Stop these misguided attempts to change the title.UBER (talk) 04:14, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
NOTE: SECOND VOTE Johnbod (talk) 01:21, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
What are you talking about? This is a vote on a different issue, or am I mistaken? That's the impression I was under. I cast the first vote in opposition to renaming the article Creation according to Genesis (or some other variant of that title) and the second vote in opposition to renaming the article Judeo-Christian cosmology or another similar variant.
Either way, this is not really a vote and Wikipedia is not a democracy. The reasoning behind my decision is more important than whether I said support, oppose, or something else.UBER (talk) 18:15, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
I've changed it to say "Comment" now.UBER (talk) 06:54, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - the name is entirely factual. It is a myth (in both senses of the word), relating to creation, contained within Genesis 1. (talk) 10:35, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm pretty sure I've said why before - this is an encyclopedia, not a popular journal. The name is correct and we shouldn't be taking into account the sensibilities of some people, which is that the effort to make the change is doing. WP:MOSIslam is analogy where we don't cater to the sensibilities of another religious group. The article should also use some of the material in the Encyclopedia of creation myths By David Adams Leeming & Margaret Adams Leeming, if anyone can get hold of a copy. As for the average user, well, we explain it, that's what encylopedias do. Dougweller (talk) 10:57, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Doug, for actually giving a vote to a reliable source of the PoV that Genesis contains a creation myth. Scholars of comparative literature have a voice alongside those of ancient languages, biblical studies and theology. What would help more, though, is a source that makes it clear that there is no other PoV. Alastair Haines (talk) 13:10, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Genesis is a very broad topic, and having one article on it will (and is) leading to edit warring. Better is to have a couple of articles: one focusing on the religious aspect (Book of Genesis) and one focusing on the literary/anthropological/sociological aspect of Genesis as a creation myth in the formal sense of that term. This article should be the latter. The current name seems very accurate, and although I understand that many readers may not fully appreciate the term "creation myth" that is no reason to change the article's name. --Noleander (talk) 13:26, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support - The last title was clearly much more stable. This one is a mess. If someone wants to write on the current popular view of "Genesis 1 AS as Creation Myth" then please start your own article. This article began as a description of the creation on the world as Genesis interprets/sees it. As a source that is well over 2000 years old, I believe there is reason for analyzing it as it presents itself, rather than through forcing every reader to see it through a 21st century structure/outline/category. Leave it be, and start your own elsewhere. (talk) 20:54, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Gotcha. So what you are saying is that Creation is real and only the view on it may differ. That is an irrational, unscientific, unencyclopedic, and hence unacceptable POV that has neither a place in the article nor in its title. The position that the creation tale in Genesis has whatsoever truth about the actual origin of the world is invalid, as it is completely detached from reality due to its source in faith and subsequently only in people's minds. · CUSH · 21:30, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
You make absolutely no rational sense. Genesis is not my pov -- at all. Genesis is Genesis' own pov. don't shoot the messenger, I didn't write it. and don't get mad at me because some person/people 3000+ years ago did not feel the need to see or care whether or not Cush would vehemently disagree with their position or not. ha! fact is, genesis is a literary giant and it deserves to be analysed for it's opinion. Cush's views however, because they have not such wide renown, are just pov, no matter how much you throw your arms in the air and yell "irrational, unscientific, unencyclopedic, and hence unacceptable." (talk) 01:17, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
As long as you just report what Genesis says there is no problem. But as soon as you make the claims expressed in Genesis the POV of Wikipedia you stop contributing to an encyclopedic article. · CUSH · 01:22, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Are you changing your vote Cush? "As long as you just report what Genesis says there is no problem." In which verse does it say it is a "myth"?
"As soon as you make the claims expressed in Genesis [you adopt its] POV". So you'd be in favour of distancing the article from its subject by use of a phrase like "according to Genesis" (i.e. not according to Wikipedia). Alastair Haines (talk) 13:10, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Genesis IS a creation myth. Creation myth is the term for a story of the origin of the world by supernatural means. Don't tell me that the opening chapters of Genesis are anything else. Why don't you just take a look at the Creation myth article and then tell me why exactly Wikipedia should treat the Judeochristian creation myth differently from other creation myths. Would you do that? · CUSH · 13:50, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Dear Cush, I like you. I had a real go at you. You didn't bite back. Instead, you asked me to READ something ... much more constructive.
Impressed by that, and feeling that reading is a responsibility necessarily fulfilled before speaking I did look at Wikipedia's Creation myth article. I was a little disappointed, but hardly surprised. At least it could cite Encyclopædia Britannica for its own definition of "myth". However, Britannica has a less assertive, more precise and clear definition of "myth": "Symbolic narrative of the creation and organization of the world as understood in a particular tradition."
I'm not that interested in what Wikipedia articles say about things, because many of them depend on the opinions of Wikipedia editors rather than reliable sources. Wikipedia content is produced by a years-old ceremonial edit-war called a "proposal", at which editors cast votes rather than actually reverting one-another. Whichever side gets the most votes is deemed to have won the edit-war, unless an administrator with a different PoV jumps in to close the "discussion" first in favour of her or his own opinion. Fortunately, Wiki policy forsees this as a problem and makes it clear that Wiki itself should not count as a reliable source.
So, let's use Britannica as the basis of our original research instead. Yes! Genesis 1 most certainly is a "myth" under the definition provided by our reliable source. In fact, I particularly like Britannica's phrase "symbolic narrative". As a biblical scholar and theologian, I can confirm that this is precisely the way I understand Genesis 1. Is it now acceptable for us to retain the current title because Cush and Alastair Haines applied the Britannica definition to Genesis 1 and found a match?
Well, unfortunately it isn't, because you and I haven't published our opinion. That's not too much of a problem, because other people have published precisely the same opinion. But, the main problem is that party-poopers like biblical scholarship's own "Darwin", Julius Wellhausen have published views that distinguish Genesis 1 from myth. Partly that's because myth is being used in a slightly different way to the Britannica definition. In fact, myth is a bit of a slippery term. There's more to the story of what myth means in technical usage than Britannica can adequately summarise in a single sentence. If that were not so, why bother writing the rest of the Britannica article? Britannica provides a general all-purpose definition, trusting readers to exercise judgment in how rigidly they apply it. They are interested in giving a good description of the concept of myth, not in giving a good description of the content of Genesis.
How good is myth as a description of Genesis? We need Genesis experts familiar with myth, just as much as we need myth experts familiar with Genesis. The former actually carry more weight, because this is an article about Genesis, not about myth. Indeed myth is very much a part of understanding Genesis, according to Genesis experts, but it is a problematic term to use to describe Genesis.
To conclude. Alastair Haines agrees with Cush that Genesis is a myth (in Britannica's sense). However, because several scholars (whom I've read and some of whom I've cited), who know much more than me, see Genesis as "sober reflection [as opposed to] myth", "anti-mythological", "demythologizing" and "polemical", I can only conclude that they would not vote in support of the current article title, which means the current title reflects only one strand within scholastic description of Genesis. It is a PoV. So, unless this is to be a PoV fork article, it should not retain the current title. As mere editors, I don't think we get sufferage, so any "vote" I cast here is merely a proxy for those to whom WP:RS actually limits sufferage. Alastair Haines (talk) 15:44, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
But does your Julius Wellhausen (whom you so inadequately call "biblical scholarship's own Darwin", which is creationist-speak) give the reasoning why Genesis is not a creation myth like all the others? How is Genesis symbolic? A symbol for what? And how can a text that so obviously recycles other creation myths not be a creation myth itself? You still fail to convey the actual arguments why the tale in the opening chapters of Genesis is not a creation myth. What exactly is there more to the story that distinguishes it from other creation myths? It's a deity performing incantation. How is that special among the plethora of stories about the deeds of gods? · CUSH · 16:40, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Now you're talking Cush! Questions, questions, questions! Great questions! Questions addressed by thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of sources. Questions that have different answers and different rationales in different sources.
This is not WikiAnswers, though. It is an encyclopedia documenting questions asked by scholars and their analyses of the issues. You're giving us an outline of the sub-topics we need to cover. Superb!
But, the best of your questions, imo, is "how can a text that so obviously recycles other creation myths not be a creation myth itself?"
The key words in that question are "obviously" and "recycles". Is recycling obvious to an untrained eye? Or do we need sources? Do they all agree?
Alastair is obviously recycling Cush's words. How can Alastairs obvious recycling possibly be saying anything other than what Cush has already said?
Alastair Haines (talk) 01:40, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
The recycling might not be obvious to the untrained eye, but then the person with the untrained eye is not supposed to participate overmuch in an encyclopedia article, right? We want experts to be our sources. But how far does expertism go when it comes to the mythical and ultimately the supernatural? What experts and reliable sources are there for the supernatural? Really hundreds of thousands? I suppose we both know the answer to that.
And as for the recycling itself, we both know that the Bible extensively recycles tales that are classified as myth in this encyclopedia and in academia. So it is only logical thet the biblical tale is itself myth, or do you assume that myth suddenly turns to something else, namely an accurate historical account, when it is told by the biblical authors?
What it comes down to, is still the question whether Biblical Creation is real. That is the only criterion that would set the Judeochristian idea of the world's origin apart from other ideas of the world's origin. · CUSH · 16:47, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
In 2001 the Conservative Movement of Judaism released a commentary stating as follows:
The most likely assumption we can make is that both Genesis and Gilgamesh drew their material from a common tradition about the flood that existed in Mesopotamia. These stories then diverged in the retelling.
So from that significant perspective, Genesis is not recycled from Gilgamesh, but parts of both go back to an original tradition. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:03, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Precisely, Til. This is like saying that humans are descended from chimpanzees. They are not. Both are descended from a common ancestor.EGMichaels (talk) 17:08, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
What the heck are you talking about? Have I said anywhere that Genesis were some kind of textual copy of Gilgamesh (to use the example) ? I have not said that nor even hinted at. I say that the way that YHWH is described creating the world in the opening of Genesis bears resemblance to much older traditions that the authors of Genesis have certainly read of, namely Babylonian and Sumerian creation myths. I am not so stupid as to suggest any verbatim copying, rather a copying of concepts and general stories. The Flood story is another example. Of course the details are different, but the idea is the same (and even parts of the overall story).· CUSH · 17:26, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I think it's important to understand that Genesis is its own species here. If we insist on too close a copying from Babylon we may miss parallels to other traditions, such as Egyptian.EGMichaels (talk) 19:52, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
The bulk of the Genesis stuff derives from Mesopotamian traditions. Most important of all, the biblical characters until and including Abraham are all Mesopotamian. Also, the Genesis text was assembled during and after the Babylonian Captivity and was subsequently prefixed to the Exodus material.
In the Ancient Middle East a constant and extensive exchange and mingling of ideas, beliefs, rituals was going on, so there was no cultural or religious isolation as many people erroneously assume today. The root is in fact Sumerian, even Egyptian tradition derive from that source. · CUSH · 20:07, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Although Mesopotamian accounts are the oldest preserved in writing, that does not necessarily give them precedence. Campbell, for instance, argues for an Egyptian primacy for most oriental mythology. I have not yet read his volume, however, on occidental mythology. I think it's important that we editors don't take our pre-existing knowledge for granted. We are not the ultimate sources here, and need to do research in which we learn as we go, rather than merely plop down whatever we can cherry pick from our own backgrounds. In other words, Wenham and Campbell both give Egypt more credit than you do, and I suspect they may be better sources than either you or I.EGMichaels (talk) 20:50, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Cush, I'm not sure you're using "myth" in the way that Alastair or myself are using it. "Myth" is a literary desgination as much as anything else, involving symbolism. Santa Claus is a "true myth" (as a metaphor for parents). Those are real presents being left under the tree. While "Santa Claus isn't real" is a great sandbox conversation, after a certain point people start to see that it isn't a lie, and they grow up to tell their own children the same myth. There are three approaches to myth, then: 1) believing it as literal, 2) not believing it as literal, and 3) believing it as metaphor. We need to move beyond 1 and 2 and get to more interesting things.EGMichaels (talk) 17:05, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh please, save us your symbolism talk. Myth is just a story involving the supernatural or the mystical, there is no requirement of any symbolism. Fables include heavy symbolism and they are not necessarily myths. If a deity says "let there be light", what kind of symbolism is there included?
And how the heck is Santa Claus a metaphor for parents? You keep throwing around words like allegory, symbol, metaphor, and I am really not sure whether you are clear what these words in fact mean. · CUSH · 17:35, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Apollo doesn't literally drive chariots through the sky, but the sun does move. Santa doesn't literally leave presents under the tree, but there are presents there.EGMichaels (talk) 19:52, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Your point being? · CUSH · 20:07, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus.EGMichaels (talk) 20:50, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose move, the title is accurate and neutral and in line with academic sources. We already know that some people think Genesis is literally true, that is their issue not ours. They can find a title more to their liking at Conservapedia. Guy (Help!) 18:22, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Guy, I think you have it backwards. Those promoting the myth title do so because they believe the text to not be literally true, while refusing to accept the academic use of the term "myth" as a "symbolic narrative." Had my "symbolic literary structure" phrase been affirmatively promoted by the "myth" side in the Words to Avoid guide, I would have easily sided with the "myth" side of the discussion.
The problem, then, is that the "myth" side is INSISTING in a "literal" take on the narrative -- a take neither accepted by the "non-myth" editors nor by academic sources. Ironically, it is the "non-myth" side that is open to academic use and not the "myth" side.EGMichaels (talk) 18:40, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Guy the current title is not in line with academic conventions at all. This text is most certainly a myth, and it is conventional to consider it a creation myth, but it is not conventional to use the phrasing that currently makes up this title when referring to this narrative. It does happen, to be sure, but other options are much more common. Those who keep on claiming this phrasing is the academic norm, despite being presented with evidence to the contrary appear to have little knowledge of what is "in line with academic sources". I'm sure there are patrons of Convservapedia and other biblical literalists who would be happier to see creation myth taken out of the title, but what the heck does that have to do with this? This sounds like guilt by association. "If you don't agree with my view of this you must be one of them ... one of those 'others' who by definition are incapable of contributing neutrally to an encyclopedia." I think its time for some people here to realize that there are a lot of good faith efforts going into this discussion on both sides of the aisle as well as a slew of people who really don't seem to be on either side of the proverbial aisle in the first place.Griswaldo (talk) 23:47, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Summary 2

Many of the points noted in the first summary were supported by editors posting both in support of or opposition to reverting the current article title to the prior one. Only new (or substantially rephrased) points are included in this second list. It is noted that the 7 day period mentioned in the proposal header expired some time ago. Alastair Haines (talk) 16:23, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Proposal: rename article
  • Main issue: word myth" in current title
  • Main new alternative titles:
Genesis Cosmology (universal world-view)
Genesis Cosmogony (theory of universal origin)
  • New points made to Support move:
  • cosmology and cosmogony reflect technical descriptive usage without the ambiguity of technical usages of myth
  • cosmology and cosmogony are neutral with regard to the truth-value of the theories they describe
  • cosmology and cosmogony are attested in the titles of Wikipedia articles, similar or related to the current one
  • Note: one editor offered to do the work necessary to generalize this terminology to article titles deemed appropriate
New point of order
  • clearly no consensus for current title, should revert to last title
  • New points made to Oppose move:
  • removing "myth" from the title advocates the biblical literalist PoV and censors a PoV offensive to Christians[3]
  • religious literature purporting to address universal origins is everywhere mythological and should be noted as such without exceptions[4]
  • ignorance of the meaning of myth is no defense under the law of "Wikipedia is not censored"[5]
  • "Creation according to Genesis" means "Creation proceded according to the description in Genesis"[6]
  • Genesis has an entry in the Encyclopedia of Creation Myths[7]

Alastair Haines (talk) 14:49, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Are you our great summarizer now? You still fail to explain why and how the Judeochristian creation myth is different of should be treated differently from other creation myths. · CUSH · 14:58, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
If you disagree with the summary, feel free to change it. I provided it as a service, not as a statement of my own opinion, nor as any claim to authority. Only reliable sources have authority at Wikipedia. Though there are certainly plenty of urban myths here to the contrary of that.
Regarding why this topic might need different treatment, there are sources quoted on this talk page that answer your question, Cush. Though I agree with you, those arguing for a change of title have not addressed that objection explicitly. I can't know for certain, but that might be because they don't see it as a particularly strong objection. Are all religions the same, in all aspects? Are they in this one? Alastair Haines (talk) 15:52, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Observation by Jimbo (Transplant From Jimbo's Talk Page)

"I would say it is clear that you do not understand neutrality - and if there is anything on that page which creates this misunderstanding, it needs to be fixed. Neutrality means that Wikipedia should not take a stand on any controversial issue - it is absolutely the case that we should factor in whether or not people would be offended when working on an article title when that offense stems from the title making a controversial assertion with which they do not agree. The goal is not to "not offend people" but rather to ensure that Wikipedia is not taking a stand. Give the facts in the body of the article, give them in a manner that everyone can agree with, and name the article accordingly. "Genesis creation myth" is blatantly and obviously not neutral on the key question of whether or not this story is true. We should not, equally, choose a title which suggests that the story is true, for example "Creation" without a qualifier would be a bad title for this article. Or How God Created The World - very bad. But "Creation according to Genesis" or similar does the correct thing - it avoids drawing any conclusion about that bit. The key here is that there have been produced, as far as I have seen, no arguments against that title that have been persuasive at all." --User:Jimbo Wales. [8]

Clearly I respect the opinion of our founder, but I'm also very skeptical about what he's saying here. For example, Wikipedia takes decisive and brutally honest stances on "controversial" issues such as Evolution and Global warming, which are both among our best articles. We don't say "Climate change" or some other such hogwash that politicians have been recently publicizing in lieu of Global warming. We call it like it is: the Earth is warming, so the article is called Global warming. The current title does not take a stand on the issue; its title and its content reflects the information found in reputable sources. No one is trying to be offensive here, and it's really difficult to predict how any given person is going to react to any random Wikipedia article. People take offense at very unexpected things sometimes. Our job is not to worry about who we might "offend," but rather to worry about accurately presenting reputable sources. This policy gets amended a little bit when we're dealing with living persons, but even then we can report "controversial" information if it's found in reputable sources. I just fundamentally disagree with the rationale of Mr. Wales.
But here's what's also funny: even if you agree with Mr. Wales, the argument he presents appears to advocate removing the word myth from any and all articles that currently contain it. If, in his opinion (and not, by the way, in the opinion of academia), the word myth could somehow refer to the falsehood or veracity of the account, then all those other articles also violate WP:NPOV and need to be retitled. Like I said, I don't agree with his reasoning, but I'm trying to flesh out the implications of his ideas, which reach far beyond this article.UBER (talk) 18:39, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
@Jimbo Wales: Please explain why you object to Genesis creation myth, but not to Chinese creation myth, Sumerian creation myth, Ancient Egyptian creation myths, Pelasgian creation myth, Tongan creation myth, Mesoamerican creation myths. In what way is the Judeochristian idea of the world's origin less a creation myth than the others?
As has been discussed here at great length before "Creation according to Genesis" is not neutral language. "Creation according to A", "Creation according to B", "Creation according to Genesis" implies that Creation is real and only its description varies. · CUSH · 19:09, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
I'll have to side with Jim here. Genesis 1-2 contains a creation myth/sacred history/allegory/foundational religious document/metaphor/a dozen other things you can call it. Mythologists will argue that it borrows from Mesopotamian and/or Egyptian sources, while biblical commentators will often as not argue it is an anti-mythological polemic. While the subject of Genesis as myth and in relation to myth certainly must be addressed, the title should be worded in a neutral manner. I'd add that the title should be worded in an accessible manner. The "Genesis creation myth" title has spawned at least a half dozen other forwarding titles because no one would think of looking for the subject under that title. While I do regard it as a creation myth, it would never occur to me to look for the cosmogony of a living religion under a title normally used for an extinct religion. If you have a title so bad that you need a bunch of forwarding titles to get you there, why not just use one of those forwarding titles?EGMichaels (talk) 11:19, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Re: Cush -- as far as I can tell those are all extinct religions. The terms "myth" and "religion" are often used to differentiate between dead and living belief systems. It's not really a value judgment so much as a historical designation. It's not really neutral to call a living religion a myth because there is always someone to argue about it, but all the proponents of a dead religion are, well, dead.EGMichaels (talk) 11:22, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
First of all, there are always some people who still adhere to "extinct" beliefs. Second, it is a fallacy to assume that present beliefs are somehow less mythical than past beliefs. And it is a pretty arrogant self-righteous position also. Sumerian or Egyptian religion were certainly more beautiful than the modern one-dimensional abrahamic ideology. And to call King Solomon less mythical than, say, King Arthur is simply ridiculous. · CUSH · 11:31, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure we're connecting on the term "neutral." To be, er, bland, "neutral" is that place you and I aren't arguing before we even begin an investigation of a topic.EGMichaels (talk) 11:44, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
To call past beliefs myth while you imply your current belief is something else, is not neutral whatsoever. Any wording that sets one religion over another is not neutral, no matter how extinct you think a religion is. If you take the position that YHWH has a different reality to it than, say, the Greek pantheon, you leave the neutral position. · CUSH · 11:52, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
You keep acting like I'm personalizing this in some way. I'm not. Islam is a religion. Judaism is a religion. Christianity is a religion. Mormonism is a religion. Hinduism is a religion. I most certainly do NOT believe ALL of these religions; I merely recognize that people do. At one time the Norse beliefs were a religion. While one could argue that all religions are mythologies, not all mythologies are religions (see Religion#Myth). Tolkien's mythology is not a religion because no one believes it. Therefore, one could see a "religion" as a specific subset of "mythology" in which adherents still exist.EGMichaels (talk) 12:18, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Ah, but once the religions that have adherents today were contemporary to religions that have in the meantime fallen out of popularity. A religion is a concept and as such is timeless. Also, I see no structural difference between current religions and past ones, especially since current religions derive from past ones. Judaism is so pumped full with Zoroastrianism and Christianity with Mithraism it is just dishonest to draw any dividing line as if there were a substantial difference between adherence to myth and religion. Religion is just the ritualized adherence to the mythical. Time is irrelevant when it comes to the alleged supernatural. · CUSH · 12:45, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
The distinction is made in what is a significant viewpoint nowadays. The argument of ancient religions being followed today seems out-to-lunch. I've seen absolutely no evidence of any significant population of followers of ancient pagan beliefs, who take the Greek myths seriously today, or who specifically object to their being agreed upon as "myths" by everyone. (If there is, show it) That's why currently-held widespread and significant POVs are treated so different from extinct ones, and that's a complete red herring analogy. On the contrary, the one neo-pagan group that has even a barely noticeable size, Asatru, has specifically issued statements that they do consider the Norse myths to be myths, and do not take them as true, nor object to their being called myths. So we can say that there is no demonstrable POV objecting to the Norse sagas being treated as myths; but the same cannot be said for the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, or the Sutras which are all currently widespread. So I have to agree with the other posters that Jimbo's right on this one. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 12:37, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

I concur with the founder of Wikipedia, furthermore I move that we change the article back to its original title "Creation According to Genesis" on April 5 since there have been no persuasive arguments presented for the current objectionable title. Deadtotruth (talk) 13:35, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

This new RM and the archives are full of persuasive arguments: any reason attached to an oppose vote was obviously persuasive to the person giving it. Ben (talk) 15:23, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Arguments based on false information and invalid logic typically have pursuaded not only the person who offers them, but frequently others as well. But so what? A polite critic might not come right out and say "that's false and illogical," but rather "that hasn't pursuaded me and won't pursuade others." I fail to see how the personal convictions of editors at Wiki are relevant to establishing content, or resolving conflict. Indeed, that's been argued by the oppose voters several times: we don't make decisions based on protecting people's feelings. The supporters of the move have agreed with that point. We must decide whether to move or not to move on the basis of reliable sources, policy and reason, whether people feel pursuaded the move is right or wrong is not really relevant to the decision. It is nice if everyone feels pursuaded it's right, but the only way to maximise those good vibes is to have sound sense which produces con-sensus. Sometimes people refuse to accept reason, or simply can't follow it. Those difficulties should and must be dealt with personally, but cannot be allowed to influence decision making.
That said, it's really nice to hear you caring about people's feelings, Ben, and I for one am right behind you in that. Alastair Haines (talk) 16:08, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
There is so much to read on this talkpage, that I am only now catching up with the discussion this morning below, when Cush suggested the compromise title "Biblical Creation", and several editors agreed that it is fitting. So now let me add my 2 cents to everyone else who said that this is a surprisingly good title. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 16:32, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Ben, it should go without saying that 99% of the comments here were actually believed by the person making them -- but conviction is not the same as persuasion. I could be convinced that Jesus is God or that Jesus is not God, but a simple statement either way would not be persuasive.
Further, to be persuasive one must be on point. Most of the arguments I've seen in favor of the myth title fall into several unpersuasive categories:
  • It IS myth. Sure it is, but that isn't a reason to have it in the title.
  • Every scholar says it's a myth. First, NOT every scholar says it is a myth. And second, the veracity of it as "myth" is not an argument to have it in the title (see first bullet).
  • Everyone opposing the myth title must be a raving literalist. As pointed out in the "Evolutionists only, please" thread, the vast majority of those opposing the current title accept the status of the passage as myth and accept the fact of evolution. The argument is unpersuasive because the ad hominem is misdirected.
While I share your conviction and assumptions, I have not found your arguments regarding the title to be persuasive. Neither, apparently, has Jimbo. Can we all agree that neither "myth" nor "fact" in the title is seen to be "neutral" by all parties? And can we at least agree to EXPLORE a third alternative that would actually be neutral?
My own choice of title would be something that a normal rational speaker of English would think to search for if he were trying to find the subject we are discussing. I'd rather have a title I didn't like that people could FIND than a perfectly esoteric one no one would look for. Charles Schulz positively LOATHED the title "Peanuts", but that was the only title he could get a contract for, and the rest is history.EGMichaels (talk) 16:34, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Additionally, I'd like to echo Til's admiration for Cush's "biblical creation." It's a fine title.EGMichaels (talk) 16:38, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The proposed title implies that creation happened and that Genesis documents it. This falls short in the NPOV department. "Genesis creation myth" is a correct, common, scholarly and neutral term for this creation myth. I might have not bothered to oppose "Genesis creation story", though I think that too is an inferior title. And at the moment, it would similarly be special treatment for this particular creation myth (systemic bias). Also, creating requested moves until getting the "right" result is ill-advised and disruptive if the beating of a dead horse continues aggressively enough. The recent appeal to Jimbo was quite timely. The RM backlog certainly does not need to be expanded with the same proposals again and again. Prolog (talk) 05:32, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I second that. Sometimes I think I am at a Discovery Institute website... · CUSH · 11:59, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Comment: Perhaps we need a new proposal, and an extension of time. We want a stable title and perhaps neither the current title nor the previous one will provide that. Perhaps we need to settle precisely what scope of content is expected first, then find a title for that.
Perhaps that content genuinely needs two articles: 1. "the demonstrable falsity of the picture of the physical aspects of the early universe in Genesis 1 if taken literally" (which conservative theists like myself will support, with the exception of literalist creationists, who should still be documented as a notable PoV against); and 2. "the metaphysical/theological implications of the Genesis 1 text as understood in the history of interpretation". I'm personally interested in (2), and find it rather a nuisance that people want to hijack a very important, interesting, beautiful and complex set of issues in an ongoing discussion among biblical scholars, to address the very mundane matter of (1) instead. No doubt others are just as irritated to find convoluted discussions of Hebrew grammar and debates about metaphysical nonsense, when what really matters is people being clear that Genesis 1 is most unsuited to being a science text book for school students.
Perhaps (1) is already covered in other articles? Would it hurt for it to have its own, though?
(2) still needs to work out its own scope questions: whole Bible or just Genesis 1, Genesis 1-2, Genesis 1-4? It probably needs to be bigger than Gen 1, 'cause that has its own article already.
Please note carefully, I am proposing a content fork, not a PoV fork. I suspect a good deal of recent friction is due to mistaking content differences for PoV differences. Sort that out and we just might find stability is the result.
I don't know what the appropriate process is to "roll over" this discussion into a new proposal or proposals like those I've suggested. And I'm not sure whether it's necessary. I'd particularly like to hear back from Weapon on this. Alastair Haines (talk) 15:31, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I concur on the questions of scope, and I share your interest in item 2 and weariness of item 1. I feel like I'm attempting to engage in a discussion of the thematic structure of "The Godfather" only to keep hearing "but Al Pacino isn't REALLY a criminal in real life!!!" Oy! Yes, it's myth, great -- but that doesn't END the question; rather, it STARTS the question. "Myth" is a symbolic literary structure that makes a "tale" something meaningful. I'd like to explore what makes this a "myth" rather than a mere "tale." But those who use "myth" as some kind of slap are bogging down the rest of us who are actually INTERESTED in myth.EGMichaels (talk) 15:38, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I should add that if the current name is retained, it would be desirable to quickly qualify the term by explaining what a myth and a creation myth is in the non-pejorative sense, providing a Wikilink to an article about other such myths e.g. creation myth.
On the other hand, if a move is insisted upon, then the new name should be Genesis account of Creation rather than Creation according to Genesis for reasons of NPOV discussed, and because it is probably a more standard phrase. Note that the phrase "Biblical account of [creation]" is already used in the first sentence, which I assume has also been discussed in some depth. Wnt (talk) 18:41, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
The thought is appreciated, but WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS is not a good argument. If you give reasons to believe the other page titles are legitimate the analogy might be useful, but then the same arguments might as well be applied directly to this article, so mention of the others would again be superfluous. You know?--Heyitspeter (talk) 01:00, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose this blatant novel synthesis. What kind of conceit is this? Sitting down to decide what esoteric term we can use that will be least offensive to the fundamentalists? Away with you. Guy (Help!) 18:30, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
ROFL! Can you offer anything constructive, Guy? In case you missed the point here, we're looking for anything to replace the blatant novel synthesis of the current title--an esoteric term designed to offend literalists of one kind, while leaving another complacent in their naivety. Alastair Haines (talk) 19:27, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Guy, the only people here who are taking Genesis literalistically are those who demand no alternative to "myth" in the title. In short, they are trying to disabuse the non-myth advocates of a belief they do not hold. It's like that old question, "When did you stop beating your wife?" The question is unanswerable by someone who never beat his wife to begin with. I've repeatedly (as have others) been forced to defend my own acceptance of evolutionary theory, as well as my own acceptance that Genesis does indeed contain a "creation myth." And yet I see this as a poor choice of title for several reasons:
  1. It is not being used in an academic way as a "symbolic narrative." Your own post here demonstrates this, because you keep leveling the question on whether or not Genesis is literally true, when as far as I can tell almost no one on any side of this discussion believes Genesis is literally true. In fact, you are insisting on a literal interpretation that is not shared by the consensus of those on the "non-myth" side of the discussion.
  2. The academic use as a "symbolic narrative" was in fact not supported in the Words to Avoid guidelines by the "myth" advocates, demonstrating that they were not only failing to use the term "myth" in an academic way, but were actively opposed to doing so.
  3. The academic descriptions of this narrative use a number of terms as alternatives to "myth." The "myth" advocates are adamantly refusing to even consider other terms used in academic writings. And in fact it has been demonstrated a number of times that "myth" is in a distinct minority of academic labels for this narrative.
Please note that when I first came to this page I voted in favor of the title "Genesis creation myth." It was only after finding that those advocating "myth" were doing so in a non-academic way that I changed my position to oppose the current title. We editors on Wikipedia are required to edit in a NPOV manner, using notable and reliable sources. Those notable and reliable sources offer a number of alternatives to the term "myth" that are in fact more commonly used in those sources than the term "myth" -- and those using the term "myth" are doing so with an academic meaning adamantly opposed by the "myth" editors here. We at Wikipedia cannot do this. If you wish to write a blog or a book, go ahead, but at Wikipedia we have guidelines to follow.EGMichaels (talk) 20:54, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Relax EGM. We are not voting here. Placing a signature next to the word Support or Oppose only says "I can't think of anything more to add to the current discussion, all that needs to be said has been said, as far as I'm concerned." Guy has in fact contributed, he's said he doesn't think he can do better than the arguments already put forward for the phrase "creation myth". He's not interested that Julius Wellhausen thinks Genesis 2 is myth but Genesis 1 is not, nor that Gerhard von Rad thinks Genesis 1 is anti-mythological. Alastair Haines (talk) 21:11, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough -- I'll be forced to relax anyway since I'll be involved with real life for the next few weeks. Thanks for the reminder!EGMichaels (talk) 21:34, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose move. My first preference is the current title, because "creation myth" is the commonly used phrase among the sources. My second preference would be "Genesis creation story" so long as the other creation myth articles were also moved. SlimVirgin talk contribs 05:29, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose any move away from the current title (Genesis creation myth). Creation myth is an established, accepted, and neutral concept; Wikipedia must adhere to reliable sources, and reliable sources clearly support the current usage.
    For context, I decided to do a quick, informal check using Google Books: 775 results for "Creation according to Genesis", many of which are books presenting the creation myth as fact, and 1,140 results for "Genesis creation myth" or "Creation myth in/of Genesis", many of which are books examining the creation myth from an academic standpoint.
    I noticed that a high number of publications were over 50 years old, so I decided to break down the results by time period:
Creation according to Genesis Genesis creation myth Percentages
General search
40% / 60%
94% / 6%
70% / 30%
53% / 47%
32% / 68%
32% / 68%
Results lost
131 (16.9%)
183 (16.1%)
The results are striking and, to the extent that one can draw conclusions from the sample provided by Google Books, show a clear shift over time toward usage of "Genesis creation myth" over "Creation according to Genesis". -- Black Falcon (talk) 04:05, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
A similar analysis using Google Scholar:
Creation according to Genesis Genesis creation myth Percentages
General search
35% / 65%
100% / 0%
73% / 27%
45% / 55%
26% / 74%
33% / 67%
Results lost
16 (12.3%)
27 (11.3%)
In general, both the overall pattern and the specific percentages are quite close in both analyses. -- Black Falcon (talk) 04:20, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Suggestion 2: Biblical Creation

I hereby suggest to change the title of this article to "Biblical Creation". In this the scope and context of the article is conveyed, while controversial terms as "myth", "story", "account" are avoided. Also, with this title the article can be found easily in a visitor's search. · CUSH · 19:44, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Support EGMichaels (talk) 19:47, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:41, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support i never thought it would be Cush who would come up with the the most fitting compromise Weaponbb7 (talk) 22:27, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Biblical creation is a term that would not be limited to Genesis since Colossians, John, etc. have passages that address creation. I believe that this would dramatically increase the scope of the article. I would not opppose the "biblical creation" title if the group wants to make that change.Deadtotruth (talk) 23:36, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
The bulk of the creation stuff is expressed in Genesis, the other paasages are negligible. The Judeochristian creation myth is the incantation by YHWH in the six days described in Genesis. · CUSH · 21:02, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support as one of many good possible titles. This one is particularly suitable to possibly end up being a parent article to more specific topics, which might be very much less contentious, if we end up doing the hard work sourcing the top-level conceptual focus this proposed title zeros in on. Bravo Cush! Alastair Haines (talk) 03:37, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As if a third RM wasn't bad enough, this RM is now in its own third cycle: the original by Weaponbb7 (who now appears to have abandoned it), a cosmogony/cosmology cycle and now this one. This endless cycle of WP:IDONTLIKEIT needs to stop. This article's topic is centred on Genesis, in particular the creation myth contained within, not the Bible as a whole where there is much further discussion of creation. If you feel this project could support an article with broader scope then by all means go and create it (where a suitable article title can also be discussed), but there is more than enough material on the Genesis creation myth to support an article on just the Genesis creation myth and I as a reader of this encyclopedia would be interested in an article on the Genesis creation myth. A subsection of the new article will obviously discuss the Genesis creation myth and point here for further discussion and this article should point back to the new broader article. I look forward to seeing the new article unfold, but for now the title of this article is fine as is and I oppose any change for the sake of the removal of the obviously relevant and suitable term creation myth. Ben (talk) 07:22, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment. I do not know if this is the best title but it is certainly better than the current one. If it means helping you all get over this mess then I would also support it. There are two major reasons why the current title is a poor choice and these reasons appear to be misunderstood by many of the people commenting here.
1) "Genesis creation myth" is NOT a commonly used phrase in scholarship at all. If you asked scholars from a variety of relevant fields and sub-disciplines whether or not this section of Genesis is a "creation myth" there would be widespread agreement that it is a creation myth. However, you'd be hard pressed to find these scholars actually referring to this narrative as the "Genesis creation myth." Instead you would find a wide variety of other options the most common utilizing terms like "story," "account", or "narrative" instead of "creation myth" -- again despite the fact that these scholars would agree that it is an example of a creation myth. If we were really following the scholarly view the body of the article would be clear about the notion that this is a creation myth, which it is already, but the awkward title would be gone.
2) "Creation myth" is NOT conventionally utilized in the title of an article of this type across Wikipedia. I tried starting a discussion of the actual conventions below but it went dead in the water when I asked for contradictory examples from someone who did not agree with my points. A very small minority of articles tagged with the "creation myth" category use the term in their titles, even though they make it clear right away what their subject matter is. If this article had a different title (and possibly different a scope) it might conventionally be named something like Ancient Near Eastern creation myths, and that would follow the convention. However, naming a narrative and then utilizing "creation myth" is not conventional. Anybody with two minutes on their hands can see this for themselves. Good luck.Griswaldo (talk) 12:02, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
2) Actually, "Creation myth" IS conventionally utilized in the title of an article of this type across Wikipedia. · CUSH · 13:53, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
It is used where appropriate, I think in 5 other cases - see Category:Creation myths. But most articles in this category have other types of name, as individually appropriate, which is correct. Johnbod (talk) 14:00, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Right. Please see the thread below titled "Looking past the obvious". It is used only in a handful of cases in the following formula -- "name of civilization" + "creation myth". When discussing specific narratives with other names it is never or almost never utilized. I provided examples below and have asked for counter examples but I don't see any. Good luck.Griswaldo (talk) 14:26, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support as better than current title. "Genesis creation story" or "account" are better still. I agree with Griswaldo's comments, and see mine at various points above. Johnbod (talk) 13:56, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support SAE (talk) 15:02, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Present title is neutral, factual and precise. Please stop trying to change this by proposing titles that are less factual and less precise. (talk) 20:33, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Of course the present title is neutral, factual, and precise, but unfortunately the majority of editors here are unable or unwilling to see beyond their religiosity, and they insisted that exceptions be made for their belief system. So I came up with a compromise. · CUSH · 20:49, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
...which, we hope, will also satisfy the zealots from the Atheism project who have previously insisted on this title, which is so very rarely found in scholarship. Johnbod (talk) 03:48, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
That is only because most scholarship is not religiously neutral or objective. After all, admitting that one's religion is the same stuff as every other religion means to destroy the very basis of ones faith. There is no intellectual honesty to be expected from believers. How could they possibly say that YHWH is in the same category of world views as Krishna, Horus, Odin, Zeus, and whatnot without admitting that their own personal adherence is pointless? Religious people are in a COI when it comes to determining reality or even in comparing their own faith to others. · CUSH · 07:06, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
As mentioned above, the new proposed title is inadequate, since there is more to creation in the Bible than just Genesis 1. The "rarely found in scholarship" is a red herring. If scholars refer to the content of Genesis as "creation myth", then "Genesis creation myth" is a legitimate title. There are plenty of what look to be reasonably respectable works in Google searches for the phrase (i.e. they're not word lists or link spam), and there are similar results using the formulations "creation myth of Genesis" or "creation my found in Genesis", etc. That a certain group of people choose not to use the words is precisely that order is neither here nor there, since in this case it does not result in a significant change in meaning. This compromise is a poor solution in search of a problem. Much of the points made in favour of a title change boil down to WP:IDONTLIKEIT. (talk) 06:48, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
The only reason why most editors reject "creation myth" as part of the title is their own conviction. That is why they ask for an exception that their belief system be treated differently from all the others. Since creationism and similar ideologies are on the rise it is not surprising that the war over truth has finally come to Wikipedia, after it has been going on in school boards and courts for decades now. Just look to YouTube, which has become the battleground for this in the internet. · CUSH · 07:11, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
So, why are you pandering to them? (talk) 08:08, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
It is absolutely not a red herring -- though I think the term "rarely" may be a tad too strong. I found something rather informative in the archives -- Talk:Genesis_creation_myth/Archive_7#WP:UCN. I'll copy the links to Google books, scholar, etc. here with an addition:
"Biblical creation" has by far the most hits in Google scholar but I'm not entirely sure how that parses in in terms of actually referring to the content of this article. After that "story", is the clear winner with "account" running a close second and "myth" lagging rather far behind. Of course there are scholars that use the term myth in relation to this story. Doing so may also be more normative in select contexts, like comparative religion, but those contexts are not producing a majority of the work related to these passages. The red herring comes from the false assumption that scholars tend to refer to this narrative as the "Genesis creation myth" because they agree with the categorization. I think there is another false general assumption going around that the term "myth" has some monolithic, agreed upon and neutral definition in scholarship when the real picture is not that rosy. Using the term when referring to Genesis, to Hindu narratives, to native American stories, or creation myths from any other corner of the world may carry baggage with it -- baggage that can range from the purely definitional to the ideological (see Bruce Lincoln's Theorizing Myth for instance). Of course the same could be said about terms like "religion", "ritual", "culture", etc. and the point isn't that debates and disagreements render these terms useless, but at the same time acting like these debates don't exist is naive at best. The argument from authority that keeps cropping up here is possibly the reddest of herrings.Griswaldo (talk) 13:43, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm recalling another misleading argument I've read on these pages. There are those who claim that this isn't about the term "myth" but about some more specialized term called "creation myth". Sure it is ... but that specialized term is only specialized because it describes a specific category of myth. In other words the "myth" in creation myth is 100% synonymous with "myth" more generally. This is a non-argument, but I remembered reading it because I realize that I've brought up issues involving "myth" generally and it would be nice to forgo the "this isn't about myth but about 'creation myth' rebuttal".Griswaldo (talk) 13:55, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
The use or otherwise of the exact phrase "Genesis creation myth" absolutely is a red herring. By that sort of argument, we shouldn't use titles such as Georgia (country) because nobody refers to it as "Georgia (country)" with the parentheses. It's already been pointed out that "Biblical Creation" is inadequate, since there are multiple accounts of various aspects of "creation" in the Bible. (talk) 17:24, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
That comparison is rather far from being spot on I'm afraid. 1) The current title is not "Genesis (creation myth)" and 2) the creation narrative in Genesis is part of the larger text and not one of several referents of a homonym that need to be differentiated with parenthetical clarifications. More importantly the scholarship issue has been brought up to suggest other other exacting phrases that are preferred by scholars over the current one. I'm sorry but no rationale is provided for why we should go with less common and more awkward language here. Outside of common and specialist use the logical argument is also lacking. All myths are by definition narratives (or stories). Logically it makes complete sense to call any myth a narrative. The question becomes whether or not it is preferable to get a bit more specific. Once again I wonder why we would do so when scholars chose not to most often. It would be nice to have the (pseudo)empirical evidence of scholarly usage actually dealt with head on instead of dismissed as a red herring, which strikes me as pure evasion.Griswaldo (talk) 17:55, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Griswaldo, you make some excellent points of logic that are hjard to refute. One thing, when you say "Doing so [ie defining scripture as myth] may also be more normative in select contexts, like comparative religion" - I'm not so sure Comparative religion is right either. The first thing I learned in University Comp Religion class (in the 80's, but still true today) is that the modern landscape of world religion is predominantly divided into major quadrants represented by the Bible, Quran, Vedas, and Sutras (and of course many other doctrines outside these). The second thing we learned was not to refer to any of these as "myths" or "mythology" since it was not neutral and offensive. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:29, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Was it truly a comparative religion class or a survey class of a group of religions? Either way I cannot speak to what your professor told you specifically about this and there are concurrent differences in opinion, and also fads that come and go. Note as well that I think of this as "more" normative in a field like comparative religion than lets say Biblical studies. Also please understand that I am neither a comparative religionist nor a Biblical scholar, though I think there are some folks that hang around here who have a more intimate knowledge of those fields, and they may well tell you I'm not entirely correct. However it is uncontroversial to state the modern study of myth is itself born out of comparative religion (or vice versa) and is loaded with comparitivist assumptions.Griswaldo (talk) 15:32, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Well it was a top Canadian University (Dalhousie) so it was fairly in depth course on Comp Religion, with plenty of Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist students. This particular professor was from India, I still vividly recall his telling the entire class while forbidding the use of 'myth': "This would be tantamount to saying 'my orgasms are cool, and yours are not'." Somehow, one never forgets a statement like that. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 15:52, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Personally, although I like the term "myth" and can freely use it for my own religious experience, I recognize that only Alastair uses the term "myth" the way I do -- as a symbolic narrative. It's a rather academic use of the word, and can be used positively and affirmatively for your own beliefs. C. S. Lewis is a well known example of a person who actually converted to Christianity because it was "myth." But, then, C. S. Lewis was an academic. My experience on this page is that "myth" is absolutely not being used in this academic sense. None of those promoting or open to the use of the term "myth" (other than myself) were using it in reference to their own faith. Further, the arguments being given were along the lines of Genesis not being true. Fine. It's not literally true. But neither are most stories we find so meaningful that we govern our lives by them. Who cares that "To Kill a Mockingbird" is not literally true? I even attempted to tweak the use of the term Myth in the guidelines by adding "symbolic literary structure" but didn't really get any support for that to take with me to some village pump, so I tabled it for now. In any case, the term "myth" should NEVER be used for another person's religion, period. You can use it for your own religion, or for a dead one, but not for another living religion. If you do, you are being deliberately insulting and pejorative, and to claim "academic use" as a way to insult the other person's intelligence is to triple the insult: 1) to insult him with the term, 2) to insult his "lack of academic sophistication" by taking offense, and 3) to insult his intelligence with such a baloney excuse. Let's accept that "myth" for living religions is poor form and move on. And if we cannot accept that ourselves, let's at least accept the fact that everyone else on the planet accepts it.EGMichaels (talk) 02:29, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Comment: Scholars consider Genesis 1 to be anti-mythological and demythologizing, which is also neutral, factual and precise. Calling a demythologizing symoblic narrative a myth is rather gauche, therefore hardly a title de rigeur, however true. It may be neutral, but it's still PoV taken technically. If it's taken non-technically, it's blatantly non-neutral, as well as PoV. When last I checked atheism was still a non-neutral PoV. The very essence of neutrality is agnosticism, let's stick to it please, and keep working towards consensus--a title with sense that all can see. Alastair Haines (talk) 07:22, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
How is a story involving a deity possibly not mythological? And could you please demonstrate that the overall determination of what the creation narrative in Genesis is, is by the majority of scholars, theologians, anthropologists, etc described anti-mythological and demythologizing? The only two ways that Genesis is not myth is that it is either an accurate historical and astrophysical account (and that is without any evidence whatsoever, in fact the evidence is 100% against that), or Genesis is rather a literary play and only symbolic in its meaning, but then you need to explain for what it is a symbol or allegory or whatever form of substitution you suggest. · CUSH · 07:40, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Simple answer: because there might just be a deity! Who knows? Certainly not any Wikipedia editors (as editors) and most definitely not Wikipedia.
But to address some of the issues behind what you say.
The only people in the world who think the Prologue to Genesis is literal are: 1. modern American creationists (and those who follow them); and 2. some atheists (of a rather narrow-minded type). There are scholars included in both groups, so, strictly speaking it is possible to provide reliable secondary sources for the point of view that Genesis is a very ancient and out-of-date science textbook. However, among scholars of language, literature and religion, I think it would be hard to find many who think Genesis is anything but a symbolic narrative.
Now, according to your definition, that makes Genesis not a myth, which shows you mean myth in the common usage sense of "pure fiction" ("myth", Oxford English Dictionary). But that's not actually any help to us, because we could only use the word myth in the title if we mean it in the technical sense, i.e. it is a "symbolic narrative" ("Creation myth", Encyclopaedia Britannica).
But that's precisely what everyone (except Cush it seems, and creationists) think Genesis is: a symbolic narrative--using symbols to communicate its claims about the nature of universe and the nature of its God. Indeed, the latter is far more important to Genesis in particular, and the Hebrew Bible as a whole. Genesis doesn't care about animals, birds and fish, it cares that men and women are to rule them, as they themselves are ruled by Yahweh.
Now, how on earth can we possibly know if that metaphysical/theological picture of things is true or false?
Fortunately, scholars of language, literature and religion frequently don't care (or don't dare) to try to answer such a big question. They content themselves with investigating just what the text itself is trying to say. They find quite enough to disagree about doing just that, without being distracted by the bigger question.
Finally, I don't need to demonstrate that all but an undue minority of scholars view Genesis as demythologizing, because I'm not trying to suggest the title of this article should be The anti-mythological cosmogony of Genesis. However, I've already supplied representative sources of that school of thought from the academic literature, which shows the unsuitability of the current title. The current title shows no knowledge of this strand of scholastic opinion. Whatever title we come up with needs to be broad enough to admit the full range of scholastic points of view, yet specific enough to know what we're actually talking about. That should not be hard. We need to specify only a portion of a text, without additionally committing ourselves to some evaluation of that text portion.
We can take our time, whatever Genesis was saying (our topic) won't ever change, and books that have been written on that topic will not go away. Alastair Haines (talk) 08:33, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Once more, the term "creation myth" makes no assumption as to truth. (talk) 09:17, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Everyone, except perhaps Cush, seems to know that. It's absolutely irrelevant though. Let's say Genesis is absolutely false, even in the metaphysical claims of its symbolism. It's still anti-mythological, false demythologizing it would be, to be sure, but still demythologizing. A demythologizing myth sounds like nonsense, and indeed it is. Since a notable number of the very best scholars think Genesis is demythologizing, it would be just a tad arrogant of us to ignore them and embrace the unqualified designation of Genesis as myth.
Creation myth implies symbolic narrative. I'd like for us to assert that, sybolic narrative, if we're to assert anything, though it would exclude Charles Darwin's analysis of Genesis, which I think unwise. Darwin didn't think Genesis was technically a myth, he thought it was myth in the common usage sense of the word. He was right about evolution, but wrong about Genesis, he gave up theology for biology, remember. But his PoV would have to be notable wouldn't it? Alastair Haines (talk) 10:12, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Are you kidding me? Of course the term "creation myth" makes no assumption as to truth, but wasn't the foremost argument of the opposing faction that it does exactly that? That is their point in keeping "myth" for the other creation tales but making an exception for the biblical stuff, so that the Judeochristian foundation of faith will not be presented as a fairy tale with no greater significance. And to be honest, in the parlance on the street "myth" does indeed mean "made up crap".
And btw, as for the literal understanding of Genesis: the belief that Genesis is somehow real, is the very foundation of the abrahamic religions, no matter to what extent the deity influenced the origin of the world. If there is no truth in Genesis or if it is just symbolic, then the rest of the Bible falls apart and Judaism, Christianity and Islam are finished. You will never get a religious editor to admit that Genesis is detached from reality in every possible aspect, be it as science or literature, because that would just kill their God. · CUSH · 17:34, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Creation myth implies exactly what it says - a religious or supernatural explanation of the origins of all things (for some value of "all things"). Which this is, indisputably. (talk) 17:24, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Well in scholarship it implies a whole lot more than that actually, but that is neither here nor there. In terms of what you're implying consider that "creation myth" is of the same kind as the term "red dog" -- an adjective modifying a noun in a manner that retains all the general qualities of the noun. A red dog is a particular type of dog, but it is still a dog. If your culture treated all dogs as dirty impure animals then a red dog would be treated in that fashion along with brown dogs, and yellow dogs. The fact that a creation myth is a specific kind of myth does not erase the baggage that more general term carries with it. It doesn't do so in academia and it doesn't do so in popular culture. As I stated above this notion that somehow the way people view "creation myth" transcends the baggage that comes with "myth" is a non-argument. Of course I also disagree with all the people who claim that the term "myth" needs to be avoided because of popular connotations. That's hogwash. Yet at this point that argument seems to get aired much more often by people arguing against it's phantom than by people who actually support it. Let's just follow scholarship on this as well we can.Griswaldo (talk) 18:15, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support: I cast a vote as proxy for Charles Darwin. Genesis is a "manifestly false history of the world".[9] It is not a myth in any technical sense, what hogwash. Genesis is in no way a symbolic narrative, it is a purported history, and a false one. This is my, Charles Darwin's, point of view, and I most certainly have good reason to believe other points of view exist! (Philo and Augustine jump to mind.) To be fair, we need to give them a say, so that the superiority of my own point of view can be seen clearly against opponents more worthy than mere straw men. Good day to you all. Alastair Haines (talk) 10:12, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
    • The dead don't get a vote, not that it is one. We currently define "creation myth" as "a supernatural story or explanation that describes the beginnings of humanity, earth, life, and the universe". Does the account given in Genesis 1 somehow not fit this description? Supernatural? Check. Story or explanation? Check. Beginnings? Check. Humanity? Check. Earth? Check. Life? Check. The universe? Check. Did I miss one? (talk) 10:44, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
      • Hello, As Alastair pointed out, the only people in the world who think the Prologue to Genesis is meant to be literal are: 1. modern American creationists (and those who follow them); and 2. some atheists (of a rather narrow-minded type). This leaves us with a third category of people – those who believe that Genesis is a symbolic or allegorical narrative. Group 1 believes that Genesis is literal and factually accurate – nonfiction. Group 2 believes that Genesis is literal and factually inaccurate – myth. Group 3 believes that Genesis is meant to convey symbolic or archetypal ideas and is symbolic or allegorical narrative meant to convey truth about existence. Gulliver’s Travels is a well known example of symbolic narrative. Only children, modern American creationists, and some atheists (of a rather narrow-minded type) believe Gulliver’s Travels is about a man named Gulliver who takes a trip. Everyone else knows that it is a symbolic narrative of life in England in the 1800’s meant to convey truths about the foibles of 19th century politics in England. Gulliver’s Travels is not a mythological text. Gulliver’s travel’s is not meant to convey literally accurate geographic or anthropological facts. The lilliputians are not meant to be taken literally as tiny people – they symbolize a political group. Similarly the people in Group 3 believe that the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis is meant to symbolize religious strife and is not meant to be taken as a story literally about a man named Cain – whether he existed or not and did or didn’t kill his brother is entirely immaterial what matters is the truths conveyed in the symbols concerning the nature and consequences of religious strife. So the people in Group 1 would maintain that Cain really lived and did what was written. The people in Group 2 would maintain that it is myth and not true and proceed to find inconsistencies in the account. The people in Group 3 would maintain that history has repeated the truths contained in the archetypal concept of Cain and Able throughout all interfaith religious conflicts – catholics versus protestants, pharisees versus essenes (Josephus), sunnis versus shiites, etc. Myth is not the same as symbolic and allegorical narrative. Gulliver’s travels is not a myth except to children. The prologue in Genesis like the story of Cain and Abel is also allegorical in nature except to someone like yourself who believes that Gulliver's travels is a myth. Deadtotruth (talk) 14:42, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
The belief of Group 3 is also accurately called "myth". Thus, you have one group that believes it literally true, and two groups that consider it "myth". Does anybody dispute that the subject of this article meets the definition at the head of our article creation myth? That is the only basis on which I would support a move. (talk) 17:24, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Very well said Deadtotruth (but not allegorical truth it seems:)). There are two more very large, perhaps largest groups of all, who think Genesis 1 is a symbolic narrative expressing things IT believed to be timeless truths, but which themselve believe:
  • 4. that those "timeless allegorical symbols" are nice ideas but false, and
  • 5. that those "timeless allegorical symbols" are pretty much gobbledigook (however it spelled, and doesn't matter really 'cause it's gobbledigook;).
And, sure enough, there's a bunch of other people, who think parts are this and parts are that.
Now, as a Wikipedia editor, I'm committed to not knowing who is right, when writing as an editor. My only job is knowing what the groups are, which writers have famously represented them, and in which books. Then I deliver a smorgasboard of choices to a reader, who I respect as being smart enough to be able to make the choice between the menu options (and come up with the same solution as non-Wiki-editor me;).
The important thing is, though, that I give the reader the very best of each meal available. Some of that will be all-time classics from a long time ago, other parts of the selection will be recent clarifications and major changes of direction if, and only if, there have actually been recent clarifications and major changes. There's no point in quoting crib notes on Einstein if we can quote Einstein himself, quoting the crib notes misleads the reader regarding the source of E=mc2, which could prove to be embarrassing in an examination. Unlike Einstein, Darwin's theory has be tweaked, just a little. And unlike Darwin, Wellhausen has been radically reconstructed. You can't know what people think about Genesis today, unless you know about Wellhausen, and unless you know several people since him (who don't often makes sense unless you know about Wellhausen).
That's enough for now. I do believe we were in the process of deciding what the new title should be, given the wide-spread disatisfaction with "creation myth", which is loaded with Judeo-Christian PoV in the word "creation" (which is OK for Genesis, but not in all cosmogonies) and loaded with confusion in the word "myth" (especially in the case of Genesis). Alastair Haines (talk) 15:47, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
If you want to move away from "creation myth", I'm afraid you're at the wrong venue. You want to be persuading people in the field that it's a poor term. Otherwise, the bulk of the above discussion, over several headings, appears to be arguing over people's beliefs, which is a poor basis on which to be deciding article titles. If anyone was able a suitable title that is as accurate as the current title without deviating from the facts and without losing the precision, I imagine they would have done so by now. In the meantime, we can't be doing with arguing over such frivolities such as whether the title is neutral with respect to whether the account is true or false as if such was somehow an open question. (talk) 17:24, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
The founder of Wikipedia, Wales, has indicated that the current title is inherently POV and I concur. Whatever we decide part of the outcome should be certain from Wikipedia's NPOV policy the current title will be changed to something else. So far I haven't heard anything persuasive for retaining the current title and Wales has stated that he hasn't either. Wales specifically targetted the word "myth" as POV offensive and I agree. The word myth should not be in the title.Deadtotruth (talk) 19:41, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Don't let yourself be impressed by the "authority" of someone who has only thought about the issee for a minute or so. Myth does not convey a POV. And Mr Wales is clearly abusing his position here. · CUSH · 21:29, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Cush, <sigh> and peter pan doesn't convey fairy tale. what world do you live in? i hope you said that with your fingers crossed, or else your pov has so blinded you that you can't reason correctly anymore (talk) 23:01, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Myth is just the Greek word for story. In the modern meaning the involvement of the supernatural is included. In what way does that a) convey a POV as to the veracity, and b) convey a POV that Genesis does not convey already? I see the core of the problem rather in the dismissive use of the word by adherents of the abrahamic religions to defame other beliefs. · CUSH · 23:17, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
"I see..." = "my pov is..." (or in the context = "I can't stand it that 2 billion people in this world today don't see things my way") (talk) 23:25, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh how you delight and amuse me. Do you honestly think that either the meaning of words or the veracity of a religious claim is determined by popular vote? Oh how you delight and amuse me. · CUSH · 23:33, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
"Myth does not convey a POV" -> you like to amuse yourself it seems. 2 billion people have a pov. they admit it. you have a pov and you try and claim, "really, it's not pov." that's a lot of things -- amusing may be one of them -- but rational thinking it is not. (talk) 23:43, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Cush? He's gave an opinion like everyone else on this dang page, and hell he did'nt even do it on this page! I transfered it here as food for thought! i dont see him blocking everyone who disagrees with him and moving the page to his opinion.... Weaponbb7 (talk) 23:09, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Why do you transfer Jimbo Wales' opinion onto this page? To use him to impress us? That's clearly appeal to Jimbo. · CUSH · 23:19, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Frankly Cush, i Tire of you demeaning your perceived opponents Weaponbb7 (talk) 00:34, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Frankly, I tire of people who try out every trick. And people who disagree with me are still not my "opponents". You see, I get offended pretty often, and do I complain or start RfCs or appeal to Jimbo?? I do not. You can call me pretty muc anything you like, such as asshole (Lisa did) or anti-semite (you did) and whatnot. Why? Because this is the internet, and I'd be pretty busy taking everything seriously and personal. · CUSH · 01:50, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
We at a point where this is WIki-World War Every one has been shunted into two camps, Frankly I really dont care any more. I come on Wikipedia to try to expand knowledge. This is a Perversion Neutrality of in my opinion. I was personally attack the moment i stepped on this page as "Creationist." and "Scientifically illiterate" and was thus was "disqualified" to render any opinion all by you Cush. If you had AGF you might find out that i beleive in Evolution, One of my Favorite movies i have seen recently is a "flock of Dodos." and Guess what Cush scienfitically the big bang theory is a "creation myth" yes paradoxically it is also supported by physics. Yet if you truly think "creation myth is a neutral term" in "academic usage" then you would not have thrown a fit with me when i stepped on here and called the big bang theory "Anthropologically a Creation". So yes you assumed that my use of myth implied falsehood. So dont patronize me with it being used academically. Every Joe Sixpack and Susie Bible-tumper walk on here and sees myth and feels their religion under attack. It is inflammatory and out of all the words in the Wikitionary i find it hard to believe we cant find two or three that work better that Satisfy most people. Weaponbb7 (talk) 03:19, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
The Big Bang is not a "creation myth". It lacks the two defining characteristics we (appear to) ascribe to creation myths: it is neither "religious or supernatural" nor does it account for life, the universe and everything. These are two, simple, factual tests. You will notice that "is not true" is not one of them. (talk) 01:49, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Frankly you need to take an anthropology course as that is a pretty standard way those textbooks make a point of how to look at things through the lens of anthropologist. I have seen it in three different textbooks by different publishers use it as example. Weaponbb7 (talk) 02:08, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Can you show us where the supernatural element is? Can you show us how it would account for life? In the absence of these, it doesn't meet the definition we have for "creation myth". (talk) 16:45, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Even if you were acting in good faith, you were wrong nevertheless. Maybe I should not have been so harsh but you were unfortunately coming at a time when numerous editors were claiming that creationism were a valid position. You claimed that the Genesis story of creation had the same credibility as the Big Bang theory, to which I naturally replied "bollocks", although in more words. And you know, what you "believe" or what your favorite movies are, is not my concern. I am only interested in what you can show me reliable sources for. And to say that you "believe" in evolution or that the Big Bang Theory were a creation myth is a further assault on science. And this concludes my interaction with you on this talk page for the time being. · CUSH · 03:41, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Right, because it cannot be our purview to determine which religions' scriptures are true or false or canonical. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:30, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Frankly Ip-81.111, This not about whether or not it is a creation myth But rather is it absolutely necessary to have it in the title? Does it harm the Article not to have it in the Title? To me both answers are no, i think Cush did a very good thing sticking an Olive Branch compromise out. Especially since he has been one of the Most Vocal in the "Creation Myth Title Camp." now We are working now towards a compromise, as both sides have restated their opinions numerous times. Your Borderline Trolling here is not welcome, please lets try and collaborate and not nit pick. Secondly i find it very suspicious when Ips jump into these debates seemingly know all the ins and outs of wikipedia. Weaponbb7 (talk) 18:09, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Does it have to be in the title? Yes. In the absence of a distinguished name, we have to give it one. Does it harm to not have it in the title? In the absence of an alternative that is as neutral, factual and precise as this, yes. To move this one but retain the others would appear to ascribe some special status to this account of creation over the others we document. "Biblical creation" loses some neccessary precision. (talk) 01:49, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Borderline trolling? There is no trolling, just an IP user (from what appears to be a stable IP - it's simple to review their edits) that had been reviewing requested moves on a number of pages. Your suspicion of this user is unwarranted. Please show good faith to IP users that deserve it. Now the above IP user that personally attacked Cush in his very first edit as if he was very familiar with him may deserve some suspicion, but not Auntie E. (talk) 00:23, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Ok. let me guess, you hold to cush's pov, and not mine, so therefore you don't have to assume good faith? you are unbelievable to jump in here and spout off like that. very nice. very classy. show me your statement is not utterly biased - show me that you pov is different than cush's. (talk) 00:40, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Your Right Striking Weaponbb7 (talk) 00:27, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
IP, all of your edits were personal attacks as if you know him. AGF isn't a suicide pact. Saying that you may deserve suspicion is actually a mild response to those attacks. My point of view is somewhat different from Cush, but immaterial in this instance in the face of your behavior. Auntie E. (talk) 01:19, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
That's ok, you don't have to assume good faith. you're somehow different than weaponbb7. not sure how, but i don't really care. notice how weaponbb7 took back her/his comments? that's impressive. oh, by the way, did you know the user ip's from people's houses change slightly in the last few digits every so often? (hmm... maybe i have edited here before...) perhaps you might have thought of that if you had assumed good faith. but, since you were busy doing the exact opposite of that, (what makes me chuckle is that you did it while accusing weaponbb7 of doing the very same thing...) (talk) 01:34, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Midday in Australia, and thankfully it seems posters above have been forced by mother nature to sleep on things.
Discussion above seems a bit robust, but not impolite in my ignorant and uninvolved opinion.
But inferences however true or false about editors' motives belong on user talk pages first, not in public discussion.
I've dared to retitle this section as "side discussion", and want to close it.
Please feel free to ignore me and continue the sparring.
But I trust I'm merely everyone's servant making nothing more than the observation that the to and fro has ceased. Alastair Haines (talk) 02:05, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh... but I was so close to receiving an apology from auntropy. <sigh>
by the way, if she reads this, i voted above on apr. 1, and cush replied by telling me that my vote was "an irrational, unscientific, unencyclopedic, and hence unacceptable POV." That might account for me calling him out here for what I see as irrational, no? but look here, now I'm explaining again when it's YOu who should be assuming good faith. (since we're so good at telling others the rules and all...) (talk) 02:19, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Friend, we're doing a bad job of encouraging you to register, so we have a name to insult, instead of a number! ;)
Shame on us, thanks for your patience. Alastair Haines (talk) 02:41, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Biblical Creation is a reasonably good title for an article about all aspects of the Christian belief in Creation, but perhaps the title should be more clear regarding whether or not the discussion of the beliefs of later Christian philosophers and contemporary creationists is welcome. (See Creationism#Types of Biblical creationism). There may well be a need for both a title about creation references in the Bible and also about Christian creationism as opposed to the all-religions scope of Creationism. But each of these things is a new article with a new scope. If you want to start an article "Biblical creation", then you should start it first, going over and figuring out which things belong in the expanded scope and which don't. Then propose a merge with this article if it still seems appropriate. But don't combine a move and a change in the scope of the article at the same time, because the disagreements will cause more trouble. Wnt (talk) 03:14, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Comment: I'm very sympathetic to the point that the current article clearly focusses on Genesis, and expanding to the whole Bible is quite reasonably seen as two proposals in one. Alastair Haines (talk) 07:02, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Title should start with Genesis - keep creation myth or change it to creation story(if that seems less upsetting) or whatever but whoever is searching for this article will most probably start with the word Genesis. Think about who is going to be looking for this article. Nitpyck (talk) 23:26, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Nitpyck — I don't believe we've seen any evidence that anyone is "upset" about anything so I don't know what you are referring to by "less upsetting." Bus stop (talk) 12:52, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
In any case, changing titles purely because they may offend some is either pandering or censorship, dedpending on the actual result. Neither of these is a Good Thing. (Look at Conservapedia for the sort of trainwreck that you can end up with) (talk) 01:55, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. Biblical Creation could then include some of the later affirmations from Job, Psalms etc. rossnixon 02:54, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Seems like a good way to resolve this, and the name I would think of using for an article like this, —innotata 19:58, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose any change from the current title unless all the other "creation myth" article titles are similarly bowdlerised. Dr Marcus Hill (talk) 12:11, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Dr Marcus most articles that are about creation myths actually do not have the term in the title. Please poke through the "Creation myth" category where you will find articles with titles like Völuspá and Enûma Eliš. The articles that do use the term in the title are almost exclusively of a different type. These articles identify the creation myths of specific civilizations -- see Sumerian creation myth and Mesoamerican creation myths. These articles are both in the vast minority and almost exclusively of this type: "name of civilization" + "creation myth(s)". I've tried to make this point repeatedly in the discussion but people unfortunately follow their gut and assume the opposite. Since the basis for this argument simply does not reflect conventional reality here on Wikipedia I really don't see how we can count it in this discussion. I do sympathize greatly with what drives people to make the incorrect assumption, because there are a very small minority of people who would prefer to never ever refer to their own creation narratives as myths. But this discussion is not about eradicating the term from the entry. If the conversation ever gets to that point most of us would strongly oppose that.Griswaldo (talk) 12:59, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I just noticed your post below. I must have started this before you posted that. Apologies for repeating a point you came to on your own. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 13:04, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose any the proposed move away from the current title (Genesis creation myth). Creation myth is an established, accepted, and neutral concept; Wikipedia must adhere to reliable sources, and reliable sources clearly support the current usage. -- Black Falcon (talk) 04:05, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    This is not the most common phrase in reliable sources at all, nor is it within convention here. This point has been repeated ad infinitum but people keep on coming here and blindly repeating the opposite assumption. What empirical evidence do you base this one? "Genesis creation account" and "Genesis creation story" are much more common in scholarship. I'm getting sick and tired of parroting myself on this. I understand the inclination to believe what you've written to be correct, but some research, or just some reading of this talk page, will quickly dissuade you of that belief. Also please, please do understand that what scholars use to refer to these passages in no way makes this passage any more or less a creation myth in scholarship. Scholars agree that it is a creation myth, but that fact does not lead to this term. It just doesn't. Please do some research before making definitive sounding statements about scholarship that do not reflect reality.Griswaldo (talk) 13:43, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    I have (done some research, that is), please see my comment in response to Suggestion 1. However, I have done the same informal analysis for "Genesis creation account":
Genesis creation account Genesis creation myth Percentages
General search
59% / 41%
57% / 43%
8% / 92%
26% / 74%
46% / 54%
51% / 49%
Results lost
814 (49.0%)
183 (16.1%)
Not counting the result of the general search (General search), which is suspect because nearly half of the results are lost when breaking down by year of publication, the results of this informal analysis do not support your claim that Genesis creation account is "much more common" than Genesis creation myth. In fact, "Genesis creation account" and "Genesis creation myth" appear to be used in relatively equal numbers in the last 20 years, and the latter tends to be more common before then. (Yes, I realize what an imperfect analysis this is, but it is the best I can do in a short time and about a subject (longitudinal trends in specialist language) in which I am not expert. If you can offer a better analysis, I would gladly reconsider.)
However, what stands out to me is that a high proportion publications which use "Genesis creation account" appear to present the account as truth (e.g., [10][11][12]) rather than approaching it neutrally from an academic standpoint. -- Black Falcon (talk) 16:31, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Note - I see what you did and it's either sloppy or disingenuous. Your search for myth includes any hits to books that include any one of the following three phrases - "Genesis creation myth" OR "creation myth in Genesis" OR "creation myth of Genesis" - while the account search is delimited to only the one exact phrase "Genesis creation account". What gives? You should use the one phrase in both or all three options in both. This is really misleading.Griswaldo (talk) 17:23, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I also note that if you search for the second two -- "creation myth in Genesis" OR "creation myth of Genesis" you get 391 [13]. If you ask Google to exclude "Genesis creation myth" you only lose 1 hit. The new result is 390 [14]. There is no reason to believe that a scholar (or author) who is happy to discuss the "creation myth" in "Genesis" is also willing to call it the "Genesis creation myth". If there were one would find more than one solitary example of overlapping usage.Griswaldo (talk) 17:43, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Your table appears to have the wrong headers since it says "Creation according to Genesis on it". However I can also not replicate your results in Google books (Note I now see what you did). Here are the results I get for 1990-2010 for the following phrases in both Books and Scholar:
Google Books
  • Genesis creation myth - 233 [15]
  • Genesis creation account - 624 [16]
  • Genesis creation story - 637 [17]
Google Scholar
  • Genesis creation myth - 55 [18]
  • Genesis creation account - 292 [19]
  • Genesis creation story - 370 [20]
I've provided the links for immediate verification. What I did was - exact phrase delimited to the last 20 years of publications. Myth lags way behind.Griswaldo (talk) 17:17, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I did make a mistake with the header, and that was sloppiness on my part (I copied the table from the above section and forgot to change the header); it is now corrected. As for one search term versus three, that is a valid point; however, limiting to only one search term as you seem to have done is not the optimal solution. There is no significant difference between "Genesis creation myth" and "creation myth in Genesis" or "Creation myth of Genesis". Give me a few minutes to produce the results for 3-vs-3. -- Black Falcon (talk) 17:45, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps there is little semantic difference since we have two different ways in which nouns are modifying nouns, but it strikes me as significant that authors discussing the "creation myth(s)" in or of Genesis never also seem to use the phrase "Genesis creation myth". From your links I'm also finding that commonly, amongst the "of" and "in" examples there is more than one creation myth identified in Genesis. In other words, the two narratives mentioned in the article are referred to as separate "myths" as well. So "creation myths in Genesis".Griswaldo (talk) 18:20, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Updated results of your analysis (1990–2010), with totals for Genesis creation account including results for "Genesis creation account", "creation account in Genesis" and "creation account of Genesis"; totals for Genesis creation myth including results for "Genesis creation myth", "creation myth in Genesis" and "creation myth of Genesis"; and totals for Genesis creation story including results for "Genesis creation story", "creation story in Genesis" and "creation story of Genesis".
Google Books
Google Scholar
In Books results, "account" and "story" are higher, but not dramatically so. In Scholar results, the results for "account" and "story" are dramatically higher. To the extent that valid conclusions can be drawn from this analysis, I think you are partially correct. So, I want to make clear that my "strong oppose" in this section applies only to the suggestion to rename to "Biblical Creation", and not to any other proposal.
Noting that, I must again repeat the point that publications which prefer "creation account" or "creation story" over "creation myth" seem to have a greater tendency to adopt the point of view that the Genesis creation account/myth/story is factual rather than approaching the issue from a neutral, academic standpoint; see e.g., [21][22][23][24][25]. -- Black Falcon (talk) 18:17, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with you that those types of phrases should be avoided - I have a similar problem with "Biblical creation" mentioned way below. "Creation according to Genesis" also rubs me the wrong way because it implies that there is some true version of this story. Are we sure that "story" usually refers to a factual creation?Griswaldo (talk) 18:29, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
A brief glance at the google scholar results suggests that "story" is not often (or never) used in that fashion while account may well be.Griswaldo (talk) 18:35, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Actually, upon closer investigation, this appears to be less of an issue with "story". I had checked several dozen results for "Creation according to Genesis" and "Genesis creation account" and so was fairly confident about them, but I had only checked about 20 results for "Genesis creation story". -- Black Falcon (talk) 18:38, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Genesis creation story has always been one of my personal preferences. I don't recall what the objections to it have been. It appears to be most common in scholarship, it doesn't imply that creation was factual in any shape or form, and it doesn't force the most common scholarly frame through which to interpret the story (myth) onto the story itself. Personally I think this is equivalent to using common names when they are available to refer to a creation myth, like Enûma Eliš.Griswaldo (talk) 18:52, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Having now checked eight pages of results, I can say with slightly more confidence that it appears to be less of an issue with "story", though it is still an issue. In general, it seems that publications which advance the point of view that the Genesis creation myth/story is factual avoid using "creation myth" and instead use "creation account", "creation story" and "creation according to Genesis"; and publications which adopt a more neutral, academic standpoint (i.e., analyzing the story but not taking a stance on its truthfulness or falsity) seem content to use "creation myth" and "creation story", and to a lesser extent "creation account", but avoid "creation according to Genesis". (To be honest, I cringe at the idea of making such generalizations without conducting a planned, systematic and controlled study, so I can't emphasize enough that these are my impressions of patterns in the data, not conclusions drawn from a systematic analysis of data.) Based on this, I think "Genesis creation story" could be a good alternative to the current title. -- Black Falcon (talk) 19:08, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I think we've done enough Googling. The fact is that Google results aside, story and account and myth are all objectionable not only to a segment of editors, but to a segment of the population at large. While "narrative" is utterly neutral according to everyone. So let's stop playing and just change it to "Genesis creation narrative". It's the one title that is absolutely bias- and agenda-free and doesn't irk anyone. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 20:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I understand your preference for Genesis creation narrative, but there is no need for you to dismiss discussion of any alternatives, especially through recourse to inaccurate statements such as "'narrative' is utterly neutral according to everyone". Wikipedia is not censored, so the goal is not to find a wording that is not "objectionable"; rather, it is to find the wording that best reflects reliable sources on the topic. Thank you, -- Black Falcon (talk) 17:56, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose move, per Black Falcon. The current title is my first preference, for the reasons explained by BF. My second preference would be Genesis creation story, so long as the other creation myth titles were moved too. SlimVirgin talk contribs 04:08, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    Black Falcon is not correct about reliable sources see above. Also what entires will have to be moved? Only a handful have this term in their title, most entires about specific creation myths do not. Look at the category for yourself. This is another misguided assumption that keeps on reappearing. The ones that do are not of this kind either, they are always of the kind "name of civilization" + creation myth and never "name of text" + creation myth. The text/narrative examples always use the name of the text instead. Apples meet oranges.Griswaldo (talk) 13:43, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Black Falcon. My second preference would also be "Genesis creation story", with the condition that other creation myth articles be similarly moved, per SlimVirgin. and support move to Judeo–Christian creation myth, per my vote here. — CIS (talk | stalk) 13:52, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    Black Falcon is not correct about realiable sources and Slimvirgin is not correct about the convention of using "creation myth". Editors who have bothered to investigate these understanble but mistaken assumptions have discovered this for themselves.Griswaldo (talk) 13:43, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    Judeo-Christian creation myth was one of the options I suggested when I first found this discussion. However, if that move were made we would want to consider also bringing other living world religions in line with this terminology. See, for instance, Hindu cosmology. I remain rather dismayed by the amount of mistaken assumptions here about convention and reliable sources (this isn't directed towards you CIS). It appears to me that the existence of culture wars nonesense regarding creationism colors so many of the opinions here, even if people don't realize it. I get that those who assume scholars must use the term "Genesis creation myth" or that Wikipedia clearly uses that term in the titles of articles on other creation myths are well meaning. But I think you're all reacting, based on common sense instead of empirical evidence, against what you think is a religionist whitewash attempt as opposed to something else. What this discussion lacks is some truly dispassionate POVs. Ugh.Griswaldo (talk) 14:09, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    See my reply to you about Hindu cosmology at the below section. For the record, I'm not arguing that "(Genesis) creation myth" is the academically-accepted term, I'm simply saying that using weasel words like "narrative" or "story" instead of "myth" would present a pro-Christian bias over articles like Chinese creation myth and Sumerian creation myth, which would need to be moved to Chinese creation narrative and Sumerian creation narrative if I were to support the excising of "myth" here. — CIS (talk | stalk) 14:36, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
    I don't disagree with your reasoning but the entire argument is a tough sell because it implies that the most commonly used terms by scholars are "weasel words". We also should not be regulating the perceived bias in other articles through this one. However, there is another important point here that is much more significant -- It is not up to us to counteract the possible biases found in the mainstream POVs of reliable sources. For instance if most reliable sources refer to Mesoamerican creation myths by that name and the Biblical creation story by that name it is not up to us to override that,whether or not we think it is a bias. I'm pretty sure there is no policy here that asks us to do so. In fact I thought that policies forced us to do exactly the opposite. Report what the sources say.Griswaldo (talk) 16:05, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose- its the term used in the scientific literature. You cant have your religion as a Story or Narrative and everyone elses as a myth. As someone says above, if this one is changed, ever single other creation article should be changed. Heironymous Rowe (talk) 10:06, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
It is not the term used in the scientific literature. "Story" is used in scholarship much more often. This is a common misconception but if you read some of the threads here you will see the results of investigating scholarly use. Regarding the gripe that "all myths should be labelled in the same way" ... you'll have to take that up with the academy. Part of the problem here is that this particular myth shows up in scholarship from fields other than mythology or comparative religion, where undoubtedly "myth" is more common. Because of the living aspect of biblical belief we see this myth referred to not just in Biblical studies and myth studies but also history, sociology, etc. If you want to argue with scholars I don't think this is the place. We simply follow their lead and as I said you've fallen pray to an unfortunate and misguided assumption.Griswaldo (talk) 12:38, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Appeals to or by Jimbo Wales are no criterion in decisions about article titles. · CUSH · 20:58, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Notice of a new proposal

As far as I can see, both Weapon's and Cush's proposals above have succeeded. All that is missing is an extremely brave person to close those discussions in favor of the proposals on the basis of the evidence and arguments offered, noting a substatial number (but still a minority) of editors have expressed no objection to the term "creation myth", indeed their preference for it, and they are not without considerable non-partisan scholastic support.

The decisive issue is that not all scholars support the expression "creation myth" in its application to Genesis 1 in particular. Indeed, this disagreement is also expressed by non-partisan scholars, though strictly speaking scholastic commitment never invalidates their arguments or opinions, they all believe what they say, or why do they say it, and how could we trust their reliability?

However, although I have supported both proposals myself, and think both could work, I don't think either is ideal. I think discussion has been dominated by the issue of using "creation myth", and support or opposition of the proposals in nearly all cases has come down to opposition or support for the phrase "creation myth".

As a baby theological writer, I am willing to go on public record as believing the text of Genesis 2-3 is a symbolic narrative and, in all meaningful senses of the technical usage of the phrase, a creation myth. I happen also to have the personal conviction that it is a divinely inspired and absolutely reliable symbolic narrative, with implications for daily life as explained in the New Testament, but I mention that only in the interests of full disclosure.

I am not willing to go on public record as believing Genesis 1 to be a purely symbolic narrative, though I am willing to admit that I am personally persuaded by the established results of contemporary science, which entail that much of Genesis 1 reflects the standard ancient view of the physcial world as they knew it, which we now know was somewhat myopic. It is very important that it be understood I am advancing an opinion here that makes my own religious tradition vulnerable to being falsified. I am claiming that substantial parts of Genesis 1 are supposed to describe the real physical world accurately, as they could then be known. Parts of Genesis 1 can indeed be described as scientific, according to scientific paradigms that are now outmoded. Some of the "science" of Genesis 1 is much better understood now than then. As such, Genesis 1 is a reliable primary source of ancient scientific paradigms, but an unreliable source of scientific understanding now, since science has "moved on". So Genesis is a good resource for the history and philosophy of science, but a poor one for physics, chemistry and biology.

But Genesis 1 is not merely ancient science, it is also, in part, symbolic narrative. Since ancient times the "days" of Genesis 1 have been understood, even by some notable believers, as symbolic days. But does this mean that those parts of Genesis can be felicitously called "myth"? I think not. For two important reasons. Firstly, "myth" in the technical sense usually involves wide appeal to diverse supernatural powers, which is certainly true of the myths of the Genesis writer's neighbours. Genesis is demonstrably not the earliest cosmogony in its region. So many scholars (many have claimed a consensus) consider Genesis to be a secondary source regarding those earlier myths, and so many of those scholars have also considered it to have interacted with them critically, rather than uncritically, that we must admit the PoV that Genesis 1 is anti-mythological or demythologizing, in the context of the world of its composition. It should go without saying that calling an anti-mythological text "myth" is stretching the bounds of clear use of language.

There is a last feature of issues in this discussion that warrants little explanation, but must be stated. It violates the spirit of the technical sense of "creation myth", if not the very letter of its ordinary definition, to apply the word "supernatural" indiscriminately to a real God at work in human history. Such a God would not be merely supernatural but natural as well. Such a God would not be merely part of a pantheon hypothesized to have given shape to features of the world, but the actual first cause of everything. I happen, personally, to believe in such a God, which makes me appreciate more acutely why "creation myth" is inappropriate in the context of Genesis 1. But it is not necessary to believe in the God of Genesis to appreciate the point.

So, then, the current title must be altered, as discussion above has already demonstrated. My new proposal will assume that fact. I will ask people to either support, or to raise any verifiable or reasonable objection, other than a preference for the term "creation myth", to entitling the current article Creation in Genesis. If no objections can be substantiated within a week, I trust someone will close the discussion by renaming and moving the current article.

I am happy not to make this proposal if Weapon or Cush wish to continue with their own, and would really appreciate their feedback, and that of any others who care to comment. Alastair Haines (talk) 05:01, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

You're joking right? [The current title] violates the spirit of the technical sense of "creation myth" .. [by applying] the word "supernatural" indiscriminately to a real God at work in human history. If you're serious, then please see WP:V and WP:NPOV. Ben (talk) 07:44, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
You might want to reread those policies Ben. That's my point exactly. :) Alastair Haines (talk) 08:02, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Suppose you are an intellectual impostor, ... what kind of literary style would you cultivate? Not a lucid one, surely, for clarity would expose [you]. [26] Or maybe I'm an intellectual deadbeat and the problem here is mine. Either way my advice is: make clear your point. Ben (talk) 08:13, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Ben, a person doesn't need to be an intellectual deadbeat to have problems following a point that falls outside of his paradigm. In other words, a Macintosh computer could be a perfectly fine piece of hardware and have trouble loading a Windows operating system. You strike me as rather intelligent, but sometimes you seem to lack that appreciation for others. Alastair seemed pretty straightforward there: Weapon and Cush both offered proposals that easily cleared the hurdle of acceptable consensus, but Alastair's proposal was more ignored than rejected, so he'd like to make sure it didn't just get lost in the excitement to replace the current title. In other words, he's giving his proposal a "bump" because he'd much rather have it rejected than merely lost in the shuffle. As for "creation myth" I'd have to agree with him. Those promoting "myth" are doing so basically as "false science" rather than merely a (true or false) "symbolic narrative." And "supernatural" doesn't really delimit a concept of God which is immanent (nature) and not merely transcendent (supernature). In other words, the Jewish and Christian concept of "God" is not merely "supernatural" but more specifically "natural", and must be so by definition. It is not merely divine action if God were to raise someone from the dead, but rather it is divine action that anyone lives at all: each natural heartbeat echoes the presence of an infinitely immanent deity. The confinement of the Jewish/Christian deity to supernature is therefore not applicable to that deity. It would be like rejecting Jesus because he was a woman... while that may actually BE your view, no one here is actually CLAIMING that he is a woman. So, therefore, your rejection, though noted, is irrelevant.
None of this means that God exists. It merely means that your SPECIFIC definitions of that deity are not applicable to the actual religions who's text you are trying to label. You've been trying to reject a definition no one here is trying to promote. Most of your arguments fall along the lines of "noise."
As I said, you are quite intelligent, and if you will merely recognize that others here are ALSO intelligent then you may take the time to have a discussion regarding their own views, rather than the views you imagine them to have.EGMichaels (talk) 12:25, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Frankly Cush's is far better, it allows for slight broadening of the scope, and since he came across the aisle with a compromise. I think it is the better of the two thus i struck my original Proposal Weaponbb7 (talk) 12:40, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Hi Alastair, I think Weapon has two good points there. "Biblical creation" certainly leaves the door open for a more... systematic exploration of the subject.EGMichaels (talk) 12:46, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Biblical creation should be an article about making bibles. I really hope you can keep Genesis in the title. And I will cheerfully accept whatever title is decided as long as I can still find the article about the creation story found in Genesis. Nitpyck (talk) 13:34, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
"Bible Creation" would do that, people generally will get the Gyst Weaponbb7 (talk) 13:59, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I think the word "biblical" is too vague. See here (Humanities Reference desk) and here (Language Reference desk) for the wide range of meanings people assign to the word "bible" which is of course very much related to the word "biblical." I don't see what advantage there is in substituting "biblical" for "Genesis" in the title. Bus stop (talk) 13:43, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I think again most people will not try to include the Book of Enoch here, to me common sense is the solution if it comes up Weaponbb7 (talk) 13:59, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
For what it's worth, "Creation in Genesis" is my favorite title. As I hinted to Alastair, "Biblcal creation" opens the subject to a more systematic approach. It is no longer text based, but rather subject based -- and thus would be more applicable to input from Systematic Theologians rather than Biblical Scholars.EGMichaels (talk) 13:52, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
EGMichaels — Why do you (apparently) prefer "Creation in Genesis" to "Creation according to Genesis"? Bus stop (talk) 14:04, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Bus stop, when I did a sanity check of "Creation according to the Silmarillion" I did see Cush's (Pico's? I've lost track) point that "according to" does connote reality of some kind. It just didn't work with Silmarillion because it's obviously fiction -- and to anyone who's POV has Genesis as obviously fiction it won't work either. We need a title that will work for ALL POVs. As for Lisa's suggestion below: "Genesis creation narrative" is perfectly fine, as would be the sanity check of "Silmarillion creation narrative." I simply like "Creation in Genesis" because it doesn't call Genesis ANYTHING -- not story, not narrative, not myth, not history, nada. It's just bare bones, and works just fine, although "Creation in the Silmarillion" might connote either Tolkien's creative process or his thematic treatment of the subject of "creation" in that work. But, since we don't really know the author of Genesis, most of that potential pitfall is moot.EGMichaels (talk) 15:02, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
How about Genesis creation narrative? I mean, we're all talking about whether the narrative is an account or a myth or a story or whatever, but we seem to all agree that it's a narrative, no? - Lisa (talk - contribs) 14:06, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I find that acceptable. My opposition to "Genesis creation myth" was that it ("creation myth") constituted unnecessary commentary. If all agree that there is no controversy in referring to the subject of the article as a "narrative" then I don't think there should be opposition to your suggested title, "Genesis creation narrative," based on specific opposition to the characterization of the subject matter as a "narrative." Bus stop (talk) 14:14, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Frankly lets end this; I really tired of debating, we seem to have clear Consensus, Any serious objections to Cush's suggestion? I am giving till 10:00 Pm GMT/UTC beofore i post to The Admin Notice board to ask them to formally move the page Weaponbb7 (talk)

To this point I haven't expressed my concerns for future stablity of article content regarding Biblical creation as a title, because I wanted to support Cush's generous bid for compromise, just like Weapon (and probably others). I also wanted to see if other oppose voters would follow Cush's lead. I don't think that's happened, nor do I think it will.
The two major concerns I have with Biblical creation are scope and sense. Regarding scope, I guess I should ask Lisa how much of the lead she'll allow me to devote to the first verses of the Gospel according to John. Need I say more?
Regarding sense, I'm glad it is not me who has had to bring up the fact that it does strike me as being about creating Bibles, or something like that. In fact, I think a reader would need to know quite a bit about the topic, and about a broader context for the topic, to know what we mean by it. If Bible must be the scope, I'd still prefer "Creation in" nomenclature, like a swag of other editors above: Creation in the Bible.
But, as I've said, I'll not prolong closure of the current discussions by holding out for Creation in Genesis, if Cush objects to it. All I'm saying is that discussion appears to have run its course and closure is needed now. "Creation in" nomenclature seems most popular, and Genesis seems most popular for scope. I agree with both those views and have seen no objections to them, so I'm happy to propose them on behalf of all.
PS here are the words that are essential to a Christian understanding of Biblical creation. I really don't think we want to open that can of worms.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1, NIV)
Back to work on Indian religions. So much happier and easier. Cheerio all. Alastair Haines (talk) 14:46, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Alastair Haines — why have you just removed the posts of other editors, including myself? Bus stop (talk) 15:04, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
There was an edit conflict and my browser didn't handle it well.
It's nice to see that while I was typing that closure was needed, and soon, Weapon was typing that he'd be seeing to it that this would happen.
Biblical creation is a nice big topic "biblical theology creation" gave me 184,000 hits at Google Scholar.
The first few pages were full of books and writers I value highly.
I'm not sure whether the title is best for readers, but it's certainly a gift for Christian writers.
So you'll have no objections from me personally, but I do have reservations for the sake of others, but I've already posted them. Alastair Haines (talk) 15:32, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
There is no consensus for Cush's suggestion. There is no reason at all to expand the scope of this article from the Genesis creation narrative to Biblical anything. But if you go through the talk page, you'll see that no one has any problem with it being called a narrative. So you could make a case that there's an implied consensus for Genesis creation narrative. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 15:44, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I couldn't agree with your first two sentences more. I don't agree with the rest of your post I'm afraid. Alastair, please be more careful. If you mess up discussion, please go ahead and fix it. Ben (talk) 16:08, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Implied Cases are just they are "not stated", lisa i dont know why you complain about this, this compromise solves alot of problems, I can think of three possible reason you argue this. (1) you think narative is better, (2) expanding it to biblical you might fear it exapnds it beyond the coverage of the torah, (3) giving in to Cush is not something you wasnt to. I am inclined to think it combonation of those. Please we are trying to compromise Cush has given in way more than i think he likes, let meet him halfway Weaponbb7 (talk) 16:14, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Weaponbb7 — Lisa is making a suggestion. It is not a bad suggestion. Lisa suggested the title "Genesis creation narrative." Why not just comment on her suggested title? Do we really have to contemplate what's in any other editor's mind? Why don't just stick to discussing what would be the best title for this article? Bus stop (talk) 16:35, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Regarding scope and "Biblical" I do not agree that Biblical necessarily implies more than Genesis narrative. For instance the Oxford Companion to World Mythology deals with only this creation narrative under the title "Biblical Creation". It should be noted that "myth" is most likely implied given that it is a companion to "mythology" and given that "Biblical creation myth" appears in the text itself. In other words by way of actual use it is not clear that "Biblical creation (myth)" conventionally includes anything outside of Genesis.Griswaldo (talk) 16:27, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
This isn't about how much Cush is "giving in". That shouldn't even be an issue. This is about what's an appropriate title for the article. I do think that narrative is better, because I have yet to hear anyone suggest that it isn't a narrative. The people who pushed for "myth" think that the narrative is a myth. Others think it isn't. But everyone agrees that it is one. Cush, for some unfathomable reason, thinks that both account and story imply that it actually happened. I don't get it, but I accept it.
Expanding it to biblical is simply unnecessary. To do so for the sole reason that it would reward Cush for "giving in" seems patronizing beyond belief.
As far as me not wanting to "give in" to Cush, I dropped the idea of account or story, despite my disagreement, so you're misstating the facts, in addition to attributing motives, which is a no-no.
Why are you so adamant to force a consensus that doesn't exist? This discussion has been about what to name an article. Changing the article to something else entirely shouldn't even be on the agenda. This article is about the Genesis creation narrative/story/account/myth/fairy tale/hallucination or whatever you want to call it. It isn't about "Biblical creation". That wouldn't even limit it to creation of the world, for crying out loud. It's more than a change of scope, it's a change of subject. And there is no consensus to do so. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:41, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
You've hit the nail on the head, Lisa. There is no consensus, full stop. But consensus is only required to change policy, not to apply it. The current title has had three weeks to defend itself against the substantiated and majority objection that it is POV, and the defense has failed. By default the title should revert to Creation according to Genesis.
Since that proposal has been withdrawn, we either accept the new proposal, which includes an expansion of scope (i.e. it is two proposals in one), or we offer a new proposal.
As mentioned, I'm still waiting for Cush to speak first. Cush's proposal would suit me personally, so I'll not oppose his proposal. However, for the sake of readers and the community, I'd prefer the title was: 1. focussed on Genesis and 2. made no claims about literary genre, since this is not settled unanimously in the literature and is unnecessary for identifying the topic.
If you formally propose Genesis creation narrative, Lisa, I'll support you. Alastair Haines (talk) 16:36, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough. I formally propose that we change the title of the article to Genesis creation narrative. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:41, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I support this proposal.Mk5384 (talk) 08:59, 19 April 2010 (UTC)


Editor Creation according to Genesis Genesis creation myth Biblical creation Genesis creation narrative Creation in Genesis Biblical creation myth
EGMichaels Weak Support Oppose Weak Oppose Support Strong Support Strong Oppose
Lisa Neutral Strong Oppose Strong Oppose Strong Support Support Strong Oppose
Weapon Support Oppose Strong Support Weak Support Support Strong Oppose
Alastair Support Oppose Weak Oppose Support Support Strong Oppose
AFA Prof01 Support Strong oppose Oppose Strong support Oppose Strong oppose
UberCryxic Oppose Support Oppose Oppose Oppose
Til Eulenspiegel Support Oppose Support Support Support
Hans Adler Neutral Support Weak oppose Support Oppose Support
Ross Nixon Weak support Strong oppose Strong support Support Neutral Strong oppose
Griswaldo Oppose Oppose Oppose Support Oppose Oppose
AuthorityTam Support Strong Oppose Weak Oppose Weak Support Strong Support Strong Oppose
Total 7 2 3 10 7 1

EGM i love these tables! these are so handy!Weaponbb7 (talk) 02:17, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Oh, another poll. Is this the 7th now? Let's see, 3 Requested Moves, the third split into three more successive polls, article name dropping on User_talk:Jimbo Wales, this table and countless threads in between, all by the same small contingent trying to erase, or at least obscure, mention of the term creation myth. The amount of effort you folks have put into doing this would be enough to turn this article into an FA twice over. It's time to quit the so obviously tendentious editing - continually starting new polls until you get the answer you want. In fact, I suggest a 1 year moratorium on discussion of the article's title. Ben (talk) 04:00, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Ben, since the "non-myth" folks don't have an agenda, they are willing to explore what the sources say. While "creation myth" is one characterization that does appear in the available literature, it is in a distinct minority in the sources. We are trying to find a title that is the most neutral POV, which ALLOWS both "creation myth" characterizations and "demythologizing polemic" and everything in between. Wikipedia editors have an obligation to follow sources and be committed to neutrality between all notable and reliable points of view. Only those truly and passionately committed to a singular POV will refuse to support equally documented alternatives. Hence the need for a poll to explore what we are finding in the sources, and what strikes us as making the article available to readers who enter common terms in a search engine. While "creation myth" is one possible name, it is most certainly not a name readers will think of typing. How, then, are they even to find this article without a host of aliases constantly forwarding people's generic NPOV searches into a heavily POV limited article title.EGMichaels (talk) 01:20, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I second that, but of course the discussion will devolve into another tit-for-tat over whether we should have a moratorium in the first place. Everything here is like an endless argument, no matter what the particular topic. It's just a controversial subject I guess.UBER (talk) 04:16, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
The reason there is a problem with making a decision is because Wikipedia processes are designed to do exactly the right thing: allow people who have already been committed to reading and documenting reliable sources to welcome people who are willing to come on board.
Unfortunately, in practice what happens is people who have modest knowledge of the sources and modest commitment to the article, but do have a broad ideological commitment related to a topic engage sufficiently with discussion to ensure their ideology is represented.
That is not always a bad thing, but sometimes it's pushed way too far.
No, what is happenning at the moment might be slow, but it is correct.
We are all contributing to building up a proposal that can be closed by someone who knows nothing of the issues, except what we document for them. A poll is part of that picture. It will show that there are a wide range of acceptable titles. Add to that information the data already provided showing "creation myth" is only one PoV, and the closer can toss a coin for any of the alternative titles proposed, or better still, pick any one that addresses the right scope, without having any substantiated objections against it.
A closure made by tallying votes is unstable without a quorum, but one made on reliable sources and clear reasoning will endure.
Closures here are not made by experts, so they depend on the value of the information discussion participants provide.
Our job is clear: provide sources and reasoning to make life easy for a closer, who represents a reader who knows nothing.
A poll is great, since it shows that there are lots of possible titles. It will also show which people are unwilling to compromise. Alastair Haines (talk) 05:53, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
PS Guess who is most compromising so far? Weapon! Anyone surprised? Not me. Bravo Weapon! Alastair Haines (talk) 06:00, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
What a silly comment! There was only one column that has "creation myth" in it, so according to your logic anyone who thinks that term is the main problem is automatically extremely compromising. I have added another column ("biblical creation myth"), which in my opinion is even better than "Genesis creation myth". Hans Adler 13:27, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Cush (or Pico?) did have a good point that "Creation according to Genesis" implies fact. And I DO prefer Alastair's "Creation in Genesis" the best because of its specific scope (Genesis) and last of characterization of the creation account (i.e. as narrative, story, myth).EGMichaels (talk) 01:08, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
How is that a good point? How does Creation according to Genesis imply fact? If Creation according to Genesis differs from Creation according to the Qur'an and from Creation according to Buddhism and from Creation according to The Silmarillion, then none of them are being touted as fact. They're all being labeled as what this or that source says about Creation.
You said before that you think it implies fact. This time, I'd like you to explain that assertion. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 01:24, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Lisa, I've already explained it. It's not a denotation but rather a connotation. And, to be fair, it may not even be an implication, but rather merely open to that inference. When I did a sanity check against "Creation according to the Silmarillion" it struck me as odd. That's all. I'm trying to be as fair to all sides as possible. When Cush said it struck him a certain way, I did a sanity check and could see how he felt that way.EGMichaels (talk) 02:15, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Lisa, thank you for saying this, because I used to think the same as you do about "Creation according to Genesis".
You are absolutely right, CatG does not imply or denote fact, however it is still problematic.
EGM's thought-experiment Creation according to the Silmarillion demonstrates that the phrasing connotes fact.
The fact that is being connoted is the fact of a creation, hence of a Creator or creators.
It is not the factuality of the Genesis account that is being connoted, it is the actuality of a creation, hence of a Creator.
Creation according to Genesis, is a fine phrase to use if one thinks Genesis is false but someone or something created the world.
But if one believes there is no Creator or creators, as well as thinking Genesis is false history or false science (say Dawkins), then one will object to this phrasing.
Strictly speaking, I should withdraw my support for that title, now DGM has provided a valid objection to it (as opposed to the invalid objections others have given). However, it requires very wooden, unimaginative and uncompromising interpretation to understand CatG in the PoV sense, so I will follow DGMs example and modify my poll position to Weak support. Alastair Haines (talk) 02:24, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
"Creation according to ..." is also stylistically awkward. The phrase "according to" is most commonly used to describe the opinions or claims of beings that have agency. If we say, "according to Bob ..." we expect that whatever is attributed to Bob is an accurate reflection of what Bob claims, and we assume that if it isn't Bob is able to set the story straight. When people say "according to the (X text)" there is a similar claim to accuracy involved, but unlike Bob, a text cannot set the story straight. The obvious need for interpretation (and in this case translation for one or more ancient languages) should make us weary of implying that there is an authoritative version of what Genesis claims about anything ... creation included. Personally I would be much less concerned about the "connotation" described above, and much more concerned about the implication of authority. There is good reason for such concern as well because in common parlance statements that begin with phrases like "according to the Bible ..." are usually made by people who believe their very narrow interpretation is the only accurate reading possible. So I agree, even if for different reasons, that this is a phrase to avoid.Griswaldo (talk) 05:58, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Interestingly, I've recently encountered a similar issue in another religious tradition. There are multiple versions of the Ramayana and of the Mahabharata, but one cultural group appeal to minority textual traditions of each work as authority for the validity of their culture. That's fine by me, I'm very remote from all the issues involved, but I can see the point that "Culture X according to the Ramayana and the Mahabharata" are quite inappropriate. (That hasn't stopped Wiki editors from saying this though, and I'll not get fussy about their use of "according to" and change it.)
However, I'm only aware of one alternative text of Genesis: the Samaritan Pentateuch. And I'm not really sure that counts as a different text, and not in the sections relevant to this article. So, I'm just dropping in a note to indicate I understand your point: I can certainly see how it applies in other articles. But in this one, I'm not convinced it does, in fact, quite the opposite. "According to Bob" is a very uncertain thing, because Bob can change his mind or change his story. "According to the Mahabharata" is also uncertain, because we know it had a dynamic textual history. But "according to Genesis" is extremely well defined. The received text of Genesis is the Masoretic Text, which is not appreciably different from the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Septuagint Greek translation. Biblical Hebrew is an extremely well-known language.
Mesopotamian creation myths, however, are nowhere near as well-defined. People stopped transcribing them. Most have alternative versions, even among the copies that have been recovered by archeologists.
As far as I can see, it is only people, like me, who believe Genesis to be exactly what God himself wants us to think about, who could possibly interpret Creation according to Genesis as an appeal to authority. But, since this is an encyclopedia written from the neutral point of view, such an appeal to authority cannot be read into it. When last I checked, editors were not required to certify their commitment to the divine inspiration of scripture before being allowed to edit, whereas I do seem to recall that being a requirement at Theopedia. (Woops, obviously non-notable, I mean Theopedia.) The same title at Theopedia would indeed include an appeal to authority, as I'm sure readers and writers at that site would confirm.
But, in the end, I actually agree with you, Griswaldo, because we cannot assume readers know that the text and language of Genesis are very precisely defined, and there is little room for interpretative variation at the sentence level. Debates about biblical interpretation are normally about abstractions, rather like Wiki debates about article titles! Is Genesis 1 science? Is it myth? Is it true? How many people wrote it and when? Which parts were written by which people? Arguments about what it actually says are much more tame, except where those are perceived to be decisive in establishing more abstract matters of interpretation.
Since readers can't be presumed to know this about Genesis, many educated people will assume Genesis is somewhat vague with plenty of different ancient versions. Of course, that is an exceedingly long way from the abundantly documented facts. Alastair Haines (talk) 08:20, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I apologize for not always being entirely clear. I'm not sure we're on the same page ... let me try again. The fact that Bob can change his mind is a great way to get at this. When Bob does change his mind we can authoritatively change our statement "According to Bob ..." The problem with a text is that the text never changes its mind while people interpreting the text do. In other words we will always be talking about "Creation in Genesis according to interpreters of Genesis" (or according to biblical scholarship if indeed our sources are that narrow). If the entry presented the text of the narrative itself in its original Hebrew only then perhaps we'd have "Creation according to Genesis". Does that make sense? Let's compare this to the U.S. Constitution. There is really no such thing as "According to the U.S. Constitution", though from the rhetoric of politicians and activists one might believe there is. There can, however be endless "according to person (or group) X, the Constitution ...". Authoritatively, in terms of U.S. law, we can say "According to the Supreme Court, the Constitution ...". Like those interpreting scripture the Supreme Court may change its interpretation of the Constitution, which it does, but the constitution itself does not change its mind. One could say that amendments to the constitution are an exception to this but they are not and if anyone wants an explanation of why I'd be happy to provide it (but I hope it isn't necessary). So my point is that I really think that we ought to refrain from "according to" when not referring to beings that are widely considered to have agency. "According to God" is much more acceptable to me than "according to the bible", for instance. That is not because I believe in a "god" with agency (which I don't), but because a whole lot of people do in fact believe in such a God. Those are just my two cents.Griswaldo (talk) 12:52, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I should add that I do not in any way mean that "According to God ..." is acceptable as a title for this entry. I just mean the premise is more acceptable because within certain contexts and to certain people God has agency.Griswaldo (talk) 15:00, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Griswaldo -- I'd agree with your statements here, but I think we'd both agree that "Creation according to God" would be a poblematic title as well, even if we had someone claiming to be God to use as a reference.EGMichaels (talk) 15:07, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
It would be very problematic and that's why I added the disclaimer.Griswaldo (talk) 16:30, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Hey, thanks a bunch for such a cogent retort!
I completely agree with something you wrote, but first I want to defend an option that is not my preference.
  • according to prep.
  1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
  2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
  3. As determined by: a list arranged according to the alphabet.
American Heritage Dictionary
I would have thought "according to Genesis" meant "as stated or indicated by Genesis".
The text intended by the name Genesis would have to be the text normally given that name, which just happens to be a text that scholars don't think has changed much over 2,000 years. A fundamentalist might make a scary neighbour, but someone who flogs himself for misspelling a word of his sacred text is just the kind of guy you want as a photocopier. And history seems to have borne that out according to text critics of all flavours. So, is Genesis a well-defined term (unlike Bible or Apocrypha)? I think so, I think we know exactly which Hebrew words we're talking about.
Back to "as stated or indicated by": Genesis states bara Elohim ("God created"), but does it indicate ex nihilo? Good question! Genesis states b'reshit bara Elohim, but does this state "In the beginning God created" or "At the beginning of God's creation"? Another good question!
I still think the title "Creation according to Genesis" implies a perfectly good, neutral question: "What does Genesis state and indicate regarding creation?" It states a fair bit and indicates a lot more, like any text, and indeed there are different readings with relative merits and demerits available for us in the documented reflections of people who are familiar with a lot of specialist issues.
The title does assume Genesis talks about a creation, but it is true all scholars agree that it does.
I still think the problem, if there is one, is with the word "creation". It's not as though we know there has to have been a creation, perhaps the Big Bang just happened, no cause, it just happened, just as matter–anti-matter particle-pairs spontaneously occur in vacuums. Nothing we know of "creates" them, and why should it?
The "sanity check" for me is trying "The creation according to Genesis". Now that would really express a PoV.
Now, here is where I completely agree with you.
'The problem with a text is that the text never changes its mind while people interpreting the text do. In other words we will always be talking about "Creation in Genesis according to interpreters of Genesis" (or according to biblical scholarship if indeed our sources are that narrow). If the entry presented the text of the narrative itself in its original Hebrew only then perhaps we'd have "Creation according to Genesis". Does that make sense?' [Griswaldo, Appendix to Wikipedia, The Foundation, 2010.]
You bet that makes sense, to me anyway!
Yes, only the Hebrew truly gives us precisely what Genesis is saying, whatever that might be. Only that Hebrew text is truly "Creation according to Genesis".
But Wikipedia is not about that kind of truth or that kind of knowledge. Wikipedia is about the first kind you mention.
All we can report is what the best interpreters say is the sense of the text. Or, in your words, the substance of the article can only be:
"Creation in Genesis according to interpreters of Genesis"
Likewise, Nuclear physics means "Nuclear physics according to reliable sources".
It is a convention here to drop "according to reliable sources" from article titles.
What, then, should we call this article? ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 15:57, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Good points. I think something I stated in the first post got lost as I tried to explain what I meant more thoroughly. I think the most common usage of "according to" is akin to definition number one above, though even then I also think we're interpreting that definition slightly differently. Does a text really "state" or "indicate" anything? I'd say no, only beings with agency state or indicate anything, but I think that's where we may disagree (I believe rather strictly that signs are arbitrary and meaningless in the absence of human action, mental or otherwise). The notion that the Bible, or the Constitution for that matter, can state something on its own which then can be claimed as "authoritative" has been (and is) a very seductive notion in Western history. It is seductive in no small part because of the very fact that a text cannot change it's mind. If we can authoritatively lay claim to the meaning of a text like a national Constitution or the Jewish or Christian Bible then we can tap into the authority granted by the power that sanctifies that text. I would argue that even if we disagree about whether or not a text can "state or indicate" anything we cannot dismiss the fact that in practice, in human history, this is often what happens. To say "according to" a fixed text is to claim ownership of its power, and usually this is done only when someone wants to exclude the views of others, or otherwise adjudicate their own behavior towards others. I know this sounds like a stretch but I feel that with options like "Creation in Genesis", etc. we don't even need to get within a hundred miles of these types of associations. "Creation in Genesis" or "Genesis creation narrative" are my preferences personally.Griswaldo (talk) 16:30, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Additionally, and building off of something else you wrote, I think when we don't have "according to" in an article title it is, to me anyway, always implied that the content of the article is "according to someone(s)". When we interject "According to Genesis" it is as if "Genesis" itself trumps these otherwise implied someones. "Creation in Genesis" would not require us to state "according to ..." anyone, and that's why we don't need article titles like "Gravity according to physicists".Griswaldo (talk) 16:39, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Valid points. I've changed my support to neutral for "Creation according to Genesis". But I think "Creation in Genesis" is poorly phrased. "Genesis creation narrative" is more explicit, and has all the benefits that "Genesis creation myth" had without the problems it has. So far, no one has said anything to indicate that it could be problematic in any way. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:50, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I think somewhere I read claims that "Genesis creation narrative" was not a common phrase in scholarship, but that claim is patently false. Variants using "creation narrative" are slightly more common in google scholar than variants using "creation myth". "Creation story" gives many more hits than either but I think "narrative" is preferable for other reasons.Griswaldo (talk) 17:01, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks so much for such a clear presentation of your philosophy and sociology of language!
Ah yes! You and I agree regarding the current issue, but would be pushing one another on others.
Briefly, to meet your openness with my own, I value authorial intention above reader response.
Perhaps our focus in life pushes us to learn more about different sides of the same abstract issue.
Your approach strikes me as more demanding to learn and apply and generally more useful.
I concede, people can and do appropriate texts for their own purposes.
This can be done responsibly and pro-socially, but is typically the opposite.
On the other hand reflective listening, understanding authorial intention, can also be pro-social and useful.
I'm a student of dead voices, more interested in comprehending than evaluating, just an interpreter.
Perhaps one day I'll grow up and dare the risky thing of evaluating: praising the pro-social and condemning the anti-social.
I don't trust myself yet, though. How do authorial intention and reader response address the current topic?
I think, although this article must be titled and aim first at authorial intent, I think it can extend to reader response and evaluation.
There are a goodly number of scholars who read Genesis 1 as intending to promote human exploitation of the environment, for example. There are other criticisms of its ethics, especially if Genesis 2-3 are considered. Who cares if the science of Genesis 1 is out of date, if its ethics is out of date ... and millions still follow those ethics!!!
I'm not pursuaded by those critics, we agree about what Genesis actually says, but we evaluate it differently.
I hope what I'm saying shows that I hear what you are saying Griswaldo.
You're the first I've seen in my short time here to raise this important aspect of the article. Alastair Haines (talk) 17:06, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I think that we need to step back and ask a simple question. The question is NOT "do notable and reliable sources use the phrase?" Quite obviously notable and reliable sources can be found for all of the phrases.

However, a much better question is: "do notable and reliable sources REJECT the phrase?" Any title that is not explicitly rejected by notable and reliable sources is allowed. Any title that includes a term which is explicitly rejected by notable and reliable sources should be disallowed.


  1. Creation according to Genesis
  2. Genesis creation myth
  3. Biblical creation
  4. Genesis creation narrative
  5. Creation in Genesis
  6. Biblical creation myth
  7. Genesis creation history
  8. Genesis creation truth

While there are many notable and reliable sources that will insist this narrative is myth (and I personally agree with them), there are other notable and reliable sources that explicitly reject that characterization.

I'm sorry, but no matter how much we may personally like a particular characterization -- if there are notable and reliable sources that explicitly reject it, we as Wikipedia editors must bow to the sources.

We may think we are important here, but we are only yeomen.

I'll add that this works FOR us as well as AGAINST us. While we cannot impose our view that this is myth (because notable and reliable sources reject it), we can be happy that other views of truth or history cannot be imposed on us.EGMichaels (talk) 17:44, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

I'll repeat my earlier observation that the term "myth" is similar to the term "cult". Both terms may be used responsibly in scholarly works, but a general audience is likely to read the term(s) as demeaning the subject(s) veracity.
"Narrative" seems unobjectionable but superfluous.
"Biblical" greatly broadens the scope in distracting ways, such as John 1:1.
Strong Suport: Creation in Genesis --AuthorityTam (talk) 05:06, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

I support any of those options that does not include the word "myth" as it is misleading. --Dweller (talk) 10:27, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

OK, I've changed my mind a little. I can see the arguments for the "narrative" title, and I've actually looked into it, and the only other "X creation myth" article I can find is Sumerian creation myth, with the other fanciful relgious stories being either sections of larger mythology articles or labelled as "cosmology" or the like. Unfortunately, I can't think of a new title for Sumerian creation myth that would match the renaming of this article, but I'll set my mind to it as and when it happens, since we must, per WP:NPOV, not give additional credence to Judeo-Christian mythology over the Sumerian tales from which it was cribbed. Dr Marcus Hill (talk) 12:44, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm not crazy about the title 'Creation Myth',

but it is preferred to 'Creation Story' which would imply total lack of any fact. At least 'myth' implies some possible remote basis in fact--and this is more than it deserves from a purely scientific PoV (a compromise). This will have to remain imperfect--for now. When that which is perfect comes along, that which is imperfect shall be deleted and replaced with the perfect--right? Science must remain true to its erection of 'testable' hypotheses and rigorously tearing at and modifying them. Faith must remain true to the mothers/fathers History as brought down from the past--it is our only communication from then. I am a neo-anarchist and am definitely not a believer in majority (nor committee) rule of anything. These two opposing PoV need to remain separate. To mix them, ends up in hodgepodge. At worst (from a traditional faith PoV) a scientist should be agnostic--God hasn't been disproven, and how would we even form a testable hypothesis for a negative proof? Atheism is an opposing belief (faith), based on less truth, for the purpose of obscurantism. Atheism is a mean spirited 'religeous' concept intended to be devilish. God, however, is in complete control and affects that every roll of a die, every Powerball Lottery Drawing and every genetic mutation is completely random--what would we do and where would life be, if it weren't so? Hallelujah! Mouselb (talk) 10:27, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Narrative 1

@lisa. I sourced this. It's also sourced in Wenham and easily a hundred other references. In the first narrative creation is by divine command, God "says" and it then "is". Each day's creation is preceded with God's announcement "let there be". And in the second creation narrative God "forms", like a craftsman. In the second, he molds, he breathes into the nostrils, removes a rib and closes the wound. But in the first he creates by summoning into being. This creation by imperative rather than craftmanship is viewed as a significant feature of the first creation story. So if you dispute this what are your sources? Thanks. Professor marginalia (talk) 21:18, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

First of all, and I acknowledge that this isn't a valid criterion for Wikipedia, it's factually untrue:
1:1 God created the heavens and the earth
1:7 God made the firmament
1:16 God made the two great lights
1:21 God created the great sea-monsters, etc.
1:25 God made the beast of the earth, etc.
1:27 God created Man in His own image
There are plenty of direct statements of God creating/making, including the first verse, which most sources see as a summary followed by details. In the second place, I'd be happy to cite you any number of works of Jewish scholarship which are clear on the subject that God did not "summon" creation, but created. Will you give me problems about these sources the way Cush did? - Lisa (talk - contribs) 22:33, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, God created-but how? The how the creation was accomplished in the first narrative is by God calling it into being and form. Right? God didn't "plant" a garden, or sedate Adam and pull out a rib, or mold the dust as in Genesis 2. And as you know, we do rely on sources here, not editor say-so, so if you dispute a sourced description you should furnish sources. Professor marginalia (talk) 23:00, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
What you wrote doesn't say that God created anything by means of speech. It says that He "summoned" the creation of things. That's an awfully odd turn of phrase, and one which isn't backed up by the text or any number of rabbinic sources on the subject. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 00:57, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Also, if you want to elaborate on the idea of God creating by going into how it was done, that really belongs in the body of the article, and not in the lede, particularly when there are conflicting opinions. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 00:58, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Hey, I thought summoned had pizazz -- but Lisa's probably right. Some flair may not be appropriate. But good style!EGMichaels (talk) 01:09, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Again-"summon" is the exact word used in the source. So far you've disputed it but haven't offered a source. I wrote what the source said and until you offer contrary sources there is no "dispute" to consider here. Professor marginalia (talk) 04:34, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Professor -- that's an odd request. Almost NO sources use the word "summon" (which is why I thought it had pizzaz). Do you really need a source that says "create"? Heck, blindfold yourself, throw a dart in a library, and open any book on Genesis at random and you'll probably see "create" instead of "summon." Or do you need a book that says, "This was not a summoning." Since "summon" is such a unique word here, it would be really hard to find someone denying it. Besides, it's a clever way to say "called into being." While I don't agree with Lisa that the word is "inaccurate" I'd have to side with her that it's a little odd. I personally like it, but if an editor objects to so odd a term (even a lovely term as that) we should probably err on the side of the mundane.EGMichaels (talk) 13:20, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
It's not an "odd request" given the reasons given for lisa's revert were that it isn't true, that it can't be backed up by the text, and there were "conflicting opinions" on this. def summon: "to call upon to do something specified; to call for the presence of, as by command, message, or signal; to call into action; rouse; call forth". If "summon" is too "pizzazy" let's hear some alternatives. But I've already shown that "summon" is perfectly suitable, and neither is it particularly "odd". [27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37] The poorly disguised I just don't like it revertitis has been chronic in this article, while hundreds of more serious problems dealing with properly sourcing claims, copyright infringements, and content errors go ignored. Professor marginalia (talk) 15:17, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
You still haven't clarified whether you are requesting ANY source that uses ANY other term (such as "create") or rather a source that somehow managed to take enough notice of the wildly improbable (though not inaccurate) term "summon" in order to actually reject it. It's like finding a source that says, "God did not conjure" or "God did not channel" or some other unusual word. Either one of those would be an odd request. As for "I don't like it" -- I've repeatedly said that "I DO like it." Nevertheless, it's an unusual term, and when challenged should revert to a more mundane term. Wikipedia isn't about cramming any cool term we can shoehorn in there, but rather to be clear. We sanity check each other for clarity, and Lisa did you the favor of a sanity check. Please return the favor by being... mundane.EGMichaels (talk) 15:35, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Quoting Lisa: "I'd be happy to cite you any number of works of Jewish scholarship which are clear on the subject that God did not "summon" creation, but created." Let's stop moving the goalpost, okay? Enough's enough. Professor marginalia (talk) 15:44, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
That's not moving the goal post. Her wording was quite clear: she has reams of sources that God "created" instead of sources that say God "summoned."EGMichaels (talk) 16:19, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Why are you running interference on this? She defended her revert by saying that she would be happy to cite any number of works clear on the subject that God did not "summon" creation. So let's have them. Professor marginalia (talk) 16:29, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not running interference -- you are deliberately "misunderstanding" her words. I say "deliberate" now that you continue to press it even after I've made it clear what she meant (which should have been obvious). Please drop it; you are creating noise on the talk page and interfering with collaborative editing.EGMichaels (talk) 16:51, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I think he's running interference because he has more tolerance for tendentious demands than I do.
  • Wayne D. Dosick, Living Judaism: the complete guide to Jewish belief, tradition, and practice, p.128: "What was the first act of creation? God said, 'Let there be light' (Genesis 1:3)"
  • Martin Sicker, Reading Genesis politically: an introduction to Mosaic political philosophy, p.2: "All previous acts of creation are described as the direct consequence of straightforward and impersonal divine imperatives, such as Let there be light (Gen. 1:3), Let there be a firmament (Gen. 1:6), and Let the earth bring forth the living creature (Gen. 1:24). In all these instances, the utterance of the divine word itself constitutes the act of creation, although as is evident from the last citation, the act may be merely the initiation of an evolutionary process."
Recopying more would be just more of a waste of time. This is like a microcosm of the whole title debate. There are terms that are clear to everyone and not disputed. "Narrative", in the case of the title. "Created", in this case. There are idiosyncratic terms that may be present in a source, but are by no means the most common term. "Myth", in the case of the title. "Summoned", in this case. In both cases, those wishing to use the less common term accuse those wishing to use a normal term of "IDon'tLikeIt-itis", a violation of AGF which could easily be turned in the opposite direction. Just stop, okay? The vast majority of sources and the world read "Let there be light" as a statement which created light. Even those who don't believe it happened understand that this is what the text is saying. Why on earth you have to get all snippy about an odd term like "summoned" is beyond me. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:08, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Why am I still focused on "summon"? Because when editors revert with the reason "factually untrue" and it's like pulling teeth to get substantive backup to the accusation, the "discussion" drags on and on. And I am quite fed up with being lectured about "collaboration" from you, egmichaels. I have asked for the references to back up the revert, and if I can't have them unless I bug and bug then any failure to "collaborate" certainly isn't mine. So Lisa, please explain how your own reference disputes my edit? It says creation takes place "as the direct consequence of straightforward and impersonal divine imperatives". "To issue an imperative" is as clear a synonym for "to summon" as one can find. So if you don't like summon because it's "odd" (given you've abandoned the "untrue", "disputed", or "can't be backed up" excuses in favor now of this one) what word do you like better? We need something to describe the "manner" of this creation because it, as well as God's series of declarations that each day's creation was "good", are distinguishing features of the first narrative. Professor marginalia (talk) 17:46, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

<---The question of how God creates is something you can discuss in the body of the article. If you want. Personally, I think you knew from the start that using the word "summoned" would cause problems, and you did it anyway. Genesis says God created things. You want to say that He only "summoned their creation". One of the sources I brought says explicitly that the command was the act of creation. Not a summons for creation, but the act itself. If you have a source that disagrees (and I haven't read your source, so I have only your word that it does and that this isn't an idiosyncratic reading on your part), then we have conflicting sources. Which can be dealt with in the body of the article. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:59, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

(ec)Why would I anticipate that it would "cause problems"? There is nothing wrong with it - I don't have just one source, I've provided a dozen that use the very term itself, and even the reference you furnished unequivocally supports it. Professor marginalia (talk) 18:16, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I can't have friends arguing like this. Can I break the deadlock with an alternative? How about using the term fiat-fulfilment.
  • "The full two-register cosmology comes to expression in the fiat-fulfillment format, which is the basic structure of each of the six day-stanzas. While the 'let there be' is uttered at the upper register, the 'and it was so' occurs at the lower register."
Meredith Kline, "Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony", Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 48 (1996): 2–15.
Please shoot me instead of one another. Alastair Haines (talk) 18:10, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I appreciate the constructive suggestion. If "summon" is objected to as too odd, though, I think we'd have to agree "fiat-fulfillment" is somewhat more so. Maybe just "fiat"? Professor marginalia (talk) 18:20, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
How about just "spoke"? That's basically the same as what Professor seems to mean by "summoned" without the pre-existent connotations that Lisa (and orthodoxy!) wishes to avoid. Every source I know of grants that "God said." Well -- "God spoke." Granted, it's not as cool a word as summoned, but it's non-controversial and easy to understand.EGMichaels (talk) 18:28, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
How about just "created"? Up above, the prof said, "Yes, God created-but how?" So even he agrees that created is correct. And since there's a dispute in the sources as to "how", the question of how doesn't belong in the lede. EGM, it's the same argument you've used here about the title. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 18:34, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
He he, yes I'll keep fiat-fulfilment to my writing off Wikipedia (mostly).
Fwiw, I think "summon" is a great word to capture the idea of words causing something to come into existence.
However, I really do appreciate that in ordinary usage a "demon is summoned" or the boss "summons" you to her office.
Since the idea of pre-existing material is contested in scholastic discussion of Genesis, and ordinary usage of "summon" tends to evoke the idea of calling something that already exists to be present before you, I can really appreciate the objection.
"Summon" is used by sources. Its a good word. Is it the only word?
I'm not going to take sides here. I think you're all spot on! Alastair Haines (talk) 18:38, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Also, I've started looking at the prof's sources: [38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48]
I checked the first two, and failed to find the term "summoned" being used. I don't see any reason to continue through them. If he wants to demonstrate his point, he can include the text here. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 18:40, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
First source, printed page 85: "On days 1 - 3 God performs three acts of division and separation that summoned into existence of the created order." Second source, printed page 2: "Distinct to this telling, however, are two significant variations. [In the first variation] The incomparable ease with which God summons the sun, moon, stars, water, sky, earth and life into existence and that God does so without the aid or counsel of any other being marks this God as incomparable and unique." Do you want me to keep going? They all say the same thing, in so many words. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:02, 15 April 2010 (UTC) On second though, let's finish this. The third source printed page 80 (speaking of allusions in the Book of Baruch to Genesis creation)"Descriptive accounts of Creation--The first example, 'You summon the coming of times and they stand before you' alludes to the scene of the Genesis creation account." The fourth, printed page 24: "As God's 'speech creature', the world is evoked by this summoning God who will have his way." The fifth, printed page 462, "This primal universe contained the potential that he summoned into actuality by his creative word and so made heaven and earth, as we read in Genesis 1:1." Next, printed page 7 (speaking of 2nd and contrasting to 1st narrative) "In this more vividly anthropomorphic account, God, now called YHWH 'Elohim instead of Elohim as in this first version, does not summon into being from a lofty distance but ... works as a craftsman, fashioning, ..." Next, printed page 107, the fifth day: "At the same time God summons into existence birds..." Next, printed page 218: "The classic presentation of God's creative word is found, of course, in Genesis 1, where God's word of command (note the language ... 'summon' [qara']. Next, "Out from this, God summons order, thus creating the universe." Next, "God summons the cosmos into being --systematic and planned separation of elements and production of distinct life -forms —by divine word, speech" Next, "A reading from Genesis !:1-15...Earth waits beneath the waters below and, at God’s summons, Earth emerges from the waters like a child at birth and then, at God’s command, brings forth all the fauna and flora on our planet." That should be all of them. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:38, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Comment: Definition #8 (of 8) in the OED for the verb to summon: "To call into existence; to call forth." The term is clearly being applied within its scope of meaning. However there are 7 other meanings presented prior to this one in the OED and I wonder if, in the spirit of the encyclopedia, it wouldn't be better to use terminology that is semantically equivalent to the intended meaning but not any of the unintended ones.Griswaldo (talk) 19:45, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Seriously. "God performs three acts of division and separation that summoned into existence of the created order." This source describes a summoning which occurred as a result of God's acts of creation. That's not the same as God summoning creation. Such an equation is a misreading on your part, or at the very least OR.
For the second source, you very disingenuously omitted the sentence just previous: "Instead of creation as the result of a cosmic battle requiring great effort, the God of the Torah creates simply by issuing an effortless command: 'Let there be.'" Again, the primary statement of the source is that God creates. And that act of creation (the command) summons things into existence. Which is the opposite of what you wrote.
And no, I won't go through the rest of them. Those two alone suffice to show that you are taking words out of context. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 19:46, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
There is a good point here. Per definition 8 above, when summon is being used it refers to the notion that God summons that which is created and not creation itself. Summon and create are synonyms here. It wold be like saying that God creates creation. Unless of course by "creation" you mean not the act of creating but that which was created, which is possible, but I would say stylistically awkward and not obvious to the reader.Griswaldo (talk) 19:52, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Quick question -- how are you finding these sources? You're pretty good at it and I'd like to be able to do the same. Are you finding them on or something? Googlebooks? I've never used googlebooks, but whatever you're using I'd like to use it too.EGMichaels (talk) 19:48, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
@Lisa. "God summons the creation of the heavens and the earth" is so freaking close to "God summons the sun, moon, stars, water, sky, earth and life into existence" that it's spooky (I found that source after my edit. The source I used was Alter's Genesis)
@EGMichaels-I found all those with google, google books most of them.
@Griswaldo-I'm not fixed on "summon". We're only still stuck on it here because Lisa's busy now casting aspersions on the work I've done to justify her hasty revert. Professor marginalia (talk) 20:07, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

<outdent>Back the the issue. @Lisa. All creation stories have a "create". It's a given. So in the interest of developing some substantive ~content~, we typically say more than this. We try to describe the process when we describe the creation story. It's commonly a creation from a god or gods, and sometimes creation takes place from hatching from an egg, sometimes it's the result of the gods mating, sometimes the elements are mingled like soup and coalesce into form, sometimes it's an emination, all these are different means to "create". The significant aspect in this creation account is that it was "commanded" into existence. We need to say this somehow. Professor marginalia (talk) 20:30, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Not in the lede, we don't. If you want to discuss whether God's command created things or whether God's command summoned the creation of things, do so. In the body of the article. It requires more than a simple pithy statement. The lede is for simple pithy statements.
You're standing on ceremony now. You don't like that I "cast aspersions". I apologize for casting aspersions. Will you drop it now? - Lisa (talk - contribs) 20:35, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
"The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the subject is interesting or notable, and summarize the most important points—including any notable controversies."[49]. The creation stories need better descriptions in both the body and the lead. It's on my ToDo list anyway. Professor marginalia (talk) 21:21, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
This one isn't notable. The sources you brought don't even address it as such. Just because an author uses a phrase like "summoned" instead of a simple "created" doesn't mean that anyone is arguing with the fact that it's created. Except you. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 22:24, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Nobody, including me disputes "created". "Creation myths" always involve the "create" part. But I said that. And the idea of the "summoning", if not the word itself, is notable. You dispute it-though so far you haven't offered any sources that do. But then there are disputes over ex nihilo and "pithy" or not, it too warrants mention in the lead. But you and I aren't going to agree but I'm content to wait for broader input while I work on other areas. Professor marginalia (talk) 23:22, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Henry Ward Beecher

I'm perplexed by the recent addition of information on Henry Ward Beecher in the section entitled "Creationism". The source uses Beecher as an example of religious liberals who interpreted Genesis as myth, allegory, etc. Beecher's POV is in line with the mainstream POVs presented in the main sections of the entry. Just because Beecher appears in a Science reference work within the context of discussions about creationism doesn't make it apropos to the creationism section of this entry, especially when Beecher's POV is in line with mainstream (non-literalist, non-creationist) interpretations of the passage in question. I caution against building the "Creationism" section up any further as this entry is not about the history of that controversy but about a religious text that is otherwise interpreted in a very different way. Let's think outside the culture wars box here.Griswaldo (talk) 12:19, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Additionally the phrasing on Beecher is misleading, though I'm sure that was not intentional. The source states that Beecher "eagerly abandoned what he regarded as obnoxious traditional doctrines such as the Fall and Original Sin (Genesis 3), for an optimistic evolutionary anthropology ..." I'm not sure what abandoning the doctrine of the Fall meant to Beecher in entirety, but it certainly doesn't seem right, without another source to back it up, to then place his evolutionary anthropology as being expressly post-Fall of Man with a link to the Christian doctrine of the Fall to boot. Let's be a bit more careful here.Griswaldo (talk) 12:29, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it was misleading. Hopefully it's better now. The problem with the original section is that it treated all creationism as a literalist reading of the genesis creation, and that's incorrect. There are different shades of literalist creationism, and then there are non-literalist creationists (special creation of the soul, for example) whose creationist theology relates differently to the Genesis passages. I used a better example from Beecher than the Fall (he has many, and and his "Fall" ideas would "open" things up beyond the creation account more than is ideal there). Professor marginalia (talk) 19:29, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
There are still others (i.e. Neo-Orthodox) not dealt with, but probably too confusing for the general reader.EGMichaels (talk) 19:32, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
To clarify, creationism is not limited to Genesis literalists. This is a widely held misconception but the encyclopedia shouldn't perpetuate it. But all these forms of creationism I included did develop in large part as a response to the scientific developments. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:34, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
The new text is quite clear. Thanks for that. However I'm still unsure of its placement in this entry. The entry is not about the history of creationism. Also, while I suppose you have sources that includes Beecher's interpretation of Genesis within some type of "creationism" (yes?) I'm quite uneasy with this designation because it implies that any interpretation of Genesis (whether from the 19th or 3rd century, etc.) that assumes divine creation is real (whatever that means ahistorically -- I say next to nothing) belongs under the subheading "creationism". This renders the term virtually meaningless within the context of this entry. Creationism of the sort that includes some amount of biblical literalism is meaningful precisely because it does not fit into the mainstream historical trajectory of the interpretation of these passages. Such is not the case for Beecher. Whether or not we agree about these later points I still have a hard time understanding why this has been included and why under this heading and not some other.Griswaldo (talk) 20:33, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Should we rename the entire section "Theology and Judaeo-Christian interpretation", "Creationism"? This seems to be implied by the argument for Beecher's inclusion.Griswaldo (talk) 20:50, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I didn't create the section, I repaired and improved it. And I'm not responsible for the definition of creationism either, but the idea that it refers or is notable only to "non-mainstream" religious thought is absolutely untrue. Beecher would be an evolutionary creationist-he believed that the soul was separately and divinely created and that the method God chose to perform the creation was a progressive form of evolution. Whether or not he should be "labeled" a creationist is not significant--but what is significant is the way he incorporated the new Darwinian theory into his theological interpretation of both an historical, factual creation and the theology as revealed in Genesis creation scriptures (and other scripture as well). I think it's useful to include him because he's repeatedly mentioned in the context of the kind of "schisms" that developed in Genesis interpretation in response to Darwin. In 4 or 5 at least he's described as the most influential theologian to lead the liberal theological accommodation of evolution to Genesis interpretation. If you think a better label might be something about interpretations following the advance of science that would be fine with me. I don't think it should merge with the "Judaeo-Christian" simply because this response to Darwin etc on Genesis interpretation is extremely notable in and of itself. Interpretations changed for other reasons as well, such as in the case of the documentary hypothesis, but I think these creationists described in the section now directly address the discrepancies between scientific understanding and the details given in the text itself. Professor marginalia (talk) 22:03, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I did not say that creationism only refers to "non-mainstream" religious thought. I said that, "[c]reationism of the sort that includes some amount of biblical literalism is meaningful precisely because it does not fit into the mainstream historical trajectory of the interpretation of these passages." Creationism as you suggest it is commonly defined apparently includes virtually all "mainstream religious thought" coming out of the history of Christianity and Judaism. I don't really see the utility of this definition when what we're really writing about is the historical period after Darwin and specifically the encounter between biblical interpretation and biological theories of evolution. The relationship between theology and this passage is placed in a more general section on theology and interpretation no matter what developments in Western intellectual history may have dramatically influencing this theology, but when theology and interpretation relates to Darwin somehow it naturally belongs in its own section? I'm not sure I understand that. I will concede that it is of historical significance and perhaps the answer is not to merge but to split even more. But if that is the case your suggested rename for the section is better because it much clearer. The inclusive definition of creationism isn't meaningful in this historical context in my view.Griswaldo (talk) 23:48, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
You're right that the broad scope of creationism itself isn't of much interest here-what is would be noting the set of interpretations that came about as a consequence of modern evolution and science. Genesis creation and Noah's ark are the two primary areas where we continue to see these big religious and social clashes over the texts say and what science says, and the Ark article addresses the related interpretive issues there as well. Let's get a better title then - I'll think on it myself. Professor marginalia (talk) 00:04, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Any luck. I haven't solved this one myself but I think we're pretty much in agreement. I might have been a bit extreme in my initial arguments on this, but in the end I do agree that it is important but that we simply need to be accurate about reflecting the context and importance adequately. Thanks for thinking this through.Griswaldo (talk) 13:09, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I'll drop in two cents to this quality discussion. It is remarked upon in biblical studies and theological literature that both the theory of evolution and the documentary hypothesis challeged cosy consensus and assumptions regarding interpretations of Genesis that preceded them. Many contemporary scholars from faith communities consider Genesis itself to be unchallenged, but accept that rejecting or modifying prior interpretations is necessary. In my opinion, Creationists are important because they seek to keep old interpretations alive as the "natural reading" of the text. Leaving the physcial sciences aside for a moment, if the Creationists were right in their linguistic and literary arguments, then Genesis 1 would be literal, after all. That would be good news for secular humanism, because Genesis 1 would be falsified.
I'm sure what I'm saying is not new to either Griswaldo or the good Professor. What I would like to see in the Creationist section is a focus on summarizing Creationist arguments for the literal nature of the text. There are some excellent scholars in that tradition who challenge my own reading. It strikes me this is a literary article (all the more so under the title "creation myth"), rather than a Science v. Bible kind of article (without meaning to include due space where relevant).
Anyway, sourced examples of the "literalist" point of view is content I'd hope this article could contain. Alastair Haines (talk) 08:20, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
The article should develop more the most notable of the various interpretations of Genesis 1 and 2 out there. In its current form, there's a bit of "flattening" even while many of the issues are touched on. It's probably in part because of the way the article is structured. Ideally literalism is more fully developed as a method apart from creationism-it's as old at least as Basil of Caesarea. I'm not sure I know what you have in mind though when you say creationist arguments for the literal nature of the text. Do you mean arguments that the literal is more accurate for Genesis creation? If so, there isn't much to say beyond what's already given in the quote there now. The strict literalism in today's creationism was actually born from the arguments and motivations from 19th millennialist eschatology, not so much creation in Genesis, and the arguments in post Darwin creationism that are peculiar to support for strict literalism of the Bible as a whole come more from that area. Professor marginalia (talk) 22:32, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I've been browsing this discussion [sic] and I've noticed at least an indecision whether to use the word 'summoned' or 'spoke'. The word 'spoke' (like talk/discussion) definitely implies PHYSICAL AUDIO EMANATIONS. Can you 'hear' me? If a tree falls in the woods without any medium to tranmit sound does it make sound--me thinks not. I vote for 'summoned', which at least allows for inaudiable communication/creation. From then on, alot of speaking goes on! The first few words from Biblical Genesis literally read, "In the scratch Gods created supermatter and matter." Gods from Hebrew/Aramaic 'Elohim' is always plural, regardless of how contemporary translations spin it. I think the 'how' is answered 'from scratch'. Will you be including the 'eighth day of creation'? Abraham was given the circumcision as a covenant with his creator with the promise of 'a new creation' the 'eighth day'. Mouselb (talk) 18:08, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

The Fall

The fall itself has its own spins. While to Christianity it is a problem, to Judaism it is part of the process of our becoming partners with God. A child has to individuate to become fully conscious. Thus, the fruit is entirely irrelevant as such. It is the command that makes this knowledge of good and evil. Note the similarity with the "before [Immanuel] knows the difference between good and evil" in Isaiah 7. All this is simply to say that the "fall" has its own scope and will need a good deal of work.EGMichaels (talk) 12:39, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Use of the word "myth" to debunk false notions

Our article Myth of the Flat Earth is devoted to debunking the idea the Medieval society generally believed in (or had returned to) the pre-scientific concept of the Flat Earth.

Ther the word "myth" is used in an article title specifically to connote the idea of a what Myth (disambiguation) calls:

  • A commonly-held but false belief or a popular conception about a real person or event which exaggerates or idealizes reality

I suggest that we either change both titles to avoid appearing to taks sides on whether the ideas the two articles are describing, or acknowledge that our use of myth in Genesis creation myth is indeed intended to convey the idea that mainstream scholarship regards the Biblical account of creation as discreditable. --Uncle Ed (talk) 13:17, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Hey Ed, couldn't agree with you more. If you read above this has been the subject of much debate. The counter argument to what you're saying is that the technical/academic definition of the word "myth" does not imply falsity. Read above for more details. NickCT (talk) 14:06, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
But we need not resolve two problems to resolve one problem. This Talk page is for this article; the other article has its own Talk page. And this sort of composite reasoning can be taken up at the WP:Village Pump. According to WP:TALK I think a Talk page is especially designed to be used to improve the one article associated with it. Bus stop (talk) 14:50, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
For the record, I am opposed to the title "Genesis creation myth." It contains "spin." What is called for is a bland title that identifies the subject of the article. That was accomplished adequately by the previous title which was "Creation according to Genesis." Bus stop (talk) 14:55, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
The other article should change its title, but I think its best to have that discussion over there. I do not like the current title here either, but not for any reasons related to the problems of that other article. Using "myth" in the popular sense should be discouraged across the board.Griswaldo (talk) 15:59, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I've come to realize that "Creation according to Genesis" is also prejudicial. It implies that there was a creation, and this is how it went according to Genesis. Which is a problem for people who don't think there was a creation at all.
"Genesis creation narrative" fixes this problem without using the problematic term "myth". I don't think a single person has expressed any problem with the term "narrative". It's even more neutral than "story". - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:03, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Narrative is the most popular of all the choices in the table that presented all of the choices somewhere above. Of course a lot of people who have elsewhere in this discussion insisted on "myth" have not chimed in there. I'm personally comfortable with changing the title to narrative, especially given the more recent silence from the afore mentioned people, and then dealing with the fallout if there is any after that. Others may not agree but I just don't think the "we're silent now because this has been discussed to much" argument should prevent us from doing something productive about this.Griswaldo (talk) 20:00, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I think narrative is acceptable, but I'd prefer something like "Description of Creation in the Book of Genisis". That avoids the somewhat obscure "narrative" word while not being prejudicial. NickCT (talk) 20:15, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
100% agreed on the title "Genesis creation narrative".EGMichaels (talk) 20:21, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
The word "narrative" is perfectly neutral, even if other words might be better. But since "the best is the enemy of the best", I suggest we all compromise on narrative as in Genesis creation narrative. --Uncle Ed (talk) 21:02, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
The word "myth" accurately describes the Genesis story. You may as well create an article describing Tolkien's Silmarillion as a creation "narrative". The fact is that neither are accurate. Both are pure myth. They should be described as such. --rpeh •TCE 22:03, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Please note that the discussion is not about removing the term "myth" from the main article. No one is suggesting that we stop calling it a creation myth in the entry, even in the open lines of the introductory paragraph. It is a discussion about the title only. There have been many arguments on this page that actually focus on the title only. The issue is not as simple as you think it is. Scholars do not often refer to this narrative as the "Genesis creation myth". That's simply fact, and that's one of the many arguments that have been made here.Griswaldo (talk) 22:24, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Okay, and here's an example of the use of "myth" to mean "fiction". Is it any wonder that it appears to some editors as though there's a concerted effort to use prejudicial POV language behind the change of the article to "Genesis creation myth"?
This sort of argument can't be taken into account. The passages in the Silmarillion where creation is described certain is a creation narrative, but that's not even the issue. The issue is that there are those who want to use a charged term rather than a neutral one, because they find the prospect of neutrality in this case to be offensive. It's ludicrous. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 22:15, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
The sequence of words "Genesis creation myth" is a contrivance. It is based, arguably enough, on the reference in some academic sources to Genesis as a "creation myth." It is a contrivance because one would not identify the subject matter in this article by that title unless one wanted to advance a very specific agenda. There is an activist spin to the title "Genesis creation myth" because it, more so than any other title under consideration here, rules out the possibility of literal veracity in the subject matter that is to be considered in the article. There is simply no cause for that in a title. There is ample space within the body of the article to refer to those sources that characterize the story under consideration as a "creation myth." There really is no argument as to whether or not reliable sources (some) refer to Genesis, chapters one and two, as a "creation myth." But it is gratuitous to hoist that one characterization up into the title. Genesis, chapters one and two, is also a story, a narrative, and an account. Those words (story, narrative, account) are far less committal on the question of whether the subject matter contained in this article is true or false or anywhere in-between. That is an advantage, because a title only has as its primary purpose the identifying of the subject matter of the article, not necessarily the characterizing of it in any particular way. Bus stop (talk) 22:55, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Use of the Word myth is ignorant. I do not believe in creationism, but it is still ignorant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:47, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

We seem to be in agreement on "Genesis Creation Narrative". When is it finally going to be changed? It would be so nice to be able to put all of this behind us, and focus on the article.Mk5384 (talk) 03:53, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I motion for a move request! Anyone second my motion? NickCT (talk) 13:15, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely. Seconded.Griswaldo (talk) 13:31, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
But please note that there appears to be a still active request above. I think the idea is that per that request there is consensus for "Genesis creation narrative" and we should be able to move forward with this.Griswaldo (talk) 13:38, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Actually someone needs to sort this out. On this talk page the move request appears open ended at the top of the talk page. On the move requests page it is specifically a request to go back to "Creation according to Genesis". What is the proper procedure here?Griswaldo (talk) 13:41, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Really the only "procedure" is that if consensus for a move is achieved, you request the move. Let me ask this, does anyone have a serious objection to moving the page to "Genesis Greation Narrative"? NickCT (talk) 14:06, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I would welcome the title change to "Genesis creation narrative." Bus stop (talk) 14:12, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
At the very least you need to put together a clearly worded, legitimate WP:RFC narrowly targeted the potential change to this name. Professor marginalia (talk) 14:21, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I support "Genesis creation narrative". The common usage of myth implies falsity, and that is counter to NPOV. (Declaration of bias: I personally believe the narratives to be false.) -Jason A. Quest (talk) 14:30, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
@Professor marginalia - Usually I'm all for RfCs. But I think in this case, we need not delay. There seems to be strong consensus for the "narrative" wording. It certainly seems less contraversial than the current wording. NickCT (talk) 14:42, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Isn't one of the essentials of NPOV that "neither side" feels that the wording gives an advantage to the other side? --Uncle Ed (talk) 14:46, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
There is no measurement of a "strong consensus" yet. If you don't do the work to gauge it, I predict any change in the title will be reverted within an hour and trigger even more dust and noise in the edit warfare. This battle has been going on for a very long time. Professor marginalia (talk) 15:12, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Requesting a move to the consensus title of "Genesis creation narrative"

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Page moved. Ucucha 01:29, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Genesis creation mythGenesis creation narrative

After a great deal of discussing and debate, there appears to be a consensus that Genesis creation narrative is the most descriptive and NPOV title for this article. See [50] and [51] and [52]. This consensus has been getting stronger and stronger over the past few days, and I think now would be a good time to move the page. And since it's been such a charged issue, I think the current lock preventing editors from willy nilly moving the page should be left in place. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:10, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Support. This is the correct move. The current title is not a common phrase in scholarship despite the fact that most scholars do consider this an exemplary creation myth. There is no reason not to follow this lead and discuss the narrative as a myth in the entry without the non-standard title.Griswaldo (talk) 16:18, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support The current title clearly needs to be changed. It has been filled with controversy since a few quickly changed it a few months ago. Before that the article existed for years with normal discussion. I agree with this proposed title and it has a lot of support. SAE (talk) 16:21, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This seems to be a violation of WP:CENSOR and WP:NPOV. If "myth" is an inappropriate term for one narrative, because it is biased against the validity of the narrative, then it is by default an inappropriate term for all such narratives. And it seems that "myth" is the only term appropriate for some articles: Greek mythology etc. If this is an argument against the use of "myth" in general, it seems absurd, as the word "myth" is a neutral description of this sort of narrative. If it is an argument against the use of the word "myth" in this specific instance, it seems to be biased towards this "narrative" being more true than those which are labelled "myths", which seems both a violation of wikipedia policy and blatantly incorrect, in that it is a symbolic, metaphysical structure. Claritas (talk) 16:22, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
No one is suggesting that this term be removed from the entry. There is no censorship here. We are only discussing the title. There are several reasons to change it that have nothing to do with the general usage of the term "myth" and many of us have come to this as the best compromise because it satisfies pretty much everyone ... except perhaps those who have other non-academic reasons to prefer the term "myth". Academics do not prefer that nomenclature when referring to this narrative despite considering this a creation myth.Griswaldo (talk) 16:29, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Presumably consistency is desired - "creation myth" is used (although not as frequently as "creation narrative") to descirbe Genesis, and all other articles about such narratives use the term "creation myth". Claritas (talk) 16:50, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
That is one of the many false, but understandable, assumptions people keep on making here. "Creation myth" is not used in the titles of similar articles at all. Please browse the "creation myth" category and see for yourself. "Creation myth" is used in a handful of cases and almost exclusively when referring to the "creation myth" of a civilization -- e.g. Sumerian creation myth or Mesoamerican creation myths -- and not when referring to a text -- e.g. Enûma Eliš or Völuspá. It is the current title that is inconsistent.Griswaldo (talk) 16:54, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. Everyone seems to agree that the subject is a narrative. Any further specificity about what kind of narrative, or implications about its factual basis, need not be made in the title, and would serve no purpose whatsoever, but to endorse a POV about the subject. -Jason A. Quest (talk) 16:25, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. Neutral title. The "myth" concept is fully explained in the article body. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:27, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Mr Collins in his concise dictionary "Myth: a story about superhuman beings of an earlier age, usually of how natural phenomena, social customs etc came into being" supports the current title. Abtract (talk) 16:30, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
    • But what is wrong with the proposed title? -Jason A. Quest (talk) 16:32, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
What's wrong is that Creation myth, Greek mythology, Ancient Egyptian creation myths, Sumerian creation myth, Chinese creation myth, Pelasgian creation myth, Tongan creation myth and Mesoamerican creation myths would also need to be moved, to prevent prioritising Judeo-Christianity. Claritas (talk) 16:37, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Please see my answer to you above. Those are the handful of examples of a different type of entry -- or at least a different type of title (see Lisa's response below). An argument can be made for Pelasgian creation myth as of a similar type, but it, like this entry currently, is the exception and not the rule.Griswaldo (talk) 16:59, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Correct. The correct analogy would be from Chinese creation myth to Jewish creation myth. Or Christian creation myth. Genesis creation narrative is different. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:06, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
If someone sincerely objects to the characterization of the tales of Zeus, Athena, etc as "myths" they are free to take that issue up on that article's talk page. Personally, I think the stories described in this article are laughably primitive nonsense, but there are many living, breathing, Wikipedia-reading- and -editing people who think I'm wrong, and they have weighed in here on this article, so I'm going to give them the respect due to any language-using child of (mitochondrial) Eve and support the use of neutral terminology. -Jason A. Quest (talk) 18:28, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
    • And we don't look to the dictionary definitions of words that make up part of a phrase in order to chose our titles here as far as I can tell. There are other conventions like common use, and technical use, and neither is satisfied with the current title.Griswaldo (talk) 16:34, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
      • Indeed, Claritas has betrayed that he has taken an editorial position on the matter. The title should not take an editorial position. As far as "Greek mythology", that's the commonly used term. "Genesis creation myth" is not, except in certain narrow circles. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:55, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
From the tag on the article, I thought that we were discussing potential NPOV-violation of the article's current title. Apologies. Claritas (talk) 17:21, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
"Myth" is a POV violation, as it takes an editorial position on the matter. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:37, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Before everyone else says it... There is a pragmatic difference between the dictionary definition of the word "myth" and the colloquial usage. Since titles are supposed to be "common usage", this would be tantamount to calling the story a flat-out fairy-tale. Since there is no proof for this, that would be NPOV. The authorship has been called into question but the story has no viable way of being tested so it can't be falsified. Padillah (talk) 17:51, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Bingo. 18:03, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support As a Creationist, I find this current title offensive and miseading so I support any change that removes this false accusation of myth. The C of E. God Save The Queen! (talk) 16:46, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Genesis creation narrative. The word "narrative" is perfectly neutral, and Wikipedia does not need to take the masses by the hand and lead them. Let the reader, rather than the title, decide what they think. Using words like "myth" is an attempt to lead the reader as opposed to their own ability to decide. --TK-CP (talk) 16:49, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support The article should be about the story itself, not it's validity (which has been falsified for quite some time). The article is dealing with the story, or narrative, that describes the myth, not the myth itself. The myth should be dealt with in the Christian creation myth where asserting that this is a myth is perfectly appropriate. This article doesn't talk about the myth, but the story in front of the myth. Padillah (talk) 17:13, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Um, not for nothing, but Christian creation myth redirects here. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 18:22, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
You caught me, I didn't check that. That should be changed to a valid article discussing the various Christian creation myths and their place in the dogma. Not being a seminary student I have no idea how that article would get a start. Padillah (talk) 18:37, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Wikipedia is written for the common man. The common man understands "myth" by its common definition (i.e. w/ implicit or explicit falsity). Wikipedia must be super careful not to endorse or refute any particular religous belief. Hence, "myth" language is innappropriate. "Narrative" sounds like a good NPOV replacement. NickCT (talk) 18:19, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose. This looks like a token sop to the religon of most Wikipedians, in the face of common usage of the term "creation myth" to describe traditional attempts to explain origins such as are found in religious scripture. On the other hand as long as the redirect was maintained no real damage would be done, so my opposition to this token move proposal is also a token and I won't be losing sleep if I'm overridden by consensus. Tasty monster (=TS ) 18:30, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
    • This phrasing isn't actually common. I see no reason why the redirect can't be kept, but IMO few people will try find this story by typing in those exact words anyway.Griswaldo (talk) 19:39, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong Support i think after months of bickering i think this is the closest we have come to consensus Weaponbb7 (talk) 18:47, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Weak support. I am not convinced that the move is necessary, but it's not wrong, either. The only thing that really makes me hesitant is the prospect that once "creation myth" has been removed from the title, the absurd fight for removing it from the lead will start again. Hans Adler 20:07, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Hans I don't think that will happen. As I see it many people who support this move do not support removing the description from the article or its introduction. However, should that happen I agree wholeheartedly that vigilant opposition is necessary.Griswaldo (talk) 00:24, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Consensus? This proposal doesn't even have a linguistic basis. The mythology article quotes Eliade, "In fact, many societies have two categories of traditional narrative — (1) "true stories", or myths, and (2) "false stories", or fables." English dictionaries do not define myth and narrative as interchangeable synonyms, nor creation myth and creation narrative, nor mythology and narratology, etc. Keahapana (talk) 22:13, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
You apparently misunderstand the point of this proposal. You are absolutely correct that myth and narrative are not synonyms, and that is the very reason for this change. Whether Genesis contains a myth or not is disputed depending on one's POV and interpretation of that term, but that it contains a narrative (a less specific term) is something that seems undisputed. -Jason A. Quest (talk) 00:09, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
No, I fully understand this proposal because I've been following this ongoing Genesis-creation-myths-aren't-myths thread for over a year. Since you apparently misunderstood, I'll reiterate. "I just don't like the word myth" arguments to rename one particular creation myth a creation narrative are at best intellectual dishonesty and at worst apologistic doublespeak. This monkey suit-like proposal is comparable with a few individuals who don't like the word cock contending that editors should violate basic WP policies to rename the cocktail, shuttlecock, and stopcock articles. Keahapana (talk) 20:27, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
"Genesis-creation-myths-aren't-myths thread"? Apparently you're not following the more recent discussions here in which several editors who don't like the current title are also not the least bit shy about the fact that these narratives are also myths. My mind is blown every time someone claims that they know all about what's going on here when their statements show little to no recognition of the many conversations that are ongoing in this discussion. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 02:35, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose The battle has gone on far too long already. My opinion is based on policies and scan of references which I will describe more fully in the section below. Nothing less than a genuine commitment from editors to put aside their own personal opinion and defer to the body of sources and pertinent policies will move this forward. Professor marginalia (talk) 22:40, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Maybe you could start? -Jason A. Quest (talk) 00:09, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Further note: This battle is such a mess, there are currently two requested move polls on the same page, one timed out without result but no uninvolved editors have shown to close it, and those sent here from village pump who aren't spending their lives on this page aren't well guided to where to leave comment, here or there. This mess is such a time sink. Professor marginalia (talk) 05:14, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support I've given my reasons numerous times, in numerous places.Mk5384 (talk) 23:18, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - "Genesis creation myth" may be used in some schools of thought, but they are clearly a minority among scholars. There is no overriding reason to use such an awkward and ambiguous term as "myth" just to appease this uncompromising minority, but there IS plenty of reason not to, for example something being more of an "external" term, the same one used by detractors of a given text or whatever, rather than being used as an analytical term, is usually a pretty good indication of manifesting a discernible "point-of-view" - which the current title does in a rather pushy manner. Also, whatever was the true intended purpose of this title, it does not seem to be achieving it - unless it were dissension. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 23:43, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong Support → "Genesis creation narrative". There is no way to make "myth" NPOV in this article. That should take precedence over other possible reasons to term this a myth. ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 00:53, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support - → "Genesis creation narrative" or "Creation in Genesis". Please note that I still fully support the use of "creation myth" as a scholarly term that should be introduced in the lead paragraph, just not in the article's title. Ἀλήθεια 02:57, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - more people support this from all the options. In can always be changed again. rossnixon 03:00, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I tend to agree with what the professor says. However, with 15 for and 4 against, I think that "Genesis Creation Narrative" clearly has support. It's time to get this done so that we can all move on.Mk5384 (talk) 03:46, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support for reasons I have often explained before, mainly WP:COMMONNAME. Johnbod (talk) 03:49, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose, and support a move to Judeo–Christian creation myth. I believe use of the word "myth" is supported, but the use of Genesis is inappropriate, as many readers may not (and need not) understand what "Genesis" is, and "Genesis creation myth" just doesn't work as a title. — CIS (talk | stalk) 13:48, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I do not believe that "many" readers "do not understand" what Genesis is. And I disagree therefore that, as you say, its use is inappropriate. That seems to be quite an exaggeration, do you really believe that? (for one, what is Judeo-Christian?) Imagine someone saying that the title for the article Thermodynamics (for example) is too difficult and therefore would should just use "Heating Power" for a title instead. You can see, that it just wouldn't work. SAE (talk) 13:54, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
The problem for me is that "Genesis" is too unnecessarily specific, especially compared to those other creation myth article titles like Chinese creation myth, Pelasgian creation myth, and Sumerian creation myth. I think a title like Judeo–Christian creation myth is best to correlate with those other creation myth articles without giving any sense of bias in favor of the Christian creation myth. However, lacking any support for my alternative, I would support the current title over any excision of the term "myth". A title like "Genesis creation narrative" would clearly show favoritism for the Christian creation myth over the others mentioned. — CIS (talk | stalk) 14:20, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Judeo-Christian creation myth was one of the many suggestions I made when I first found this discussion and I would support it wholeheartedly. However, ironically (given some of the arguments on this page), if we made that move the articles on the creation myths of most other living religious that will need to have title moves for consistency. See for instance Hindu cosmology.Griswaldo (talk) 14:03, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Ah, but there is already an article on Biblical cosmology, and cosmology refers simply to the study of the Universe as it now is and humanity's place within it, not how it is proposed to have been created. I think a comparison of Genesis creation myth to Hindu cosmology is unjustified—it's simply that no article has yet been written for Hindu creation myth specifically. — CIS (talk | stalk) 14:26, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
That is a fair point, and like I said I'm perfectly happy with "Judeo-Christian creation myth". I will say this though, it isn't the most commonly used name for this story, and its success as an alternative here will be severely impeded by that fact -- as is the currently discussed suggestion. Alternatives like Genesis creation story, Genesis creation account, Biblical creation story, etc. will always win the common use argument when tested in Google scholar or Google books. In fact the last one seems to get the most hits in google scholar at 661. That's Biblical creation story.Griswaldo (talk) 15:55, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I will oppose any attempt to rename this article as Judeo-Christian anything. I find the term personally offensive. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 20:22, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Not sure why it's offending you, it's an accurate description. — CIS (talk | stalk) 00:57, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose per Claritas. Kittybrewster 15:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support - Myth is a POV term, "Account", "Story", "Narrative" imply no opinion on the truth or falsehood of the story/narrative/account. Myth, however, implies that the proceeding myth is false. This automatically violates WP:NPOV (Unless reliable sources show that this is indeed a work of fiction, or false (Like Peter Popov having healing powers).Per NPOV it cannot be used in this title. KoshVorlonNaluboutes,Aeria Gloris 16:44, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment Personally, I think that the proposed title is a lot better than the current one. I do believe that the old title Creation according to Genesis may be a lot better. The C of E. God Save The Queen! (talk) 17:21, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. Surprised this still hasn't happened yet.EGMichaels (talk) 20:52, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Genesis creation narrative appears to be no more or less common than Genesis creation myth or some other alternatives which were offered (in fact, a few of the others are more common), but there does appear to be a pattern wherein a comparatively high proportion of publications which use the phrase "creation narrative" advance the point of view that the myth/narrative is factual, see e.g., [53][54][55][56].
Genesis creation narrative Genesis creation myth Percentages
General search
65% / 35%
90% / 10%
73% / 27%
51% / 49%
60% / 40%
51% / 49%
Adjusted total
56% / 44%
Results lost
954 (44.3%)
183 (16.1%)
For books found by Google Books and published in the last 20 years, Genesis creation narrative is about as common as Genesis creation myth. In addition, the relative prevalence of "narrative" as opposed to "myth" has decreased over time. (I must point out, of course, that this is an informal overview of data from one source and my statements reflect only initial impressions of patterns in the data; outright generalizations and conclusions about relative usage should not be made to support or oppose this move proposal in the absence of statistically significant results.)
Based on (admittedly brief) glances at hundreds of Google Books and Scholar results, I would support either Genesis creation myth or Genesis creation story as having common usage and appearing to be the prevalent forms in publications which approach the topic from a neutral, academic standpoint (i.e., without taking a position on the truthfulness or falsity of the creation myth/story); Judeo-Christian creation myth is an interesting proposal which I think merits further consideration, but I admit that it does not appear to be as common as other alternatives. -- Black Falcon (talk) 21:18, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
That being said, I do think that Genesis creation narrative is better than some of the other proposals, especially Creation according to Genesis and Genesis creation account. -- Black Falcon (talk) 21:27, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps we're getting warmer ...Griswaldo (talk) 11:53, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I too am in support but, theologians are unlikely to use the term "myth". "Narrative" is also an obscure phrase when it comes down to it, much more likely to be found in the pages of a journal than something like, say "story". Just saying.Griswaldo (talk) 13:21, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support move from Genesis creation myth to Genesis creation narrative. I'll repeat my earlier observation that the term "myth" is similar to the term "cult": both terms may be used responsibly in scholarly works, but a general audience is likely to read the term(s) as demeaning. --AuthorityTam (talk) 12:25, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Weak support as it's not wrong, merely inconsistent, pace all those wrangling about the gossamer thin division between cultural myths that survive through various sources and those which survive through a fairly consistent single source and just happen to have living believers. Although I'm loath to give in to the special pleading of Christians, this is clearly an argument that just won't go away, and it's preventing other important work on the article. I will, however, probably wander over to the other "X creation myth(s)" pages and try to get them renamed to "X creation narrative" for the sake of consistency at some stage. Dr Marcus Hill (talk) 15:54, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Two points. 1) I resent being lumped in with Christians. 2) "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Just saying. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 18:05, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Comment — "Special pleading of Christians"? The principle has nothing to do with anything like that. The basic principles that are relevant to this discussion do not pertain to religious views. Number one issue is that article titles should be succinct. Number two is that article titles should not be in the business of characterizing subject matter in any way except if unavoidable due to disambiguation concerns. The subject of this article is identifiable by two words, I think: "Genesis" and "creation." Words like "story," "narrative," and "account" would merely fill out the title as concerns complete language. Title such as "Creation according to Genesis" does likewise. Bus stop (talk) 16:04, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I just want to point out Bus Stop, that he did give his support. So let's try not to berate him too much when he's helping us build consensus :) Cheers, SAE (talk) 16:07, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks - and in the same conciliatory vein, I won't even try to defend my use of "special pleading", as this isn't the place for that argument. Dr Marcus Hill (talk) 16:21, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
It is actually of interest that this got framed as "special pleading to Christians" because a fair number of the more ardent non-mythers here are Jewish if I understand correctly. Dr. Marcus I don't mean to quibble or pick on you, so please don't take offense that I'm pointing this out with reference to a phrase you used. But I've said this before and I just think that too many assumptions here are colored by culture wars discourses and very many well meaning interlocutors here don't even realize how much their own comments might be shaped by these discourses. This type of assumption is pretty high on the list.Griswaldo (talk) 17:30, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Griswaldo — Did someone indicate that they were Jewish? I must have missed that part of the discussion. I was just trying to argue (immediately above) that the reasoning behind some of my own argumentation did not even take religion into consideration. As I see it the disagreement pivots on what constitutes a good title. Good titles shouldn't include superfluous information. Good titles should only include the least information necessary to identify an article, unless disambiguation (with other articles) is a factor. Bus stop (talk) 20:12, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't know if I mentioned it here, but I've certainly mentioned it before. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 20:17, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Gam ani.EGMichaels (talk) 21:14, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Mea culpa on "Christians". I meant "special pleading by adherents of extant religions". Dr Marcus Hill (talk) 20:10, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Weakened support -- a fitting word is unfortunately too "complex" (I believe the term was used previously) for those who are ignorant of the term. They will not be enlightened by learning the meaning of the word, instead they will be offended. I was hoping enlightenment would be possible. I'm seeing now it won't be. So turn it to "narrative" or whatever. There are more important battles. Auntie E. (talk) 00:52, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support with some change The word 'myth', although it has many meanings, can be interpreted as meaning a fictitious legend. Whether Genesis is fictitious/incorrect or otherwise is a matter of POV. As Wikipedia is neutral and objective, documenting notable point of views but not presenting them as fact, it would be best to avoid calling the creation story of Genesis a myth, seeing as that word can be interpreted as meaning a fictitious story. I see the opposition's point, however. 'Myth' can be synonymous with 'story', without indicating how true it is. But seeing as it is not limited to that definition, it should be avoided. I will mention, however, that this is probably only one of many articles with 'myth' in the title used to refer to a story some think or thought was true, and probably one of many more that use 'myth' in this way within the article. So while I feel this way about this article, I think it's just one small example of a much bigger issue.Kind Journalist (talk) 21:20, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support As many have mentioned above, use of the word "myth" is rather POV-ish. Sidenote: I wouldn't have a problem if you were to change the title to the Genesis creation story, which is an accurate descriptor for the written account, fits easily as a NPOV title, and best of all, does not imply fact nor fiction. JungleCat Shiny!/Oohhh! 23:42, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support - Narrative is certainly more neutral. Grantmidnight (talk) 02:35, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support, it works as a neutral title and would avoid the problems here. We can argue about the linguistic nature of the term "myth" for months, but a simple move here to a title which still represents the topic and is not seen as problematic by others is surely a better option. --Taelus (talk) 08:29, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose The generic term is "Creation myth", and that article includes all creation myths, including the Christian one. Since Christian creation myth redirects here, it's disingenuous and non-neutral to claim that this is somehow different from all other religions' creation myths. Torchiest (talk | contribs) 17:38, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Why would you consider this the "Christian" creation myth first and foremost when clearly it was the Jewish creation myth long before Christianity ever existed? The current title is not inline with common use in scholarship. The "generic term" is not the most used in this case in scholarship. Are you suggesting we defy common academic usage in order to enforce our own rules of "fairness"? That seems to be against the very grain of this project.Griswaldo (talk) 19:27, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm merely going by the way the articles and redirects are set up. There is no Jewish creation myth page, yet there is a Christian creation myth page that redirects here. If this is first and foremost a Jewish creation myth, why no redirect? All I'm suggesting is that it is clearly non-neutral to make an exception for this one article, when all the other ones, as well as the main article, are called creation myths. Keep everything on a level playing field. That's the best way to maintain neutrality. Torchiest (talk | contribs) 22:11, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
That is actually yet another misconception. Please browse the "creation myth" category. Most entries about creation myths do not have "creation myth" in the title. Only a handful do and all of those are of the following variety: "name of civilization" + "creation myth". There is an argument for renaming this "Judeo-Christian creation myth" but even then it would pretty much be the only one of its kind here. People need to stop and do some research before commenting here. I fully understand why these assumptions are made but they are actually misguided.Griswaldo (talk) 01:26, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Policy regarding the move request above

While I'm for the move, I wanted to point out that two long standing policies stand in direct contravention to the change we are trying to make.

From WP;_SAY#Myth_and_legend

From Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view#Religion

Fankly, I think these policies have to change for many of the reasons discussed above. Does anyone want to join me at the village pump to try and overturn these policies? NickCT (talk) 20:43, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

What's the village pump? Also, there's another policy which goes against the ones you posted:
From Wikipedia:UCN#Common_names
It's been argued by some that "creation myth" is the common usage in reliable sources, but this has been shown by EGM not to be the case. The argument on the side of using "myth" comes down to "that's the technically correct term." Which this policy explicitly rules out. Yes, Aphrodite of Melos is the technically correct name of the Venus de Milo. So what?
And it isn't clear that policies about religion are pertinent here. After all, the bulk of the article argues that the narrative is not what the religions which use it claim it to be at all. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 21:25, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
WP:PUMP is the Talk page for Wikipedia itself.
Wikipedia naming policy effectively trumps the bits of the above-quoted guidelines that would seem to argue against Genesis creation narrative. For search and linking purposes, article names are to reflect common usage while remaining as neutral as possible. - Jason A. Quest (talk) 21:56, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
In support of my oppose above, I submit the following analysis.
As per WP:COMMONNAME, "Articles are normally titled using the most common English-language name of the subject of the article. In determining what this name is, we follow the usage of reliable sources, such as those used as references for the article...Search engine testing sometimes helps decide which of alternative names is more common."
And Wikipedia:Article titles#Descriptive titles and non-judgmentalism "Where articles have descriptive titles, choose titles that do not seem to pass judgment, implicitly or explicitly, on the subject."
And Wikipedia:Article titles#Considering title changes, "Wikipedia describes current usage but cannot prescribe a particular usage or invent new names.
And most importantly, Debating controversial titles is often unproductive, and there are many other ways to help improve Wikipedia.
Both this and the current "Genesis creation myth" are descriptions, not the most commonly used name or label for this subject. I'm currently surveying the references cited to get an idea how they most commonly address it. I'm a third of the way through them (not all available to me or quickly searchable, but none so far have called it explicitly "Genesis creation myth" or "Genesis creation narrative".)
To gauge the most common usage via google hits, the following are my search results. Except for the category "all", these searches are all mutually exclusive, meaning searching for hits where one term of use is used while the others are not.
Google Hits "Genesis Creation" All uses Genesis creation (alone) Genesis creation myth
Genesis creation
narrative (only)
Genesis creation
story (only)
Genesis creation
account (only)
Google web  
Count 73,300 8,140 717 214 2,010 1,560
Percent   11.1% 1.0% 0.3% 2.7% 2.1%
Rank   1 4 5 2 3
Google Books  
Count 10,100 5,460 405 572 2,320 1,620
Percent   54.1% 4.0% 5.7% 23.0% 16.0%
Rank   1 5 4 2 3
Google Scholar  
Count 2,080 1,050 70 96 452 356
Percent   50.5% 3.4% 4.6% 21.7% 17.1%
Rank   1 5 4 2 3
Given these results so far, I'm inclining towards "Genesis creation", period, and unless the references themselves reveal a clear preference or unless a very very very convincing argument is made here to support some alternative, I won't support a rename of the article. Narrative is no better than myth, and we need to resolve this once and for all. It's become an absurd waste of time, imo. Professor marginalia (talk) 23:00, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
NOTE In the hits above "Genesis creation" is almost always an adjectival phrase and not a noun. It modifies nouns like "story", "account", or "myth". Can we use adjectives as titles? I don't think so.Griswaldo (talk) 00:36, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Not sure if this is relevant but WP:AVOID says "Article and section titles should be chosen, where possible, to avoid implying a viewpoint." (Found here.) Bus stop (talk) 23:50, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Prof. M. I did a similar exercise recently and I agree that "creation narrative" is not the most common alternative. Your "Genesis creation" is quite similar to the "Biblical creation" idea Cush had. However, like "Biblical creation" I'm unsure that all these hits for "Genesis creation" actually pertain to the referent in question here. The best alternatives that clearly have these passages as their referent are "Genesis creation story" and "Genesis creation account", however, for whatever reasons, those two alternatives have been even less popular around here. "Genesis creation myth", as you can see, is by far the loser here btw (in Scholar and Books that is ... I'm not really sure how significant the web hits are at all). That simple fact is something that very few people here seem to either comprehend or be willing to own up to. I'd be much happier with Genesis creation story than narrative, but this is the best compromise I think anyone has found.Griswaldo (talk) 00:00, 21 April 2010 (UTC)\
Also, Genesis 1:1–2:3 has always been an alternative. Not sexy but clearly neutral and more factual than any other alternative. Prof. M, I'd also like to remind you that as far as I can tell there was another title on this article for quite some time before a group of editors changed it to the current title. Ever since they did so there have been a ton of complaints on this talk page. You quote something stating that: "Debating controversial titles is often unproductive, and there are many other ways to help improve Wikipedia." That cuts both ways you know. The old title would never have changed had not a group of editors debated it. I agree wholeheartedly that there are better things to do here, but I also believe that a vast majority of the editors partaking in this debate who want to move on from this also want the title changed. I'm not sure how interested the opposers are (you excluded), on the other hand, in doing actual work on this article.Griswaldo (talk) 00:17, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
If you search for just "Genesis" (alone), it will yield an even greater number of hits! It's the nature of textual search functions that shorter phrases will tend to yield more hits; your results demonstrate nothing except that general mathematical principle in action. The problems with the perceived implications of myth have been articulated repeatedly. Story has similar problems: a perceived implication of fictionality. Now, I've posed this query several times in various forms, and no one has articulated an answer to explain their opposition: What is the problem with narrative? -Jason A. Quest (talk) 00:26, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, what is the problem with "narrative"? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 00:30, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I also suggest actually taking a look at the hits in, lets say google scholar, for "Genesis creation". Here is a link [57]. Note that "Genesis creation" is an adjectival phrase here ... not a noun. It modifies nouns like, most commonly (surprise surprise) "story" and "account". I'm pretty sure we cannot make titles out of adjectives. Is that correct? That, once again, leaves Genesis creation story as the clear winner.Griswaldo (talk) 00:33, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
There is no problem with "Genesis creation narrative." Has anyone articulated an objection to "Genesis creation narrative?" I would prefer "Genesis creation story" because "story" is a simpler word than "narrative." Bus stop (talk) 00:40, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Well Prof. M's objection seems to be that it is barely more common in usage than "Genesis creation myth". It is a fair point. I would prefer "Genesis creation story" but as far as I can tell it gets even less traction than narrative. This is why IMO narrative might be better (because it works as a compromise).Griswaldo (talk) 00:48, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
(ec)"Story" is less formal, and it's also worth pointing out that Christian publications titled "Bible Stories" are typically "retellings" of the narratives in language that's easier for kids to understand. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:50, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
@JasonAQuest-A search for just "Genesis (alone)" will give you Fall of Man, Noah's Ark, Cain and Abel, Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham/Isaac/Ishmael/Jacob/Joseph etcetera. If you find any other use of the term "Genesis creation" that isn't referring specifically to this very topic of "Genesis 1:2" or "Genesis creation myth" or "Genesis creation story" or "Bible creation story" please share it. There can't be many. I understand both the nature of textual search and the nature of the topic itself. We have a lot of opinions here, like this objection, that aren't borne first from scholarship and those won't help here.
The fundamental flaw in your study has nothing to do with the content of the phrase and everything to do with its length: shorter phrases get more hits. You are comparing "apples" and "rotten apples" and the results are statistically meaningless. Don't be dismissive of an objection just because you don't understand it. -Jason A. Quest (talk) 15:11, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
@Griswaldo-yes, it can act as a modifier, but my searches ruled out "Genesis creation myth", "Genesis creation story", "Genesis creation narrative", etc. If you can think of a more commonly used noun to go with its usage as adjective than "myth" or "story" we can look at it also. But it is not at all always a modifier. For example, "in Genesis creation" which is using it as a noun there are over a well over a million hits.
@Til Eulenspiegel Narrative isn't best suited policy-wise, common-usage-wise, and I have at least one reference who claims creation myths are "stories" specifically, not just any kind of creation "narrative" but specifically a "story" type narrative.
Further note-I've searched and copied from the archives the threads that focused on this very dispute. Those threads alone now fill 320 standard format pages in MS Word. We all can keep on this silliness forever, but it's looking more and more like pure stubbornness, not policy nor "scholarship", is driving most of the debate. Professor marginalia (talk) 01:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
When I looked at the actual results from Google scholar using "Genesis creation" there were only two common outputs -- as a modifier (adjectival phrase) or as no phrase at all. Please see this link again [58]. Examples of hits that are not using the phrase as a modifier are typically like this: "A Critical Edition of Evrat's Genesis: Creation to the Flood" or "Genesis, creation and early man". In these examples there is no actual phrase "Genesis creation" to speak of, just the two words happening to come in sequential order even though they are broken up by punctuation. Google does not account for punctuation properly (or as one would like it to) in these searches I'm afraid. The example you list above might be found in 0.1% of these hits. It really helps to actually look at the results themselves.Griswaldo (talk) 02:35, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I've labeled all the searches, and each count except "all" excludes the other search strings in the table. The chief complication that pops up would be plurals such as "Genesis creation myths", "Genesis creation accounts", "genesis creation narratives" (ie "creation narratives" is twice as common as "creation narrative", hence another opening to bicker endlessly over whether 1 or 2 narratives/accounts/stories should be labeled "givens" right at the outset of the article. There are plenty of examples of "genesis creation" as a referent rather than modifier in there, without intermediary punctuation, although note even the "genesis:creation" usages are almost always using "Genesis" as the modifier, "creation" as the noun. A more exacting count would take more time, but surveying those with text available for quick scan, "are quick to claim that references to a literal Genesis creation are not relegated"[59], "In the play proper Byron dismisses the primacy of the Genesis creation, and has Lucifer", "Genesis creation and worldwide flood, "50,000-square-foot museum promoting a literal Genesis creation about 10,000 years ago", "But even though this statement is somewhat reminiscent of the Genesis creation, does it necessarily mean", "The scop tells of the Genesis creation of the physical universe", etc. No clearer alternative immediately floats to the top with this closer look (genesis creation text or texts show up but not in big numbers).
Though I'm loathe to resort to this (dictionary definitions are a very, very weak rationale in these disputes), "creation" is always a noun, and as in "the Creation" a proper noun describing "the original bringing into existence of the universe by god", or "The divine act by which, according to various religious and philosophical traditions, the world was brought into existence", "God's creation of the world as described in the Book of Genesis"[60]. Creation according to the dictionary definitions is always noun, Genesis in this case would be the modifier. Professor marginalia (talk) 04:35, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure where to begin but I'll try to keep the points broken up for clarity.

  • "Creation" is always a noun, but in terms of this discussion the properties of a noun that modifies another noun that are shared with a true adjective are exactly what is at issue. I apologize for being sloppy with my terminology. For the same reason that "creation" is not an adjective, "Genesis" is also not an adjective. The notion that creation is not the modifier, but only "Genesis" is not correct when they are both followed by nouns like "account", "myth", "text", "story", etc.. In these cases they are clearly both modifiers. Once again though the issue is that when these words or phrases modify nouns like "account" or "story" they are not appropriate for a title because they rely on those nouns for meaning. Using "genesis creation" as an example of common use in a discussion about its merits as an article title requires examples in which the full string is not a modifier. Period.
  • When I replicate your "Genesis creation" only search, also subtracting the plurals I almost half your number -- now down to 687. See [61]. So that's still more than any of the specific options so what's the problem? The problem is that when I click on the results there are still a vast majority that are not of the kind you have exemplified above. Still more modifying examples exist -- "Genesis creation texts", "Genesis creation stones", "Genesis Creation Museum", "Genesis creation material", etc. What remains after these are for the most part examples where punctuation breaks the words apart, and in those cases we are no longer dealing with this term at all -- e.g. "Genesis (creation; the story ...", "What is their Genesis? Creation Research Society Quarterly", "Genesis: creation and the patriarchs", etc. Of the first 50 hits guess how many are of the kind you describe above? 7 (8 if we include its use as a "key word"). I know this is just dirty guess but 8/50 * 687 = 109. 109 is merely 10% of the number you're touting, and well below the other options which don't suffer the types of problems described here since they are actually full noun phrases in virtually every instant they are found.
  • This brings me to the actual instances, 8 of the first 50, that use the phrase "Genesis creation" on its own. These instances are almost exclusively of one kind -- when "Genesis creation" is being taken as an actual event that occurred in history -- e.g. "literal Genesis creation", "Byron discusses the primacy of the Genesis creation", "A literal Genesis creation", "reminiscent of the Genesis creation", etc. In these instances "Genesis creation" refers to the act of creation by God, and not the story about that act or otherwise the retelling of that act. The various authors here do not all necessarily believe in the actuality of this act, but when they don't they are describing real people, or characters in another story, who do believe in this literal act. In this sense the term is much worse than "Creation according to Genesis" in how much it implies that an actual act of creation by God has actually happened.

Prof. M I have to say that I'm getting slightly puzzled by your insistence on this term being preferable based on common use. It clearly isn't. Once we wade through the junk that turns up from the Google searches it is rarely used, and when it is it bares this literalist/historical connotation virtually always. It is clearly less common and way less precise if we are trying to label a narrative that is laid out in a few biblical passages.Griswaldo (talk) 13:05, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

The idea of "Genesis creation" is silly. It'll be challenged and overturned almost immediately, because it implies that there was a creation, which is disputed by one side of this debate. If it weren't for WP:AGF, I might suspect that this is the professor's actual intent. Torpedo the consensus that's been built for something truly NPOV ("Genesis creation narrative") so that it'll wind up as "Genesis creation myth" again. I can't imagine what useful reason there would be for omitting the completely neutral and descriptive term "narrative". Those who think it's true agree that it's a narrative. Those who think it's not agree it's a narrative. Why are we still quibbling about this? Let's get on with the name change and get back to squabbling about the actual content. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 13:16, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm more than willing to WP:AGF here myself, but I think its going to be hard if the Prof. doesn't recognize that Gensis creation is simply not remotely as common as his table implies. Also what Lisa says about the implication of the phrase is not just an implication of course, but a reality when it comes to actual usage of the phrase. See my third point above where I show exactly this use in actual examples. I really hope that particular issue is settled for good. Prof M, can you please take a look at my post and respond regarding this. I'm more than willing to believe that you didn't go through all the steps that I did to sort this out, but now that they are in front of you what's the verdict? Thanks.Griswaldo (talk) 13:22, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
@griswaldo - no, your reasoning is good. Google scholar isn't a good rubric at this level because a) a large proportion in this hit count included citations which will "hit" only on strings in titles b) the counts aren't large to begin with and c) a sizable number of hits don't have anything to do with this subject at all. But even google books, which is a little better measure due to a/b/c, and google web which which can be a real garbage can of unrelated stuff, are certainly over-counting the usage. You've produced a good argument. I'm almost done surveying the references used. And I've also done some google hit reruns to see how things shake out with the plurals, multiple usage, etc. I'll update soon.
@Lisa - "torpedo the consensus"? You be sure and let us know when you've changed the WP:AGF policy to apply only to those who agree with you in the wiki polls, okay? Until then, I'm going to respect the policies we do have. I'm not completely finished, but as it stands now "genesis creation narrative" and "genesis creation myth" are very distant finishers. If this dispute could be successfully settled with NPOV, "creation according to genesis" would be the end of it. But NPOV is NOT the dominant factor in article naming...common usage prevails except in special circumstances. The reason given for the most recent successful article rename was that "genesis creation myth" was more commonly used than "creation according to genesis". I'm focused on policy issues as I listed several paragraphs above, and otherwise - meh...I don't care about this rename (although I'm annoyed oftentimes to see nicely, aptly phrased pipe changed due to the "oversensitivity" of editors of all stripes with an itch to push and/or vanquish a very narrow POV). So I'm not backing this one. It doesn't measure up to the article naming policies, and I'm not wasting any of my time examining article renames some other way. Professor marginalia (talk) 04:11, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Prof. M. Don't you think the "Genesis creation" and "Biblical creation" options are a bit dead in the water because of the literalist implications, I mean however we move forward? I do think that the common use argument regarding "creation narrative" is a fair point. In use it stacks up pretty much 1:1 with "creation myth". I will say this though, there is much closer semantic relationship between "narrative" and "story" than between either and "myth" (in fact I doubt there is a thesaurus out there that doesn't list "narrative" and "story" as synonyms). So far, from several different approaches using Google scholar and books, "creation story" seems to be the clear common use winner. As I've stated several times now that actual phrase is my preference, but I can see an argument for putting "narrative" over the top of "myth" based on this as well. The two appear about as many times, but "narrative" is also a synonym of "story" and story appears well more times than other alternatives. The only problem I have with using "narrative" is that it's just more obscure than "story". The flip side is that narrative is probably an increasingly popular phrase in scholarship on these passages, though I might be wrong about that. It is certainly more and more common in the humanities generally speaking.Griswaldo (talk) 11:51, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, missed this. "Genesis creation" and "biblical creation" or just plain "the creation" with the Bible/Genesis/OT implied by the context are the most common used. It's by far the most common usage here at wikipedia, it turns out. Most inline wikilinks to this article (over half) are piped as just plain "creation", "biblical creation", or "the creation", compared with less than 1 in 5 that are left unpiped as "genesis creation myth". But these are usually because the creation event (as opposed to the story we find it in) is what is being written about. But it's unsuited here, I'm convinced now, because this article is about the story first, the nature of the event in it second.
And no two ways about it, narrative is by far the more obscure usage. I've looked at it backwards and forwards. Narrative, when it is the term used, is used more often when the focus is on the text thru the scope of literary analysis comparing the form, style, voice etc to either the second narrative in Genesis or some other text than in other contexts. The most common usage even in books and journals is "story". Even when examined as myth, "story" is used along with more often than not. After scanning a stack of texts, I think the primary case when "story" fades to the background is when the tone is the "Genesis 1/Genesis 2" style, addressed exactly by chapter and verse, without much need for "account" or "narrative" etc. It's also interesting that "myth" is only infrequently the term used in texts that one might view as "disparaging" of Genesis creation. On the blogs or youtube, you will see it- and here on wikipedia clearly it has been used this way too often. What's also interesting is the emphasis this "myth" is given in the creationist related articles which is the area where I see it far less often used in real published books than I do in other areas looking at it, such as in literature, religion, anthropology, ancient history, art. The creationist texts (and creationism probably most explains these 'battle lines' here over words) are dealing with the religious aspects, not the mythic aspects. Professor marginalia (talk) 23:48, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Village pump discussion about WP:RNPOV

Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)/Archive 75#Clarifying_WP:RNPOV

I've requested that this policy be modified to make it clear that when it comes to article titles, words which carry a common connotation of POV should not be used. Currently, no distinction is made between titles and the articles themselves, and some editors have seized on this as a reason to insist on including the word "myth" in the title of this article. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 01:36, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

An excellent idea!Mk5384 (talk) 03:44, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, it seems as though WP:RNPOV has been deleted by consensus over at WP:NPOV. So disregard this. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 11:44, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia has long discouraged all but the academic/quoted sense of "cult" and words which similarly label. I had suggested that the term "myth" by explicitly included in the section at WP:WTW, formerly WP:WTA. Perhaps editors here would like to comment there, regarding "myth" being designated a "word that labels". --AuthorityTam (talk) 13:50, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I second your sentiment Tam. NickCT (talk) 13:59, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I think there is potential for abuse concerning a term like "myth." I think that "myth" should not be used unless its sense is obvious or if an explanation accompanies its use. Bus stop (talk) 14:18, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
The comparison between "cult" and "myth" does a serious disservice to the former term where the issue involves communities of living people being associated with things like brainwashing, mass suicide, sexual abuse, etc. The cult label may have serious real world consequences. Calling someone's cherished beliefs false may not be very nice but it pales in comparison. Please reconsider going down this road. In the proper context and with the proper wikilinking the term "myth" does not need the type of attribution suggested for "cult" either. I agree that without such context there is a strong case to avoid it, which makes sense regarding the title, but with context avoiding it is just pandering to a minority. Once you start down this road another problem will be differentiating clearly between these things. Again I think this is a bad idea.Griswaldo (talk) 14:28, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Griswaldo — there already exists WP:LABEL. Are you saying not to add "myth" to the words cautioned against there? Bus stop (talk) 14:40, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm saying that this term doesn't compare to some of the other words we try to avoid in there, and I see such a comparison being made. The guidelines is great, but I don't think this term needs to go in there. A sensible guideline would be to caution against or simply forbid the use of "myth" in its colloquial sense of meaning "not true". If "myth" were added to WP:LABEL I'd make sure it wasn't compared to "cult" but was given its own set of less drastic cautions like: "Avoid using myth as a label if the context is not clear."Griswaldo (talk) 15:05, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Myth and cult are different words, but they share to some degree the potential for abuse and misunderstanding. I think any word can be used. But it might be good for future reference to have "myth" listed along with words that have the potential to cause misunderstanding. Bus stop (talk) 15:15, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Editors may wish to comment at WP:VPM#Add "myth" to WP:LABEL. --AuthorityTam (talk) 15:27, 28 April 2010 (UTC)


"The account" has implications of truth which is a very significant pov for the lead. I replaced it with "a story" which still seems better (less definitive) to me but this was reverted. Other views would be appreciated. Abtract (talk) 13:35, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

"Story" gives implications of untruth, so that could be seen as POV too. "Account" is better I think for this reason: Everybody believes the world had a beginning at some time, fact. This is Genesis' account then of that beginning. Since the Bible is the best-selling book of all time, Genesis deserves to be able to stand as giving it's own account. We're not questioning it's truth or untruth in the first sentence. Just laying out the plain facts as they stand. SAE (talk) 13:43, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
How does "account" imply truth? Moby Dick is an account of Captain Ahab's vendetta against a whale. Would it help if it said "An account", rather than "The account"? - Lisa (talk - contribs) 13:48, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Account implies truth just as much as story implies untruth -- both can be used in ways that more explicitly encompass one of those less neutral meanings. However, for the most part, at least in modern usage, neither term implies anything about truth in and of itself, and both rely on context for meaning anyway. When an "account" or a "story" is attributed to another person, group of persons, or a text any reader understands that its just according to that entity and not some objective reality outside of it. The real problem here is that you all are going to bicker over these terms because the other group likes the other one better. That mere fact lends more psychological wieght to the notion that it must mean what you don't want it to mean. My advice to both sides of this. Give it up. It's just counterproductive.Griswaldo (talk) 14:26, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I think "account," "story," and "narrative" are pretty noncommittal on the question of truth or falseness as concerns the subject of this article. Bus stop (talk) 15:07, 22 April 2010 (UTC)


As of this timestamp, this page is nearly 400 KB long. It contains multiple related discussions regarding naming and multiple actual proposals for alternative titles, including two three concurrent requested moves. In short, it is virtually impossible for anyone who has not been involved with this article for a long time to follow all that is taking place.

I have two requests, which I believe will improve the situation. First, let's close the two open RMs (nearly 250 KB combined and open for more than 7 days) and archive them; if there is consensus in the RMs to rename to one of the two proposals—Creation according to Genesis or Biblical Creation—then it should be implemented. Second, in the future, please let's consider only one move request at any given time or propose and consider all options at the same time. The current approach of considering multiple options that were proposed at different stages of different discussions is much too chaotic.

Implementing even one of these would be an improvement, in my opinion. Thoughts? -- Black Falcon (talk) 18:39, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. Are there any objections to closing "Creation according to Genesis" and "Biblical creation"? If we continue with other requests can we just table these indefinitely? My personal suggestion would be to continue with "Genesis creation narrative", and only after closing the request as BlackFalcon suggests move onto another. My personal preference would be "Genesis creation story", and I'm making that suggestion in part because of a discussion with BlackFalcon regarding Google results hidden somewhere in the above mess.Griswaldo (talk) 18:56, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I recommend going with "narrative" rather than "story", simply because "story" is more loaded. Yes, it's been claimed to be loaded in both directions (one editor suggested that it implies historicity and another suggested that it implies falsity -- go figure), but still, "narrative" remains the one term that no one has perceived bias in. Google results don't trump that. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 20:55, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I second GresW's motion. NickCT (talk) 20:59, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Griswaldo, can you please separate out your comment about "story"? By grouping it together with your other proposal, it makes it difficult for anyone to post agreement with one and not the other. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 21:01, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I think "Creation according to Genesis," the long time name of this article, was fine, and is still arguably the best title for this article. We should not be "characterizing" the subject matter in any way. "Myth" most egregiously puts a "spin" on it and tells the reader what to think. But the discussions concerning "story," "account," and "narrative," all seem to concern themselves with what implications these terms carry. The beauty of "Creation according to Genesis" is that it bypasses the issue of characterization of the subject matter in any way. It is a simple explication of what is to follow. Bus stop (talk) 13:32, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Well other people do not agree with you regarding the old title, and I'm one of them. Some have suggested that "Creation according to Genesis" connotes fact ... the fact of a creation. Personally I don't worry about that, and my own (possibly solitary) view is that "Creation according to Genesis" suggests an authoritative interpretation of the text. In reality we're always dealing with the genesis creation narrative according to interpretation. Outside of a word for word copy of the Hebrew text there is no "Creation according to Genesis". Those who tend to claim that there is ... or otherwise make statements that include phrases like "according to the Bible", or "according to Deuteronomy", etc. make those statements with the intention of conveying that their reading is authoritative. It isn't according to them, but according to the text itself. I wrote more about this above, including an explanation of how I believe this also implies that the text is given agency, but that part isn't necessary here. I actually believe that "according to Genesis" may be the worst alternative here.Griswaldo (talk) 14:33, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I have no objection to "Genesis creation narrative." There seems to be a lot of support for that, and I don't think there have been any objections to "Genesis creation narrative" voiced.
Why does this article exist? Shouldn't we be asking ourselves that question? If a serious initiative arose to delete the article, how would you defend its existence? The answer to that should guide your choice of title, I think. Shouldn't it exist because it is a cultural artifact in some circles regarding how the world came into existence? Or would you defend its existence as an article on different grounds? If it is an explication, in certain cultural circles, as to the beginnings of the world, then why shouldn't our title reflect that? To me, "Creation according to Genesis" includes an acknowledgement of something that I think all interpretations arrive at, namely that the narration alludes to the initiation of the world.
You imply that there are different interpretations of Genesis chapters one and two. What are they? Are they enormously different from one another? I think they are all in the same ball park. They all put words to events by which the basic substance of the universe, including mankind, acquired existence. Are there interpretations that disagree with that characterization? Bus stop (talk) 14:39, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes some of them are enormously different from another. One obvious example is creation "ex nihilo" vs. creation out of chaos. Which is it? According to most biblical scholars it is the latter, and according to most Christian theologians it is the former. I recall a related argument from Alastair regarding these chapters being anti-mythological. From what I gathered the claim is that the authors of Genesis were critiquing Babylonian creation mythology not copying it. These are, again, huge differences. Then there are related differences in the interpretive frames used by scholars and laymen now and historically -- e.g. as a myth, as a literal account, as allegory, etc. I don't think this point needs belaboring.Griswaldo (talk) 15:12, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I fail to see your point as concerns there being a significant difference between various interpretations. It is not as though we are characterizing science. What is the difference, from the point of view of what article title we choose, whether "creation" takes place against a backdrop of nothingness or against a backdrop of "chaos?" We are just choosing a title that relates to the general idea of "creation," in a non-scientific way. I think the "interpretations" that you allude to fade into insignificance, as the subject at hand is merely a cultural reference. If this were science, it would matter greatly what particles, for instance, existed at the moment of the "beginning." But we need not be overly concerned with such concrete matters here, I don't think. Bus stop (talk) 15:21, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I fail to understand how you're addressing my problem with the old title. The point is simply that there is no one uniform "creation" according to Genesis. Perhaps "Creation according to interpretations of Genesis". Please address this point or else I'm not sure we're really discussing anything at all here just talking past each other. Also, please realize that the sociological point I added above explains why it makes me particularly uneasy. If anything this article does and should address the fact that there is no one authoritative interpretation of this or any other Biblical texts. We should therefore stay away from language that implies that what we present is "creation according to Genesis". If you are saying that each community that takes a different approach to the creation narrative each also individually believe that their interpretation is of "creation according to Genesis" then if anything that underscores the absurdity of the title and not the utility of it.Griswaldo (talk) 15:59, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
You suggest "Creation according to interpretations of Genesis." That is also an acceptable title. But it suffers from being unnecessarily long. And just like "Genesis creation myth," it contains unnecessary material. I think that it is not necessary to point out at the level of the title that there are "interpretations" (in the plural) of Genesis. Some things can wait until the body of the article. The purpose of a title is to identify an article's subject by minimal references. Some aspects of an article's import require the actual reading of the article. That is what the present title suffers from: too much information. The body of the article is where the many "interpretations" can and should be explored.
Furthermore, and forgive me if I am being obtuse, how does the title "Creation according to Genesis" limit the number of interpretations to only one? To my way of thinking, all interpretations (plural) fall under that heading. I don't think it (that title) conveys any strong implication that there is only one interpretation. I think it is perfectly reasonable to explore any number of interpretations within the body of an article with the simple title "Creation according to Genesis."
We don't need to know, at the level of the title, other than the bare essentials: Genesis and creation. Maybe that is a title worth considering: "Genesis and creation." Bus stop (talk) 16:15, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
This really isn't worth arguing. Maybe you're being obtuse, but I don't mean that as an insult because apparently I think I'm one of the only people not being obtuse about this, so really where does that leave me? Like I said above I might be the only person here who has this particular objection. If you read my exchange above you'll get yet more information regarding my perspective but I'm not sure that will clarify anything. In the end maybe I'm obtuse, I'm not sure, but either way its not worth arguing about something that wont be resolved. The other objection I mention is held by more than one person other than myself however. The point is that the old title is not liked by many ... the whole "myth" crowd as well as some of us who don't like the myth title. I think, as I said above, that it's dead in the water.Griswaldo (talk) 17:08, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I agree that the title "Creation according to Genesis" in no way limits the number of interpretations of the text to only one. On the other hand, "narrative," "myth," and "story" are singular nouns and imply that Genesis only contains one account of creation. Many interpreters maintain there are two distinct accounts while others dispute this. "Creation according to Genesis" neutrally leaves open the question of how many accounts there are.--agr (talk) 16:50, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

The "narrative" may include several source narratives and still be a narrative. There's no need to put plural in there. Besides, plural can only be plural, while singular could also be plural.
Think of the phrase of a tragedy; "their death" instead of "their deaths" is perfectly intelligible.EGMichaels (talk) 16:59, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Like I just wrote I will not argue this anymore, but just as a point of fact I wasn't arguing that the title limits the amount of interpretations to one in any practical sense when writing an encyclopedia article. The argument is that implies that there is an authoritative interpretation directly attributable to the text itself.. Put perhaps more clearly it implies that interpretation isn't necessary. If we have "creation according to Genesis" we don't need to interpret anything. Again, my reasons for not liking this are less to do with semantics and more to do with social practices. I am not going to rehash all of this anymore. You can read the exchange directly above and here but I will not continue this again: . In fact I'm sorry I brought it up a second time at all.Griswaldo (talk) 17:13, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
This is only a problem when you are dealing with redactive criticism. If you merely focus on the final text, regardless of what Ur texts went into it, it's simpler to just say "narrative" to mean the final text. Most folks approach the book from that perspective, and THEN dig into the substrata. So, we can start with a title that is recognizable to most folks and then tell them something they didn't already know.EGMichaels (talk) 17:23, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
No I actually agree with using "narrative" or "story". That is a clear identification of, as you say, a final text. The problem I have (sorry for breaking my promise) is with the identification of something else, in the text, and authoritatively "according to" the text. But again I recognize that others do not agree with me, or else that I'm not getting through so no need to continue that. Just wanted to clarify that I'm all for "narrative" or "story".Griswaldo (talk) 18:42, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
It certainly does seem like we're all circling around something we can live with. I'm amazed at how much interest a little book report (on Genesis) has attracted. ;-)EGMichaels (talk) 23:04, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that's right. I look at the history of my own comments here and readily recognize several small shifts of opinion based on arguments and evidence provided by a wide array of editors. I also think some real progress has been made regarding common use, which I'm beginning to understand is should really sit at the foundation of this discussion but I'm not sure everyone cares or agrees unfortunately. We'll see, but I think that there is at least one option that handles all challanges -- neutrality, common use, scholarly use, etc. I wont repeat it but it includes a word that starts with S and ends with Y. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 02:43, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I really don't see the advantage in "Genesis creation soapy."EGMichaels (talk) 12:16, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh I'm sorry for the confusion. What I meant was Genesis creation sticky.Griswaldo (talk) 12:21, 23 April 2010 (UTC)────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

We're getting down to the real 'pickies', like singular/plural, etc. story v stories, narrative v narratives. For absolutely no other reason than practicality, I ask for a re-hash of "Creation according to Genesis." Here are some "according to's" that already exist on Wikipedia. Please note that none of them inherently increase their authoritativeness, authenticity, or believability because of the "according to" prepositional phrase. It simply sources the material. The perceived validity or credence is entirely dependent on whatever opinion the reader has about Genesis. No one has yet presented a convincing case for avoiding "according to" because it implies truth in Genesis's report.

As I write this, our area is under a tornado warning! It's nearly 1 a.m. and, of course, pitch dark. The TV announcer just said, "According to the U.S. Weather Bureau, funnel cloud activity is being seen on its Doppler radar at ...." Then, another station just reported, "According to a driver on the Interstate, he describes what he says is 'clearly a funnel cloud' at the intersection of hwy x and the Interstate." Both said "according to" in sourcing their report. Which source has greater credibility to me as a listener? Not being a meteorologist, I'm putting my trust in the Doppler radar source. For those who have no confidence in Genesis, "according to Genesis" will kill it right there. And, the converse also will be true for some.

One more appeal for "Creation according to Genesis." Thanks for your forbearance. Consider these existing titles: According to Jim (an American sitcom television series,) Gospel According to John According To Our Records According to Hoyle According to Marxism-Leninism Gospel According to Matthew Gospel according to the Hebrews preserved only in the writings of the Church Fathers Gospel according to Luke Gospel According to Thomas (non-canonical) According to the United States National Cancer Institute List of America's Favorite Architecture according to the AIA─AFA Prof01 (talk) 05:55, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

You are picking battles with the wrong argument. I don't think a single other editor here as expressed any support or backing for my particular objection. Clearly my solitary view is rather meaningless. More than one other editor objects to the old title for a wholly different reason. I would suggest engaging that argument if you do like this title.
I will point out, however, that you've given examples of exactly what I've been so stubbornly claiming (to no avail). In all of these examples the implication is precisely that the authoritative view, according to the source, is being presented. Clearly, outside of the source, there is no inherent or natural authority or objectivity for that matter. "According to a driver on the interstate", means precisely according to him/her, and another driver may come up with another story altogether. However within these sources we assume authenticity or else the "according to" is itself false. So when you say "according to our records" the claim is that definitively our records say such and such. Here we already see the power of authority because if these records are considered the means by which some claim can be adjudicated, then the statement "according to our records" is a heck of a lot more than just descriptive. Interpretive haggling within communities that recognize the authority of a given text (or between people within these communities and people outside of them) comes up exactly for these reasons. I tried to use the U.S. Constitution as an example when this conversation first started way above. People make claims "according to the Constitution ..." to grant them the Constitution's authority. In reality there is no according to the Constitution. If there was we wouldn't need a Supreme Court to constantly reinterpret what that very statement should mean. I would argue that the gospel examples you bring up are not good ones for this conversation because while I could also reduce them to the same argument these phrases also happen to be accepted names in common use. The "gospel according to Luke" is the name for a given text. This name could be the "The anti-gospel of great renown in Rhodesia according to all living creatures except for the elephant" and we'd be in the same boat. The Book of Matthew is arguable better than the Gospel according to Matthew, but the latter is still an acceptable, commonly used name.
So no it doesn't become more believable, but that's not the point. The point is exactly that we are not presenting a singular authoritative version of creation "according to Genesis" here. Anyway I will no longer respond unless miraculously others agree with me because its pointless. I would never force this issue if it came down to that because I know I stand alone. Better have beef with an argument that has more traction. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 15:12, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
The argument is unsupportable since -
Food for thought, given that even creation myth is currently being lobbied for a name change, I'd like to draw attention to the plethora of articles with "Gospel" in their title. The term "gospel" is widely used to mean absolutely true, as in "children accept as gospel what their parents tell them" or "don't take everything you read in the papers as gospel". Obviously it's not NPOV because a lot of people don't accept the Gospel of Luke as gospel. Those titles are offensive to some, widely misunderstood by others, and maybe they should be retitled with new euphemisms too? Or wouldn't that be totally ... ridiculous. I think it would be, but I wonder what you think, Afaprof1. Professor marginalia (talk) 16:43, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Nice thoughts, but you're not starting with equal terms and you are aware of that. SAE (talk) 17:51, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
They are both "equal"; they are both used to define certain types of texts and they both have alternative definitions in wide use in the broader culture. They both can serve as object lessons of what the NPOV policy is not at all designed for. Professor marginalia (talk) 18:56, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I am referring to your comparison of the title that some want to give to this article and the title giving to a literary masterpiece that has been around for almost 2000 years. There is no equal ground here to begin the comparison. "The Gospel of Matthew" is it's name, just like "Coke" is a name, and this is accepted by scholarship worldwide. "Myth" on the other hand is a category we're are trying to fit the Genesis creation narrative into. This is neither a title, nor is it universally excepted. You are implying that if "myth" doesn't belong, than neither does "Gospel", but that is not an equal comparison. SAE (talk) 19:05, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
My argument was more nuanced but you've apparently missed it. My argument is that what the articles are called have very little to do with whether or not there is universal acceptance the label is accurate. It's not about whether there is universal acceptance to what the label implies to some or means literally; what matters most is whether it is the most common label in use in the mainstream and references used. I agree that "Genesis creation myth" is not the most common ("Genesis creation narrative" is even less common though.) The article creation myth, however, is given the most common name as it's used in the real world. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:22, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Ok, my mistake. I thought you were comparing the title "Gospel of Matthew" to "Creation Myth," and saying that if some are offended by "myth" (and therefore change the title because of that offense), then there is then precedence to change the title of "Gospel" because some can also be offended by that. And that you were trying to show the ridiculousness of changing this current title, by comparing it to the ridiculousness of changing the title of something like "Gospel of Matthew." In that way, there is no equal comparison between people's offense at "myth," and others offense at "Gospel." But if that's not what you meant, then I apologize for missing your point. Cheers, SAE (talk) 19:30, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Page move discussion

Is there a reason why this discussion isn't being promoted on appropriate WikiProject talk pages? Surely we want the widest possible participation? --Dweller (talk) 12:17, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

We've got a hundred people on it now. This shouldn't be as complicated as it is. "Myth" is obviously not consensus; "Truth" is clearly not consensus; "[something neutral]" is clearly consensus for everyone but the true-[dis]believers.
Put on a blindfold and throw a dart at a board filled with neutral substitutes.
Heck, a lot of the mythsters are claiming they are using the term in a "neutral" way. So, assume good faith (i.e. assume they are telling the truth about neutrality), pick a synonym for that "neutral" claim, and call it a day.EGMichaels (talk) 12:36, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I find it strange to use both genesis and creation in the article title, they being nearly synonymous terms. The biblical account of 'the beginning' (beginnings are required by 2nd law of thermodynamics, by the way), was and is an historical accounting--regardless of its accuracy. History is pretty much spun to POV of the winners--oh how much historical truth has been lost by the losers. Myth, account or whatever hardly deserves so much indecision. I'm neutral on that choice, but I do believe that the physical has beginnings that are non-physical.Mouselb (talk) 20:43, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
DO you actually know what the 2nd law of thermodynamics says? · CUSH · 21:12, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
As much as it's going to upset Cush, I'm going to have to agree with him here. Mouselb, this is an encyclopedia; not a tract. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 21:35, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Not sure that would be good on a tract.EGMichaels (talk) 22:34, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Mouse in his assertion that "genesis" and "creation" are nearly synonymous terms and so they shouldn't both be used. I still lobby for the "Judeo–Christian creation myth" title I mentioned above. — CIS (talk | stalk) 15:13, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
And I'll continue to oppose that, because there's no such thing as "Judeo-Christian". That's a false conflation of two very separate and in most ways mutually exclusive religions. Furthermore, there is a difference between Genesis and genesis. The former is a book of the Bible. The latter is a common noun which has a similar meaning to creation. Don't confuse the two. Furthermore, the term "myth" does not belong in the title. It can be in the body of the article, where it can be explained that the intent is not to the common understanding of the word, but in a title, you don't get the opportunity to explain things. You think the narrative is a myth, and others think the narrative is the truth. But calling it "Creation truth" and calling it "Creation myth" -- in the title -- in inappropriate and agenda pushing. What everyone agrees on is that it's some kind of narrative or other. So let's go with "Genesis creation narrative". - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:59, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
That's not a false conflation at all. Christianity is theologically almost indistinguishable from Judaism, and especially the creation myth is the selfsame. And btw there are no serious people who don't think this is a myth. Only the lunatic fringe who reject methodological naturalism, empiricism, and all epistemology still adhere to this backward iron age belief that is just scientifically wrong in every single aspect. This stuff has even less credibility than the King Arthur myth. Oh, and there is no such thing as subjective truth. · CUSH · 19:04, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
"Judeo-Christian" does not imply a conflation of "theology" in the first place. I have a hard time understanding what on earth Cush is talking about. This is a term that refers quite simply to things shared between the two traditions. The narrative in question is such a shared thing quite obviously. This title isn't the best, but it's not inaccurate and it doesn't imply all kinds of theological nonsense. People here have a real tendency to conflate their own interpretations of what terms mean with the intended meaning of those terms, or their most common meaning in practice.Griswaldo (talk) 18:38, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
But the conflation of theology is what Lisa was referring to and afraid of. We know Lisa, you know. · CUSH · 19:04, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Removed linkspam.Griswaldo (talk) 01:19, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Cush — this is an article Talk page. You are using the Talk page to link to a satirical treatment of creation science. While I find the linked-to video funny, it also should be noted that none of us here have been arguing from a Creation science viewpoint. I don't recall that anyone opposes the present title because of religious sensibility, and it is a bit of a Straw man argument to construe the disagreement as one between science and religion. It is not that at all. The present title is problematic because titles should contain only essential material. A title is supposed to identify an article, and nothing more. It constitutes extraneous material to communicate to the reader that the subject matter contained herein is untrue. Sourced information of this nature belongs in the body of the article. Bus stop (talk) 21:42, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Big changes

I think the text reorganization that came with these recent changes makes the article less readable - [62]. Moving a section from near the end to right after the introduction strikes me as a the type of big move that should be discussed first. I personally don't understand the placement of a section on interpretation prior to the presentation of the text itself.Griswaldo (talk) 12:08, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

There, I have moved it below into a section on interpretation. Thanks for mentioning this, because I like the structure better now. We have 4 main sections: 1. Narratives, 2. Structure, 3. Exegetical points, and 4. Interpretation. That is a nice structure to work with for this article. There were a lot of pieces duplicated and just out of place in this article (still a little bit of that -- I see now the "3.10 Typology", belongs properly under "4. Interpretation.", and so forth) SAE (talk) 15:12, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Unencyclopedic language

I was reviewing the last several dozen changes and noticed a lot of unencyclopedic language added.

From this:

The modern division of Genesis into chapters dates from c. AD 1200, and the division into verses somewhat later; the distinction between Genesis 1 and 2 is therefore a relatively recent development.

To this:

The modern division of the Bible into chapters and verse dates from around AD 1200, and so we must remember that the distinction we make today between chapter 1 and chapter 2 of Genesis was not part of the original text.

This needs to be changed back or rewritten. We do not use "we" or leading language. See WP:WTA

The whole section on Wenham starting at line 41 has the "We" issue as well.

An important issue that needs to be reconciled by the reader is how they are going to view and understand these early chapters in Genesis.

Does it? Sounds like OR.

So modern scholarship struggles in how to understand Genesis in a way that is both honest with what we know today scientifically, but also in a way that interacts with the many newly discovered ancient Near Eastern religious texts that parallel Genesis in many ways. How we answer this again has further implications for how we will understand the rest of the Bible, including the Apostle Paul's own understanding of Genesis who was not aware of the very factors that shape our own views.

Again with the "we." I thought this page was being watched by dozens, so how does it keep getting worse? Auntie E. (talk) 18:15, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Thank-you for bringing WP:WTA to my attention. This is a simple fix that could be done in two ways: (1) Just change the "we" to something that is better and leave your reason in the edit summary, or (2) Please in the future if you notice something with my edits that can be fixed by a simple pointing out of a manual of style article, it would be nice if you could just leave me a personal note on my talk page, instead of right away going here to the public talk page and telling everyone that my edits make things worse. Cheers, SAE (talk) 18:30, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
It's NOT a simple fix. It needs more than just a switch out of "we" -- that's not the only section of WP:WTA that needs review here. I don't appreciate the idea that I was wronging you somehow in bringing my concerns here. This is where we discuss the article. If you can't handle proper criticism, maybe you shouldn't be editing here. I was absolutely right in bringing my concerns here. Auntie E. (talk) 18:42, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
ok, I was just asking for you to kindly mention to me on my talk page of the policies I have violated. never mind then if you don't want to. SAE (talk) 18:49, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
It's not that I don't want to. It's just not necessary if my concern is regarding article content. I and most everyone else here would like to have all content concerns discussed in one place. That's what this page is for. If my concern was behavioral or personal, then I would bring it to you personally. Otherwise, it's unnecessary and confusing. Auntie E. (talk) 18:59, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
It clearly needs to be restored to the original. And this talk page is exactly where the concerns about edits to the article belong. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:02, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree. I think the BOLD changes didn't work. Auntie E. (talk) 19:04, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

fixed. anything else? SAE (talk) 19:19, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Prof, I agree with your last edit to the article, asking for a source. However, all the content was in place before I started editing the last two days. I added no content in my edits, I only changed sentence structure, fixed grammar, and moved paragraphs around that were duplicated. I did add a couple citation needed tags as well, and more could be added, but I have no way of sourcing that sentence since I do not know where it came from. SAE (talk) 19:42, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
You've made many edits over the last few days, and I'm sure that you weren't pointing a finger of blame at anyone in particular when you made your changes or added certain fact tags. Neither have I. We need a source from someplace, but I wasn't putting the responsibility on you or anyone else for finding it. Professor marginalia (talk) 21:22, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

simpler is better

I made this edit in order to simplify the text by removing unecessary translations which addded nothing to readers' understanding (imho). This edit was reverted with the explanation that "there was no problem when it was latin" . Other views would be appreciated. Abtract (talk) 18:54, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

I find the translations that you removed to be helpful and appropriate to the level of this article.--agr (talk) 15:00, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Could you explain why? Abtract (talk) 17:07, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
For one thing, part of what a good encyclopedia article does is to prepare its users to read the literature of the field. The terms you deleted are stuff one is likely to encounter in writing about the Bible.--agr (talk) 18:05, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
mmm I'm not convinced and, in particular, I find (tzelem elohim) to be pointless. Abtract (talk) 18:17, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
The fact is, that "Imago Dei" remained for some time, but as soon as it became "tzelem elohim", it was quickly removed. As this is Old Testament, I still believe that the Hebrew translation is what should be used, just as we would use Classic Greek for the New Testament, or Arabic for the Quran. The inclusion of "tzelem elohim" only adds clarity, and its removal, whilst admittedly not harmful, does nothing to improve.Mk5384 (talk) 02:48, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
What is the source for this: "...and, in Christian theology, the activity of the Holy Spirit." I don't see a reference provided for that assertion. That is the rest of the sentence in which is found "tzelem elohim". Bus stop (talk) 03:01, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Can someone close the second move discussion above?

Why is the "Biblical creation" discussion still open? Does anyone object to it being closed?Griswaldo (talk) 12:44, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

No objections here. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 13:23, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

FAQ at the top

I guess this can just be deleted now? Or maybe someone wants to edit it to fit the current title? As it stands, some of the faq's say the opposite of what the consensus and now new title says. SAE (talk) 02:22, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

i propose a motion to Delete? Weaponbb7 (talk) 02:30, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Biblical creationism

While moving this page, I noticed that Biblical creationism redirects here. Is this correct or is this a topic that deserves its own article? Ucucha 02:25, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I think it should redirect to Creationism rather than here Weaponbb7 (talk) 02:28, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
hmm.. it seems to me to be different. As soon as you say the word "creationism" you open a whole new can of worms. A creationist will certainly use the Genesis creation narrative as their basis, but there's is only one interpretation of it. It also reaches far beyond this article's confines. SAE (talk) 02:30, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, "Creationism" is somewhat different. The section there called Types of Biblical creationism would seem to be the best target for a redirect from Biblical creationism. I've just edited the redirect there; it's now to the specific section. --AuthorityTam (talk) 13:33, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

What now?

So after the anti-myth faction is having their way, the work is not finished of course. Per WP:UCN all other articles that carry "creation myth" in their titles must be renamed to create consistency and encyclopedic honesty.

These are all just narratives now and must no longer signal the supernatural in their titles.

And of course the Judeo-Christian section on the Creation Myth must be removed, now that special treatment has been allowed for the Pentateuch adherents. · CUSH · 06:01, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Cush — what is "Judeo-Christian"? Judaism and Christianity are two different religions. The article can treat Judaism's relationship to Genesis, and the article can treat Christianity's relationship to Genesis. Why would any material have to be removed from the article? Bus stop (talk) 15:07, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
If you want to change them, go ahead and change them. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." --Ralph Waldo Emerson. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 14:10, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Note: Cush you and I both know that you've listed every one anyone can find already. Please strike the deceptive "every other you can find". The term is not used consistently in titles here nor, as Prof. Marginalia is trying to point out, is it used consistently in the real world.Griswaldo (talk) 11:37, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Does anyone research topics anymore or is this just another he bellyaches loudest wins website? Because I thought it was aspiring to be an encyclopedia. Professor marginalia (talk) 06:38, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Your point being? Creation myth was erased from the title to appease religious editors and readers, and not because research into the issue would have led to the conclusion that the opening chapters of Genesis do in fact not tell a creation myth (namely the Jewish and subsequently Christian one). · CUSH · 06:47, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
My point is many are yelling, but few are researching. I did not support this name change, but there never has been "consistency" on the topic in this or any encyclopedia because "consistency" isn't real life, nor is it part of the policy here. It was "erased" from the title because the name change request achieved a demonstrable consensus. I don't think any of the various names so far given this article actually came from researching what it was called in real life. Professor marginalia (talk) 07:24, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
What do you mean "what it was called in real life" ?? · CUSH · 10:28, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't think that going for a rename of the other articles is a good idea, and I strongly doubt that it will happen. After you will have tried and failed to do so, WIkipedia will de facto be an encyclopedia where the Genesis creation myth is the only creation myth that should not be called a creation myth. DVdm (talk) 09:04, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

The fact of the matter is that the subject of this article may be referred to in different ways by different people in different places. Choosing an article name cannot possibly be based solely on reflecting actual usage because actual usage varies. In actual use, people are not referring to the title for an article, yet that is our sole aim. We are neither making reference to this subject in common speech nor are we didactically referring to this subject in an academic setting. This isn't a "teaching moment," as some have construed it. This is simply the titling of an article. That entails identifying the subject of the article and nothing more. Furthermore the supposed academic usage is probably not even universal in academic settings, as some editors seemed to point out. And even beyond that, the academic setting probably represents only a minority setting. It is necessary to read the article. The title has the purpose of only facilitating the finding of the article. The title thus has to help all people find the article. Bus stop (talk) 10:10, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
The subject of the article is the creation myth that is contained/conveyed in the opening chapters of Genesis. For the sake of the religious editors here this title has been abandoned to set the belief systems that are built on said creation myth apart from all others. And you very well know that. The religionists have won, as simple as that. · CUSH · 10:28, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Cush — there are no "religious editors" here. That is the straw man argument, again. Bus stop (talk) 10:59, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
There are clearly religious editors here. Bus stop it does not help anyone's credibility to pretend this. In fact it quite distinctly hurts our credibility to do so.Griswaldo (talk) 11:39, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't know how you are defining "religious editor." To me a religious editor, in this context, would be an editor that wanted to see some kind of promotion of religion in the title. Is any editor suggesting titles suggestive of a religious point of view? I don't think so. Bus stop (talk) 12:18, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Judaism and Christianity were promoted by changing the title. The removal of "creation myth" establishes an artificial distinction from other creation myths. This is a clear violation of WP:UCN and is based entirely on the religious convictions of editors. · CUSH · 13:37, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Cush — you say the following: "Judaism and Christianity were promoted by changing the title." How, may I ask, are both Judaism and Christianity promoted? And what is being promoted? Is the article title change promoting the notion that the messiah arrived 2,000 years ago, or is the article title change promoting the notion that the messiah has yet to arrive? Bus stop (talk) 14:53, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
To make that argument you have to claim that scholars are violating UCN, which as you know is totally nonsensical and defies the very idea of UCN in the first place. Good luck with that.Griswaldo (talk) 14:02, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't know who "won". I even doubt that there was anything to win to begin with. But I'm pretty sure that we all have lost something. DVdm (talk) 10:34, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree that whatever title is chosen for these articles (myth, story, narrative, etc), all must have the same. SlimVirgin talk contribs 10:35, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that's not going to happen. DVdm (talk) 10:43, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm confused about how this was decided, as there were so many proposals floating around. Does anyone know exactly? SlimVirgin talk contribs 10:38, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

There was this (now still) open request, and suddenly someone decided to go ahead regardless. DVdm (talk) 10:43, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I've asked Ucucha if he could explain his reasoning. [63] SlimVirgin talk contribs 10:49, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
At first I agreed with Sarah's comment above, about all being the same, for the sake of consistency. But now have second-thoughts, because why must everything be consistent? I understand and respect the general rule of thumb for encyclopedias, but their have always been exceptions made. I just don't wish to see another HCM outbreak over this. --TK-CP (talk) 11:00, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that calling some a myth and one a narrative implies different treatment, and there's nothing in high-quality reliable sources that would justify different treatment. Personally I don't mind what they're called, but I do feel it needs to be the same in the interests of NPOV. SlimVirgin talk contribs 11:06, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Some of you seem to be implying that the title substitute for the article. This is impossible — the article has to be read. The purpose of the title is to enable the reader to find the article. The content of the article can't be contained in the title. Furthermore WP:NPOV can't function in the confines of the space allotted to the title. It is a principle that requires the expansive space of the body of the article. All facets of this subject (except those in violation of WP:FRINGE) deserve representation in the body of the article. The article title is not the place for the representation of any of these facets. Bus stop (talk) 11:08, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I bow to SlimVirgin, and her Wikipedia expertise, to make the right decision here, and will agree that the others should also be changed from myth to conform with this article. On a personal note, seeing her in this thread brings back many fond old memories of times long gone by, and probably best forgotten! :P --TK-CP (talk) 11:15, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I think each article should be treated independently. It seems artificial to me to think that we can decide what sort of title a whole slew of articles should take on. I think the specifics of each article should determine that. Bus stop (talk) 11:16, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
It seems artificial to think that we can decide to treat the Genesis creation myth as the only creation myth that should not be called a creation myth. DVdm (talk) 11:28, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
But we are not deciding that, DVdm. We are only providing a title for the article. It is treated in multiple ways, supposedly, in the body of the article. One of those ways I am sure is as a "creation myth." But, why would that warrant a place in the title? Bus stop (talk) 11:37, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Don't kid yourself. Of course we are deciding that. DVdm (talk) 11:44, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Creation myth is one narrow characterization of what is the ostensible subject matter of this article. Preference shouldn't be given to any biases in the naming of this article. That would be equally applicable to those titles that might represent religious interests. But we haven't seen any titles suggested that would suggest the promotion of religion. Bus stop (talk) 11:51, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
DVdm ... you mean because of all the other entries like Enûma Eliš creation myth, Völuspá creation myth, and Rangi and Papa creation myth. Oh wait those aren't article titles. Please can people here do the bare minimum research before commenting. Look through the category creation myth because most of them do not have the term in the title. Period. (For the real entries referred to see Enûma Eliš, Völuspá and Rangi and Papa).Griswaldo (talk) 12:04, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Comment -- There is a serious misconception going around here that would not be going around if people simply did some research. Prof. M was trying to point this out above. Slim exemplifies the faulty assumption with the following statement -- "there's nothing in high-quality reliable sources that would justify different treatment". Actually Slim there is exactly that. This content does not have a consistent name in scholarship. One thing that those of us who have actually done research on this now know is that "Genesis creation myth" is one of the least utilized terms for this narrative (please see the many presentations of search results on this page). In scholarly use the current title is used just as often as Genesis creation myth, which is one of the reasons why it was not my first choice either. Versions using "story" are by far the most common in scholarship. Of course "narrative" and "story" are synonyms which in my mind gives narrative a leg up on the old title at the very least. The point here is that if we follow common use in scholarship in each individual case we will have inconsistent titles. If some of the ones listed are also not consistent with scholarship then we should do the research necessary to uncover that and change them too. If they are then so be it.Griswaldo (talk) 11:54, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

By the way, how on earth does WP:UCN support using an uncommon name for a title based on the logic of Wikipedians even if that defies common usage differences? I guess we should rename Beagle to Beagle hound to keep it consistent with Blood hound and Redbone Coonhound. After all they are all hounds aren't they?Griswaldo (talk) 11:58, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Not to mention those horrid little Corgi's! The belong to the Terriers. No disrespect to the Queen intended. --TK-CP (talk) 12:03, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Holy crap, I can't believe this is still going. Tonicthebrown (talk) 12:47, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. Per WP:TALK "Do not use the talk page as a forum or soapbox for discussing the topic." We've come to a decision as to the page title. It wasn't my first choice, but it is a reasonable compromise. It's time to move on and improve the article, which is what this talk page is for.--agr (talk) 13:41, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
How exactly was the decision reached? It seems that someone just moved the article without a decision. · CUSH · 13:43, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/Genesis creation myth:
the rfm was Declined "as resolved. The title 'Genesis creation narrative' seems to have been agreed on"
--AuthorityTam (talk) 14:10, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I have looked at that, but that is no answer. That there seems to be agreement is not a valid justification for the article move. Can you please show me when and how exactly the consensus had been reached? · CUSH · 15:20, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
An uninvolved admin User:Ucucha determined there was a consensus for the requested move, made it and closed the discussion. See Requesting a move to the consensus title of "Genesis creation narrative", above. For what its worth, I counted 28 supports and 9 opposes. --agr (talk) 15:43, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Consistency with others

I haven't seen many claims that this article title should be treated according to special rules, and I wouldn't support that. I'd previously suggested alternate nomenclature for creation articles, such as replacing "creation myth" with "cosmogony" or other terms or directly replacing "creation myth" with "creation tradition". While I'm inclined toward consistenct article naming, I'm not sure it's our place to INSIST that articles related to creation must have consistent nomenclature. Of course, if "Chinese", "Sumerian", "Ancient Egyptian", "Pelasgian", "Tongan", "Mesoamerican", et al are in fact narratives, then it seems obvious those articles can be renamed to reflect that. But shouldn't we defer to editors more familiar the subjects of those articles? --AuthorityTam (talk) 14:03, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I highly suggest that editors stop and think for a few minutes about WP:UCN before leaping into this discussion. There is no such thing as "special treatment" if common use does not support the supposed consistency that people keep mentioning. The guideline is after all about common use first and foremost. Once again consider Beagle, which is a very common example of a hound, and which one could similarly ask to rename Beagle hound based on the notion that a bunch of other hounds have article titles like Blood hound, Foxhound or Bluetick Coonhound.Griswaldo (talk) 14:09, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
That is a flawed analogy.
Every other creation myth that does not have its own name (e.g. "Enûma Eliš" for "Babylonian Creation myth") has "creation myth" in the article title. For motives rooted in the urge of religious editors to apply different rules for belief systems that are not their own this article has been renamed to drop the word "myth". It is not justifiable that WP follows these editors in applying different standards in assigning article titles. If we don't name the Judeochristian creation myth a creation myth, then we cannot name other creation myths as that. WP must never convey preference of one belief system over others. · CUSH · 15:16, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Cush — Judaism and Christianity are two different religions. Furthermore every article on Wikipedia has its own Talk page. There is also a WP:Village Pump where you can present the argument that you seem to be making that article naming in some cases is linked or related. It is my opinion that each article should be worked on via its own Talk page and involving the taking into consideration of its own internal logic and those considerations that might be unique to that article. But if you disagree I think the place to express that is at the Village Pump. Perhaps Wikipedia has other places for expressing that too. Bus stop (talk) 15:39, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Please note that scholars may be using different terms when naming various creation myths. In this case it appears they are. Please don't act like it's a matter of "religious editors" at Wikipedia.Griswaldo (talk) 15:36, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
The title "Genesis creation myth" was the perfect title. It conveyed EXACTLY the scope and contents of the article. But it was indeed a matter of religious editors who saw their religion degraded by the term "myth" to a level that they would only want to see applied to other beliefs. I can recognize ulterior motives when I come across them. · CUSH · 15:56, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
There is one set of rules. No one here is likely to contest changing an article title from "Placeholder creation myth" to "Placeholder creation narrative" (or similar). We just aren't sure if "narrative" (or similar) best titles THAT article. Editors familiar with "Placeholder" can decide that, without or with our input. --AuthorityTam (talk) 16:48, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

edit break

Well, now that the move has been made, perhaps we can reflect on the denotation, as opposed to the connotation. Our readers are divided on the issue of supernatural creation - an idea which has much more than "fringe" support. But I wonder if we as contributors are skewed more toward the natural idea of creation than the average American or UK reader.
The first sentence of Creation myth points out that the term applies to a supernatural story or explanation. I wonder if the idea of anything supernatural seems so odd an idea to us (as a writing community) that we feel an urgent need to categorize it as belong to the realm of the made-up or the impossible: that we would not want to mislead readers into thinking that some equally valid alternative exists to the standard concepts of causality studied by devotees of physical science (see also Natural science).
I personally prefer article titles and article introductions to straddle the gap between faith in the supernatural and adherence to methodological naturalism, because I think this would be neutral. What do others think? (And if this is not the place for such a discussion, where should we take this thread?) --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:51, 28 April 2010 (UTC) --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:51, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately supernatural stuff does not seem odd to the average American reader.
I think the article should comprehensively present what Genesis has to say, how it is interpreted, and what its impact is. The interpretation section of course calls for a reality-check, i.e. an application of methodological naturalism to the fancy claims made in the creation myth. · CUSH · 16:04, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
This is not the place.Griswaldo (talk) 16:15, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
"Fancy claims"? Cush, aren't you even going to pretend not to be biased? - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:25, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Why would I? I am biased towards reality. Claims concerning Yhwh and its "creation" fall into the same intellectual and philosophical category as claims concerning the Easter bunny. There is just no substance to them. You cannot seriously present the existence and actions of deities as a possible reality in an encyclopedia. That would be plain lying to the readers.
The only reason why religious editors are allowed to spread their nonsense, is that this WP is dominated by Americans. If this were the Chinese WP nobody would give such editors any credibility for a second. Local majorities are not overall majorities. And maintaining the position that the creation myth conveyed in the Bible is possibly or actually real is a far-out fringe position even among Jews and Christians. · CUSH ·
Cool. I'll just add that to the pile for your next RfC. Or possible ANI. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 21:23, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
What cool? Articles have to be neutral. I don't. I will not allow you to constantly pour your insubstantial doctrines into WP articles. WP demands reliable sources. As long as you only describe faith, you may find reliable sources. But as soon as you hint at the actual existence of a deity, then there are no reliable sources. As simple as that. · CUSH · 21:31, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Sorry to chime in here, but going back to the statement that started off this section, I don't think it's important that we go and "Anceint Egyption Creation Myth" for the obvious reason that anyone who takes Anceint Egyption Creation Myth as litterally true is WP:FRINGE. The issue here was that "myth" has an element of "falsishness" to it. I don't think applying that to "Anceint Egyption Creation" is going to upset anyone. NickCT (talk) 17:26, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

How many folks believe in something has no relevance to its accurate description. The opening chapters of Genesis are a creation myth like all others. And it's not even a aesthetic or elaborate one. Subsequently, if we reject creation myth for the Judeochristian idea of the world's origin, we must also reject that for the other ideas. · CUSH · 21:04, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I've had a bit of a think about it and I've changed my mind. I don't necessarily think all the other "creation myth" articles need changing. Yes, it's a fact that anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see that the Genesis creation myth is just as valid as all those other myths, but I've come to realise that this is WP:BUTITSTRUE thinking. We have to go with what the reliable sources say, and since, as has been repeatedly demonstrated in this hideous trainwreck of a discussion, those sources predominantly either defer to the sensibilities of adherents of currently extant religions or are themselves such adherents, policy demands that we go along with their euphemisms. Unless we can show that reliable sources writing about the religions that have already died are predominantly using terms other than "creation myth", those articles should stay as they are.Dr Marcus Hill (talk) 16:02, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Let's be content with content

Now that we have a title that reflects all POVs, let's keep populating those POVs.EGMichaels (talk) 14:24, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

  • It doesn't reflect all POVs. Narrative is an absurd title, you can't have a narrative when the account is fictional and allegorical. Guy (Help!) 06:50, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Guy — for narrative I find this definition: "a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious." Bus stop (talk) 09:24, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
But for them the account is not fictional or allegorical. So they must and apparently will have a narrative. I think it's a matter of numbers and perseverance. DVdm (talk) 07:04, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
DVdm — who is the "them" that you are referring to? I think that is a version of the straw man argument. You are arguing against a non-specified entity. Bus stop (talk) 09:20, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
If it still isn't clear by now who "them" is, then I will specify the entity: them is the group of people around here who are on a mission to make sure that the Genesis creation myth is the only creation myth that should not be called a creation myth. Anyone who fails to find that absurd should consult a dictionary. DVdm (talk) 11:27, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
DVdm — it is "called a creation myth" — in the body of the article. Bus stop (talk) 13:03, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
If it is called a creation myth in the body of the article, then there can be no valid reason to not call it a creation myth in the title. That is utterly absurd. DVdm (talk) 13:25, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
DVdm — "Creation myth" would be "activist" in the title. Just as we would not want to characterize the subject matter as holy, sacred, or the word of God, so too it would be improper in a title to characterize the subject as a creation myth. Myth is not agnostic any more than sacred is agnostic. Titles should only identify articles and do no more. Bus stop (talk) 14:11, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
DVdm, meaning is dependent on context. In the body of the text we can link to creation myth and provide the necessary context. In the title this isn't possible. The main issue with the old title, however, was uncommon usage. This current one is on par with the old, but other usages are way more common -- "Biblical creation story" and "Genesis creation story" for instance. Scholars who have no problem with the myth category use these different terms for a reason, and we should follow them in the end. These supposedly "logical" arguments are not in line with policy as I understand it. They amount to editors deciding that such and such only makes sense so who cares if this is how experts do it we should do it my way.Griswaldo (talk) 14:53, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
"In the title this isn't possible". It has been possible ever since the article was first created in 2004 up until yesterday, when someone finally gave in to a large number of people who apparently (see Til Eulenspiegel, below) feel their "major world religion" is somehow attacked by an article title. I find this pathetic. But hey, don't lose any sleep over what I happen to find pathetic :-) DVdm (talk) 15:56, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
DVdm just looking through the article archives shows that the page titles prior to this one have not been stable and have clearly not all had "creation myth" in them. Not long before "Genesis creation myth" came into effect (which was just months ago I believe) I know it was titled "Creation according to Genesis". I'm not sure how long that title was around but it appears in the earliest archived talk page discussions in 2004 [64] so it clearly used to be a title at one point even back then, and possibly continually until now. I know that at least this time around as soon as the "Genesis creation myth" title came into effect (just this February) [65] a whole lot of editors complained from a whole lot of different perspectives. So to claim that it has always had the myth name and that it was clearly not a problem before now is not correct at all.Griswaldo (talk) 16:08, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
In that case I gladly stand corrected. Thanks. Glad I'm not Jimbo ;-) - DVdm (talk) 16:23, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Guy didn't understand what a narrative is. No need to continue this, the definition Bus stop provided shows clearly that a narrative can be a story of any kind.Griswaldo (talk) 11:02, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Guy, you may be convinced that Genesis is fictional and allegorical, but do you see why wikipedia cannot be in the business of declaring which texts of which religions are or are not to be interpreted as fictional or allegorical, since everyone disagrees and has their own POV. Christianity and Judaism are major world religions, but even with minor religions, wikipedia cannot even declare Scientology to be a fictional "creation myth" even if you, I, and most of us agree that it is - because it is pushing a POV, the very opposite of the definition of "neutrality". If it were as simple as declaring something fictional only because you think it is, just try dealing with the Scientologists - you'll find out what nice folks they are about it. Multiply that by about ten thousand, and that's how easy it will be for you to use wikipedia to attack a MAJOR world religion like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 13:39, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
"Multiply that by about ten thousand, and that's how easy it will be for you to use wikipedia to attack a MAJOR world religion like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc". On the one hand, as I said before, it's a matter of numbers and perseverance. Thanks for making my point. On the other hand, if you think that anyone is "attacking a MAJOR world religion" here, then I'm afraid that you really don't belong here. DVdm (talk) 13:50, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Well don't hold your breath waiting for me to go away, because I wasn't planning to any time soon. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 13:54, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
For the record: do you think that someone is "attacking a major world religion" here? DVdm (talk) 14:01, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:06, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
We should not be "writing" a title; we should be writing an article. Bus stop (talk) 14:20, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
@Til: If you are serious about that, then I recommend that you have a careful read (or re-read) of WP:AGF and specially WP:AOBF. Note that many users have gotten into trouble (by getting blocked or selectively banned) for failing to follow this guideline. Try to lighten up. Or be careful. DVdm (talk) 14:24, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Okay, so it's cool here for editors to put flags up on their home pages saying things like "All religion should be destroyed" (to let everyone know how neutral they are) and then these same editors can go all over the talk pages and unilaterally declare that the Bible canon is fiction and that the Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed are nonsense, and that this is fact not opinion. But I cannot consider this an attack, or I will be blocked for it. I'm so glad you're not Jimbo. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:41, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Huh? You are glad I'm not Jimbo? Why is that? What would be different if I were Jimbo? How is this related to the title of this article? DVdm (talk) 14:49, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Regarded as a creation myth

A key sentence in the first paragraph says:

I daresay expert scholarly opinion categorizes this creation narrative as a "creation myth", but I wonder if that is merely the viewpoint of those scholars. Is it so much of a mainstream view that no {{who}} attribution is necessary?

Or should we say that scholars of religion regard it as one of many creation myths (attributing the viewpoint to scholars of religion in general? --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:23, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't think so. The term "creation myth" has a defined meaning. It didn't belong in the title because it can be misleading, but in the body of the article, it definitely belongs.
Yes, there should probably be a citation there, and I'll go add a request for one, but it shouldn't be at all hard to find. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:15, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I replaced the current text with this:
The Genesis creation narrative is a narrative account of the creation of the earth, life, and humanity. Found in the first two chapters of the biblical Book of Genesis, it is considered by many scholars to fall into the category of Ancient Near East creation myths, differing from others in this category in its monotheistic outlook. It also introduces the idea of humanity being made in the image of God (tzelem elohim) and, in Christian theology, the activity of the Holy Spirit.
No agenda pushing on either side. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:29, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Of course that's agenda pushing. "narrative account of the creation of the earth, life, and humanity." ??? Are you shitting me? This sentence presupposes that creation actually happened. · CUSH · 20:51, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Good job, Lisa - because of course, while one can appeal to those "theologians" who say it is a myth, one can also point to the theologians who have categorically stated, using various arguments, that it is NOT in that genre: including (but not limited to) Bernhard Anderson, G. Ernest Wright, James I. Packer, James Orr, G. C. Berkouwer, Claus Westermann, Robert Jenson, René Girard, etc. etc... Nobody's theologians have a monopoly on a controversial POV question like the genre of Genesis... Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 16:42, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, but I like Torchiest's version even better. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:12, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Regarding the "many scholars" attribution in the lead, can we name some scholars (by which I mean academics in mainstream universities) who do not regard this as a creation myth? SlimVirgin talk contribs 17:14, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

In the lead? That seems like something to go in the body. Do you object to the "many scholars" thing? You want to take the creation myth business out of the lead altogether? I don't think that's going to go over very well. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:18, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
(ec) No, I meant could someone tell me here, with diffs or citations, the names of a couple of current academics in mainstream universities who do not believe this is a myth, and what they do think it is? SlimVirgin talk contribs
Also let's not keep raising the standard impossibly high. All of the theologians I just linked are sufficiently known and credentialed as theologians to constitute a significant POV - regardless of whether or not someone wants to debate their status "academics in mainstream universities".
This is from Conrad Hyers. He actually thinks Genesis is a creation myth, but note that unlike some here, he has he scholarly integrity to mention the status of academia on this.
"In using the terms myth and mythical in relation to Genesis, we encounter greater misgivings. Not only do the terms have unsavory connotations in popular usage, but an impressive array of biblical scholars have argued that both myth and mythical modes of thought are absent from the Bible. Myths are what the Egyptians and Babylonians believed. 'The God of Israel has no mythology,' declared G. Ernest Wright. 'The religion of Israel suddenly appears in history, breaking radically from the mythopoeic approach to reality.' This position follows the earlier lead of Hermann Gunkel who had argued that myths are "stories about the gods", and since a myth requires at least two gods to make a story, the Old Testament contains no myths, though some mythical materials are alluded to... Obviously if one restricts the term myth to polytheistic materials, biblical materials are not only not mythical but anti-mythical..." -- The Meaning of Creation by Conrad Hyers, 1984, p. 99.
Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:26, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Those are not all "theologians". If you mean more generically "scholar of religion" when you say theologian, which is not what a theologian is, then I understand what you're saying but because of this mistaken use of the term you're confusing things.Griswaldo (talk) 18:23, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
That's odd, because their wikipedia articles identify them as "theologians", and prominent ones at that. And I only listed the ones here I could find articles for, there's plenty more. Are you revoking their theologian membership cards now? LOL Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:28, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
What's odd is that you're incorrect. According to Wikipedia Rene Girard is a "historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science." G. Ernest Wright "was a leading Old Testament scholar and biblical archaeologist". People who study religion are not all "theologians". You seem to misunderstand the difference.Griswaldo (talk) 18:35, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Griswaldo, Girard is the one possible exception to being a "theologian", and note his article has a whole section devoted to his published and well known views regarding the Bible and myth. G Ernest Wright, if you bother to read his article, "He taught Old Testament History and Theology at McCormick Seminary from 1939-1958." But the bottom line is, a Biblical scholar's views on "myth" should not be a litmus test of being a "theologian" or a Significant scholarly POV. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:56, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
'Teaching theology doth not a theologian make. On top of this, someone may teach, or even create theology while also being versed in related fields, like biblical studies. It is not Wright's qualifications in theology that make him an expert in Biblical Studies. Regards.Griswaldo (talk) 19:11, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
So let me get this straight - you, Griswaldo, seriously are revoking their "theologian" membership cards - while at the same time, just to be on the safe side (in case it should turn out that they really are "theologians" after all), declaring that "theologians" are not valid sources for a significant theological POV. You're arguing too many different things here. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 19:40, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Please read more carefully. I didn't revoke anyone's anything. My original comment was that they are "not all theologians". Rene Girard is not even remotely a theologian so even if you want to quibble about the rest there is absolutely nothing false about my statement. No offense Til, but this entry is not mainly about "a significan theological POV" of any kind. There is a section that covers theology, and clearly this passage is important to Christian and Jewish theology, but the entry is about the passage first. You clearly fail to grasp some of the rather basic differences here ("theology" vs. religious studies, "theology" vs. biblical scholarship, etc.) so its difficult to pretend to have a conversation with you. I will stop now. Go ahead and keep on abusing the term "theology" and its significance to the entry because this isn't worth it. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 20:53, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Being magisterial always fails to impress me. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 01:48, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Good thing I'm not trying to impress you, though it is unfortunate that I have failed to impress anything upon you.Griswaldo (talk) 11:35, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

translation ... why?

What does tzelem elohim add to the lead? Abtract (talk) 16:32, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Nothing at all, considering that it's just a redirect to a link that's already there. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:10, 28 April 2010 (UTC)


Lisa, can you explain this revert, please? All it seems to do is add extra words unnecessarily. SlimVirgin talk contribs 17:17, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Sure. I think it makes sense to first say what a thing is and then say things about it. To first say things about it and then say what a thing is, the way you had it, doesn't flow very well, in my opinion. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:19, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
We can't say what it is, because there is a dispute about what it is, and when people try to add it, it's reverted. "Ancient telling" is meaningless. We should begin by saying what most scholars (or whatever expression you want to use) see it as. SlimVirgin talk contribs 17:24, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
"Ancient telling" isn't meaningless. It's an attempt to create a neutral description. The article is about something ancient, so that's an accurate adjective. "Telling" is the most neutral word I could come up with to describe the article's concept without giving it too much weight in any particular direction, i.e. using words like "account", "myth", or "story", which bias things. Torchiest (talk | contribs) 17:31, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
To throw in my two cents. I don't see any real issue with either version. I prefer the "The Genesis creation narrative is an ancient, and humanity. " simply because it strikes me as better writting (though I take SV's point about "telling", perhaps change to "account"?). Either way, this article is contraversial enough that changes to the lead really ought to be discussed before it is changed. NickCT (talk) 17:34, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
(ec) It means the same as narrative. So you're saying the narrative is a narrative. SlimVirgin talk contribs 17:35, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
People this is a Judeo-Christian story about creation, not a Judeo-Christian "version" of creation. The latter implies a much more literalist understanding of said story, which is not the norm.Griswaldo (talk) 18:31, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not saying the narrative is a narrative. I'm saying that the Genesis creation narrative is a narrative about the beginning of the world. And that's correct according to everyone. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 19:16, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Source request

In case this question gets lost above, could someone tell me—with diffs, citations, or brief quotes—the names of a few academics currently working in mainstream universities who have said unambiguously that this is not a myth, and if possible what they think it is instead? SlimVirgin talk contribs 17:39, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

You want to provide us with the same for those who say it unambiguously is myth? Anyways, how's this for starters? NickCT (talk) 17:58, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
SV, did you miss what I said just before you asked that question? Here it is again: ...while one can appeal to those "theologians" who say it is a myth, one can also point to the theologians who have categorically stated, using various arguments, that it is NOT in that genre: including (but not limited to) Bernhard Anderson, G. Ernest Wright, James I. Packer, James Orr, G. C. Berkouwer, Claus Westermann, Robert Jenson, René Girard, etc. etc... Nobody's theologians have a monopoly on a controversial POV question like the genre of Genesis... Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:10, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
@SlimVirgin Ah-well I've seen some, so they're out there but they generally rely upon a peculiarly theological definition of "myth" (often taken from interpretation of New Testament passages) to specifically refer to the wrong-headed, religious pseudo-truths believed by "others". But no serious study of myth today would overlook or omit the Genesis creation story-I find it now to be one of the most frequently cited examples of creation myth. And there is no unanimity of opinion about any single thing in this or almost any other Biblical topic. Most claims are necessarily going to have to characterize what's certainly the "general", rather than "unanimous" opinion--otherwise anything said here becomes virtually unreadable, buried neck deep in caveats, footnotes, translations and qualifiers.
@Til Eulenspiegel at least some of those names you've given I recognize as having argued to advance a new kind of theology derived from a renewed vision/version of the myth- that's something a bit different, isn't it? --Professor marginalia (talk) 18:38, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
No theologian has a monopoly on this, and indeed theologians are not the scholars we should be looking to in the first place since they are coming from within a tradition of faith and necessarily have to wrestle with that tradition when they look at its core texts. This means they are making sense of the Bible in light of non-scriptural sources of religious authority. We should be looking to the fields of Biblical studies, comparative literature, religious studies, archeology, history, sociology, etc.Griswaldo (talk) 18:46, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
This is getting stranger all the time. A couple months ago when Ben, Cush et. al. were claiming that "theologians" unanimously declared Genesis to be a myth, then "theologians" were our best sources. Now that it appears they don't, suddenly theologians aren't our best sources. Why not just come out and say that anyone who calls Genesis a myth fits the litmus test of being our best sources. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:51, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
There didn't exist any such unanimity among theologians then or now. There isn't unanimity of opinion among theologians about anything at all, is there? Even the opening words "In the beginning" are disputed. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:01, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I have no idea whether or not Ben and Cush understand the difference between Theology and the more general study of religion, but its rather likely given what you say that at the very least they don't appreciate the more exact use of terminology. See -- Theology#Theology_and_religious_studies (note that this distinction is not simply in "some contexts", it is recognized by anyone who studies religion). Ben and Cush also rather distinctly do not speak for me in any way shape or form. Scholars of ancient literature and more generally of religion are our best sources. Those who specifically focus on theology are, once again, usually interpreting these texts through various other claims made by their faith traditions, as opposed to the (at least supposedly) more objective lens of secular scholarship.Griswaldo (talk) 19:06, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, you don't speak for me, either. And I say the opinion of these recognized theologians meets every possible wikipedia standard of being a "significant point of view" on the subject. To argue otherwise is to suggest (as Cush has) that all religion is a priori illegitimate,. and never could be legitimate as a POV worthy of mention, regardless of how widespread or how well sourced it is. Which is not exactly a "mainstream" view, in academia or otherwise. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 19:35, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Til I never implied I spoke for you, but you did imply that somehow what I'm now saying should be judged by what Ben and Cush said sometime ago. I find that part of your reply rather odd. A "theologian" is absolutely not de facto a reliable source on biblical scholarship. Please ask someone who knows about this like say Alastair, who if I'm not mistaken is professionally immersed in both fields himself. Some theologians may have virtually no expertise in biblical studies. Once again the point here is that "theology" in and of itself is not what makes someone qualified in biblical studies. I have never made the argument you attribute to Cush either. Religious views are not illegitimate, but they are also not on par with secular scholarship when it comes to comparing the religion in question to those of others. That is exactly what is required when one starts talking about categories like "myth", for instance.Griswaldo (talk) 19:43, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
"Religious views are not illegitimate, but they are also not on par with secular scholarship" Says you. All significant points of view are supposed to be considered neutrally. No matter how you colour it, there's no way "tilting" can ever equal "neutral". Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 19:51, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Hey you two! :)) I, for one, admire you both, please keep being as gentle as possible.
Yes, Griswaldo, I agree on two important points, that I suspect Til will concede also.
Some outstanding theologians will admit that, irrespective of bias issues, they are not experts in Hebrew, Aramaic or Semitic languages in general. Many outstanding scholars of biblical languages and literature admit they are not expert theologians. Both theology and language/literature issues are relevant to this article. Some writers are good at both. Some are absolutely outstanding in one or the other, irrespective of secular or religious commitment.
I hope it is fair to say that a theologian can neither be automatically excluded, nor included, by virtue of her being a theologian alone, or a biblical scholar alone.
The second point where I agree with Griswaldo is that when a theologian or biblical scholar does have a published confessional position, that is frequently (but not always) relevant. A confessional religious point of view is not grounds for exclusion if the POV is significant, it is grounds for inclusion; however, the secular point of view is exceedingly valuable in many (if not all) cases also.
I cannot say just how very much I appreciate biblical scholars who are from religious traditions other than Christianity, or are secular academics. Their expert views very frequently indeed help demonstrate which parties in sectarian disputes are closest to being objective. Sometimes, as in The Myth of God Incarnate, religious writers have a common partisan cause with secular atheist writers. However, there are many other places where secular sources are agnostic, rather than atheist, and actually back the very things religious writers claim the Bible to be saying.
Please, please be gentle with one another. The subject of this article has genuinely tricky features that make these debates about neutrality exceedingly sophisticated. We need to bypass the crude issue of neutrality, so we can work out some of the finer points.
I think the best thing I can do is testify to the good faith of both Griswaldo and Til, and to the intelligent and informed nature of everything both of them are saying. I'm not trying to hide issues here, I think there are genuine subtleties that the keen minds of both Gris and Til can eat for breakfast, so long as they trust one another. So much is this the case, that I feel free to say nothing here about content, just these words regarding the quality of the editors who are currently struggling to find their way forwards. Alastair Haines (talk) 03:22, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Source request again

Okay, I'll ask again. :) Can someone give me, say, three names of current academics (not former, not retired) working at the moment in mainstream universities, along with clear citations where they say this is not a myth? SlimVirgin talk contribs 21:29, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Very probably, but you seem to be insisting on raising the bar to an impossibly higher standard than wp holds to demonstrate that any other significant and widespread POV honest-to-god exists out there. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 01:43, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
That's not a high bar at all. Consensus within academic disciplines changes and an encyclopedia that one can edit instantly has no excuse not to be up to date. Consider that even in the 1970s and 80s most sociologists of religion believed secularization theory and barely 20 years later it has been almost completely abandoned. In the hard sciences this would be a no-brainer, but unfortunately the humanities and social sciences often pertain to subjects that people have a personal stake in proving one way or another so old scholarship that fits someone's POV is not as easily forgotten. Anyway if a certain perspective was common we should report it as a piece of relevant history, but only if a perspective is common should we use it argue about how to present our subject matter outright.Griswaldo (talk) 11:10, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
My point is that it's a bar that you just made up, and you're holding this article to a higher standard than any other on wikipedia without the policy to back it up. I'm not saying the bar cannot be met, I'm saying that as soon as it is, the authoritative types here will suddenly insist it be raised a little higher, because nothing would ever ever good enough to prove that the POV really is widespread one when they are trying to "discourage" it. The whole thing is really pathetic when you look at it. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 11:14, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Hi, we've got a situation here where the lead says "many scholars" believe this is a creation myth. That means that some scholars don't believe it. So could you please name some current scholars in universities who don't? Just three names, with citations to where they say it. Or even just one name with one citation to get us started. SlimVirgin talk contribs 11:22, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
So once again, we need sources speaking for the theological POV, but with one caveat, the theological POV is pre-disqualified as illegitimate. So what we are attempting to search for to satisfy you is theological sources that are not theological sources. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 11:30, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
No one said it was illegitimate. If there is a significant view amongst theologians today that this is not a myth then you can source it and we can figure out how best to get it into the entry. But if it is indeed only theologians then perhaps we need to do so with some attribution, but that's another story. Also Slimvirgin, who is making this request, has never said anything about theologians, that was just me, so I fail to understand why you are conflating us like that. Just produce the sources and we can proceed.Griswaldo (talk) 11:33, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
(ec) I don't mind whether they're theologians or something else. I ask only that they be current professional academics working for mainstream universities. SlimVirgin talk contribs 11:36, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Well anyone can ask any high standard, but we have wikipedia standards for significant POV too, and they apply across the board to all articles. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 11:40, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
So could you supply a couple of names, please, with citations to where they say it? SlimVirgin talk contribs 12:06, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

I believe Wikipedia's standards for establishing that the POV exists have already been abundantly met. Now let's see if it will meet your specially high standard (to which no other topic on wp is held), or if you will claim the authority to raise the bar yet higher still:

  • "Since pagan god-stories concern not history but nature, and since Scripture recounts nothing of Yahweh like the celestial goings-on of these god-stories, it seems clearer and sounder to follow Scripture's own usage and reject myth as a non-Biblical category."... J. I. Packer (qv) currently Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • "Genesis' story is not a myth, for it does not in fact tell us anything about what things were like when there were no things. Its tohu webohu is not an antecedent nothingness-actuality like the Great Slime dismembered by the Babylonian Marduk, nor yet an eternal egg or womb or pure potentiality of primal matter..." -- Systematic Theology, Robert Jenson, 1997, p. 11
"The story told in the third chapter of Genesis is not a myth; it does not describe what always and never happens. It describes the historical first happening of what thereafter always happens; moreover, had it not happened with the first humans it could not have happened at all, since then the first humans would have been omitted from an "encompassing deed of the human race". -- ibid, p. 150
Note: This entry is not about the "third chapter of Genesis", but what comes before it.Griswaldo (talk) 12:51, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
  • "The Bible itself is perfectly aware of its opposition to all mythological religions. It brands them as idolatrous, and I think that the revelation of scapegoat delusion in mythology is an essential part of the fight against idolatry. Here we could go, for instance, to the story of Cain and Abel, and compare it to the myth of Romulus and Remus. In the story of Cain and Abel, the murder of one brother by the other is presented as a crime that is also the founding of a community. But in the Roman story this foundation cannot be viewed as a crime. It is a legitimate action by Romulus. The point of view of the Bible about such events differs enormously from that of myth." -- Oedipus Unbound: Selected Writings on Rivalry and Desire, by René Girard, Mark R. Anspach, 2004 ISBN 0804747806, 9780804747806 p. 112
"Not only is the Bible not myth; it is the source of whatever "demythologization" has occurred in the world and will occur in the future. (ibid, p. 112)
Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 12:37, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm a little confused by this discussion. We were told repeatedly during the lengthy argument about the article's name that the term "creation myth" was a neutral term used by scholars to describe this genre and that it had no pejorative connotation. Now we are arguing about whether scholars "believe" it is a myth? They either use the term or they don't. The Google Scholar searches reported above say many do and many use other terms. That's what our article should reflect.--agr (talk) 12:50, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Your confusion stems from the fact that most of the authors who don't use the specific term Genesis creation myth still recognize that the passages contain a "creation myth".Griswaldo (talk) 12:54, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
If creation myth is a neutral descriptor, there is nothing the "recognize" or "believe". One uses the term or one does not. Biologists don't "recognize" or "believe" that cats are feline.--agr (talk) 13:24, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
The naming issue was about what this passage is commonly called -- not whether or not scholars believe these passages contain a creation myth. If you asked a dog breeder what a Beagle is commonly called they'd say, duh a Beagle -- not for instance a "Beagle hound", even though several other hounds do have the term in their names, see foxhound. If you also asked that breeder if the beagle is a hound they'd say, yeah a beagle is a hound. There is nothing odd or contradictory about the this. Similarly scholars may refer to this Biblical narrative by another name, such as "Biblical creation story", "Genesis creation story", but when asked to categorize it will still say, it is a "creation myth". Again there is nothing odd or contradictory about this.Griswaldo (talk) 14:07, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
That's what I am trying to say. "Creation myth" in a scholarly context is a category, like "hound." No one says Beagles are considered to be hounds or believed to be hounds. Our article should make clear that when scholars use the term "creation myth," they are not making a value judgement, but merely assigning it to a category.--agr (talk)
Well then we agree. My point is simply that we should be able to call it a "hound" in the body of the article even if it's not in the name. So I think we're agreeing.Griswaldo (talk) 20:26, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Victor P. Hamilton is current professor of Bible and theology at Asbury College University, Wilmore, Kentucky, and a well-known source for the mainstream Christian POV, which is obviously significant to this topic. Here, he tells it like it really is:
"Many scholars would be content to interpret the Creation story or the Fall as neither history nor myth. It is not history, according to them, in the sense that Gen. 1-2 or Gen. 3 describes past events that actually happened. But neither are they myths, at least in the historical-philosophical definition of myth. The truth is that scholars disagree about the definition of the word. One recent writer (G. B. Caird) has isolated nine definitions of myth and another [J. W. Rogerson] documents twelve aspects of myth. This proliferation of definitions of myth is the reason why one scholar would look at Gen. 1-11 and say it is free of myth, while another scholar would look at Gen 1-11 and pronounce it entirely mythical." The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17 (part of The New International Commentary on the Old Testament) by Victor P. Hamilton, 1990, p. 56-58.
Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 12:57, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Til, I asked above for sources currently working as academics in mainstream universities. You've offered J. I. Packer, Robert Jenson, and Victor P. Hamilton who are not working in universities.

René Girard is a solid mainstream source. I'm not sure he's saying quite what you're presenting him as saying, but you could be right, so that's one. Are there any others? SlimVirgin talk contribs 14:51, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Slim, according to my information, they are all currently working in Universities. But even if they are not, by what policy or by what authority do you insist on holding this article to such an abnormally high standard, or presume to disqualify them on that account? I still have not got an answer to that question. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:59, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Outstanding work Til. Slim's question is indeed raising the bar above WP:NPOV, but that's not a bad thing. Even that request can be met. I don't think many academics who specialise in biblical literature would agree with Darwin's literal reading of Genesis any longer. Many, though, continue to follow Julius Wellhausen however. Darwin and Wellhausen are more relevant to this article than ten-a-penny current academics when they are simply following lines of argument forged by others. I mean no disrespect to current academics by that, it's absolutely wonderful we live in a world that can afford to employ tens of thousands of biblical scholars of all flavours.
Slim's question strikes me as an essential question, despite what I might seem to be implying above. Am I wrong to think that sources for this article should include acknowledgement of scholars who first proposed ideas, and a clear survey giving due weight to all views currently held among academics of all flavours. May I suggest someone checks out Reuven Tsur's opinion on Genesis, I'd do it myself, but I'm preoccupied with other business at the moment. Slim? Could you do that, perhaps? Alastair Haines (talk) 03:39, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

On the view that only polytheistic, pagan and/or "idolatrous" religions contain myths

You may find this from Michael Fishbane's Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking informative or you may disregard it, but it speaks to the view underwriting many of the quotes Til has produced above. Of course in doing so it clearly also recognizes that these POVs exist:

"A striking feature of contemporary attempts to differentiate ancient Israel from myth thus often depends upon constructions that first define myth in terms of polytheistic paganism, and then juxtapose this definition to features of biblical monotheism—concluding thereby that ‘myth’ is absent from the latter. For example, on the argument that an essential variable of ancient Near Eastern paganism is the origin of the gods in a cosmic plenum, from which substance they emerge as differentiated personalities, but upon whose elemental character they are necessarily and inherently dependent, the figure of a singular God with a transcendent will, who is (apparently) distinct from the natural world to which He gave created form, is of a fundamentally different sort.20 Hereby, myth is linked with the nature gods of polytheism and totally dissociated from supernatural monotheism. Accordingly, it is presumed that any hints of myth as recognizable from the ancient Near East (in terms of divine action, imagery, or personality) can only be harmless vestiges of a figurative (or metaphorical) sort—and thus neither true nor living myth.21
But this is a self-serving and fallacious line of argument. Whether or not these characterizations of polytheistic paganism or monotheism are in any way accurate, the exclusive identification of a literary phenomenon (myth) with a specific religious or cultural form (natural polytheism) is both tendentious and tautological: the first, because the definition is arbitrary and selective; and the second, because the identification is always self-confirming, and without any means of checking its circular or redundant character. Such argumentation is also based on certain essentialist views regarding polytheism and monotheism, though it generally avoids this stigma through the pretence of comparative historical study, and conceals an old cultural animus against brute ‘myth’ (the heir of Hellas) under the cover of an analytical phenomenology of religion.22 Nevertheless, such intellectual practices reveal just how much the category of myth still serves as a container for all the cultural forms or ideologies that one has purportedly transcended (like irrationality, polytheism, and paganism)—for the sake of others assumed to be superior in kind (like reason, monotheism, or historical inquiry) and with which one identifies.23 The result is a lamentable impoverishment of the notion and nature of myth, and its formulations within biblical monotheism; but it is also a schematization of monotheism that equally impoverishes its inherent and complex features. Indeed, the upshot of much recent writing is to claim differences between monotheism and polytheism that are arguably more polemical than propaedeutic, and that need to be thoroughly reconsidered." (pp. 5-6)

This view is more mainstream, but like I said it also recognizes the other view as well.Griswaldo (talk) 12:51, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Take special note of this statement by Fishbane, from the above text:
  • Nevertheless, such intellectual practices reveal just how much the category of myth still serves as a container for all the cultural forms or ideologies that one has purportedly transcended (like irrationality, polytheism, and paganism)—for the sake of others assumed to be superior in kind (like reason, monotheism, or historical inquiry) and with which one identifies.
What is interesting about this statement is that it is exactly the culture warriors who find common ground around the idea that "myth" is something that has been transcended. On the one hand atheists have transcended the irrationality of myth, but conservative monotheists beat them to it a long time ago by transcending the pagan, idolatrous nature of myth. The inclination is one and the same. It doesn't take a genius to see why some people want to call something related to Judeo-Christian belief a myth and some others are so against it. These people all share the unfortunate understanding of myth Fishbane is trying to argue against.Griswaldo (talk) 13:07, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I would argue, and can readily supply much evidence, that the "unfortunate" understanding is actually the historically and etymologically correct one -- and that the supposedly "neutral" and "non-pejorative" definition is a complete neologism, that has never found complete acceptance. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 13:15, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Since the original Greek mythos does not have the meaning you are trumpeting one has to assume that you have arbitrarily decided on another historical usage as containing the "historically and etymologically correct one". You may chose to live in a past historical period if you wish Til but the encyclopedia does not have that luxury.Griswaldo (talk) 13:37, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
The word entered the English language meaning "falsehood", and by that time it had already meant "falsehood" in Greek for about 2000 years. This is a matter of record. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 13:47, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
And as for living in the past - Yes, Bultman tried to redefine "myth" so as to encompass the Bible - but not without massive resistance that is ongoing and shows no sign of abating. Again, a matter of record. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 13:49, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Really? So when Aristotle discusses "mythos" he meant what the Greeks had always meant -- falsehood? That's news to me. Outside of theologians you'll be hard pressed to find scholars who do not consider part of the Bible to be exemplary of myth. You will most certainly be hard pressed to find scholars who differentiate between Biblical stories and the traditional stories of other civilizations based upon truth value -- in other words if Genesis doesn't contain a creation myth then neither does the Völuspá. If you are comfortable making the distinction based on truth value and make an appeal to scholastic authority in doing so then you're living in an era of the past. BTW, I'm not going to waste my time on this anymore so don't expect any more replies.Griswaldo (talk) 14:21, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that's an apt description of Bultmann either-he didn't try to redefine "myth" so as to encompass the Bible; it was more the opposite. He tried to redefine "theology" so as Christian belief wouldn't be entangled with or cornered by the myth he essentially conceded could be found in the Bible. Professor marginalia (talk) 16:53, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
What an outstanding quote, Gris! :))
I don't agree with the source on every point, of course, but my opinion is irrelevant.
I do agree with your astute comment that both atheist and religious POVs on Genesis as myth or as polemic-against-myth are little more than re-affirmations of their own basic foundational philosophical position. That excludes neither of their opinions, mind you, since it is quite possible that Genesis does indeed provide evidence for one or other of those positions. The actual arguments, not merely the conclusions need examination.
One thing I'm thrilled to see, however, is that even an "enemy source" acknowledges what I've been claiming at this talk page for some time: there is a widespread, not exclusively religious, view that Genesis was an anti-mythological polemic. The Genesis debate in the popular press is a 150 year out-of-date anachronism. The real contemporary scholastic debate features prominently this Genesis as polemic issue.
Fwiw, I am personally not convinced that the "polemic-hermeneutic" is the key (or even correct) approach to Genesis 1. I have actually written on that (but not published as yet). Fishbane now confirms my nervousness about that approach. I actually agree with Fishbane that it looks self-serving to claim the polemic reading of Genesis. I don't think Fishbane has disproved that reading, I think it has genuine merits, but although we must document this important scholastic opinion on Genesis, I wouldn't be surprised if scholarship provides much more satisfactory treatment over the course of future decades. Crazy, but I don't think scholars, even believers, have yet finished resolving even some basic questions regarding Genesis 1.
Great source! Great editors here! Great topic! Best wishes to all. Alastair Haines (talk) 03:57, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Reliable sources aren't just the ones that agree with your POV.

Time for another great source for your consideration (I got plenty more)

"...How to define "myth" is another matter altogether. While most, if not all biblical scholars would agree that the word myth may denote what produces myths, or may mean the understanding of the world that is contained in them, agreement would end as soon as these generalizations were made more specific. Some would argue that myths are produced by a pre-scientific outlook and that the world-view contained in myths must retreat as science advances. Others would regard myths as the product of a way of knowing different from science, expressing truths independently of the knowledge, or lack of it, of scientific causes." -- J.W. Rogerson, "Slippery Words:Myth" in Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth by Aland Dundes, 1984, p. 63 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Til Eulenspiegel (talkcontribs) 20:02, 28 April 2010

This only proves one thing. Relativism is destroying academic standards. The above paragraph is meaningless without more context.--LexCorp (talk) 05:06, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, I couldn't reproduce the whole thing, but you're welcome to look it up. The gist of the article "Slippery Words:Myth" is that there has never been and never will be (other than "hooray for our side" pretense) any such thing as "mainstream" in academia on controversies, like which parts of the Bible, if any, fit which definition of "myth", and what this is really supposed to mean anyway. Most scholars are honest enough to admit when something is controversial, but wikipedia tries to pretend it's all been happily resolved now (without furnishing proof) which reminds me of Old Soviet Scientific Method - prove your point by blackballing anyone who doesn't buy into your hypothesis. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 11:09, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
The Genesis creation myth is a myth by definition. No amount of intellectual masturbation will change that. It is that simple.--LexCorp (talk) 12:05, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
By whose definition? Oh yeah, that's right - yours. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 12:24, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
read the fisrt page of your so scholarly and renown source [66].
"A myth is a sacred narrative explaining how the world and man came to be in their present form." -- Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth by Aland Dundes, 1984, p. 1 THE VERY FIRST SENTENCE
also on the particular essay you use:
"Another group of scholars vitally concerned with the nature of myth is theologians. Their approaches differ from those of students of comparative religion generally insofar as they tend to be especially concerned with the Bible. If one accepts that myth are contained in the Bible, particularly in the OT, then it is easy to see why theologians have been compelled to consider the nature of myth."-- J.W. Rogerson, "Slippery Words:Myth" in Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth by Aland Dundes, 1984, p. 62 [67]
Same source stating that only a subset of scholars (theologians) do not a priory consider GS a myth but nevertheless must consider the study of myths as it is blatantly obvious that the GS is a myth.--LexCorp (talk) 12:37, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Q1 Is the Book of Genesis a sacred text?
A1 Yes
Q2 Does is explain how the world and man came to be in their present form?
A2 Yes
Conclusion: The Genesis creation myth is a myth by simple definition.--LexCorp (talk) 12:47, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
LexCorp — The conceptualization of the subject matter of this article deserves treatment in the body of the article. That is where all such conceptualizations should be arrayed alongside and against one another. That is where a neutral point of view can be achieved. But a title is only for identifying an article. That is already accomplished by the inclusion of the two words: Genesis and creation. "Myth" is not necessary in forming a title. Is it? Bus stop (talk) 15:58, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
That is a strange argument. "Narrative" is used, thus why not the more precise, scholarly and encyclopedic well sourced "myth" instead. It does look like this is the latest attempt by a group of editors to change Wikipedia contents on PC grounds and not on encyclopedic standards. Myth is the correct term and does not breach any of the core WP policies.--LexCorp (talk) 16:40, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
It's been said so many times. "Myth" is not more precise, especially as the public generally understands myth to mean false. Changing the title to "myth" was an attempt by a group of editors to change Wikipedia contents, and thankfully, they have been stopped.Mk5384 (talk) 17:41, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
"The Book of Genesis" is a myth and a narrative. "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a narrative but not a myth. Thus which is the more descriptive and precise term? Changing the title to "myth" was an attempt by a group of editors to change Wikipedia contents in order to improve its quality.--LexCorp (talk) 17:55, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
More precisely, the Book of Genesis contains myth, including the Genesis creation accounts, but the argument that the entire book qualifies as myth-I haven't come across that claim much. Professor marginalia (talk) 18:00, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh, stop. It's a myth according to some, and a narrative according to all. The only people who want to use myth in the title are those who only agree with the some. That's called POV. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 18:02, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia editorial policy is not dictated by relativism. The genesis creation myth is both a myth and a narrative by simple definition. The title should describe the subject of the page. The title "Genesis creation myth" is a more descriptive title than "Genesis creation narrative". The NPOV policy is irrelevant to this discussion.--LexCorp (talk) 18:08, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
The article title does not need the focus that you are calling for. Nor is it advisable. We need not choose a title that narrows the focus of Genesis chapters one and two to the treatment of it as a "creation myth." It is not called that in some quarters. There are ambiguities and dissenting opinions on what Genesis chapters one and two is about. All that is called for in a title is the adequate identifying of an article's subject matter. We don't need to characterize it. If characterizing it (in this case as a "creation myth") is not necessary as far as adequately identifying it, then that finer characterization is counterproductive because it narrows the focus of the article. Bus stop (talk) 18:50, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

LexCorp, it may be helpful for you to read the information message at the top of this article. Your edit summaries on other pages (for example calling the use of narrative "a farce,") your edit warring on Adam ( 4 reverts in less than 24hours, all trying to hide the title of this article which is censureship), and your offensive language towards me on your talk page (you wrote, "Ok bite me"), all make it hard for me to Assume Good Faith, when I see you starting to stir the pot here. For your information, the message atop reads:

"Please note that restarting a debate that has already been settled may be taken as "asking the other parent", disruptive and even tendentious, unless there is some evidence that consensus has changed or is likely to change."

SAE (talk) 18:56, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

As I have said, atheist fundamentalists are every bit as dangerous as religious fundamentalists. Fortunately, sanity has prevailed here.Mk5384 (talk) 19:25, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I would also like to note, that these people must be allowed to say their peace. Whilst we were in the process of getting the title changed, many made that same, "the debate has been settled" argument, as grounds to attempt to force us to stop.Mk5384 (talk) 19:28, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I will abide by consensus for now but I would like to point out that this change reduces the quality of Wikipedia for the reasons stated above. This is nothing more than a compromise to appease those (uneducated) that perceive an attack to their faith when there is none. Wikipedia should be an education tool not a safe heaven for the hypersensitive uneducated masses. In the end this edit is nothing more than the preference of cheap political correctness by the page editors over encyclopedic standards.--LexCorp (talk) 20:12, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
LexCorp if you cherish education and reason so much my suggestion is to educate yourself a bit more about what has been transpiring on this talk page instead of spouting off this knee jerk reaction. While there are certainly a few avowedly religious people who have openly expressed their dislike for "myth" based on claimed "offense" there are plenty of others who have gone to great lengths to explore the title question in terms of actual academic usage, and the old title didn't cut the mustard. The new one isn't the best option either. The best options by far, based upon the empirical investigation of academic usage, were "Biblical creation story" and "Genesis creation story". This appears to be the closest were're going to get to "story", and indeed "narrative" and "story" are synonyms.Griswaldo (talk) 20:38, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I am a Yale alum. What, exactly, would qualify me as "educated" to your desired standards?Mk5384 (talk) 20:58, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Someone who understands the implied definition of myth in this article and recognizes that the definition of the Genesis creation myth as a myth is substantially superior and more descriptive than defining it as a narrative.--LexCorp (talk) 21:15, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I do understand it. The general public, however, often does not. The people who insisted on "myth" being in this title know this, and as such, are POV pushers to the max.Mk5384 (talk) 22:13, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
ABsolute complete utter total irredeemable bullshit. I am a church-going Christian, I am off to spend the weekend singing music to the glory of God by Bach, Schütz and Pachelbel, and I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with the term "creation myth" because that's what it is, technically and factually. It is part of Christian mythology, a mythology to which, in the main, I subscribe. Guy (Help!) 22:30, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Guy do you have to resort to this kind of language? I'm very happy about your own personal opinion about these passages but if you're arguing for using the "Genesis creation myth" title then your opinion that this the most common way to refer to these passages is not reflected in scholarly use. "Genesis creation story" and "Biblical creation story" far surpass it. It grows beyond tiresome to listen to all the opinionated voices here. Do some research and educate yourself on this topic, especially if you're gonna come by here and use terms like "bullshit" to denigrate those people who have actually spent some time doing that research. I'm fine with ignorance but belligerent self-rghteous ignorance starts getting offensive. If you have nothing to say but "you guys are full of horseshit because I'm a Christian and I don't agree with you" then I really wonder what you're adding to this discussion. I'm not a Christian, nor a Jew, nor a Muslim, but who cares? And you know this story wasn't originally Christian either ... but apparently that's all people like you seem to care about. How this title change must only be about appeasing conservative Christians right? Wake up. That's not it. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 01:50, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Ditto, that kind of stuff only makes it very evident that you're really just pushing your own pov and do not actually know or care what the scholarly sources have to say. Griswaldo has said it right. SAE (talk) 01:59, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

I, personally have no problem with the term either. What I do have a problem with, is the fact that it is intentionally misleading.Mk5384 (talk) 22:48, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
There is an objective problem here: the obviously real fact that some people think that it is factually intentionally misleading. That is entirely contrary to WP:AGF. DVdm (talk) 23:05, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I found the previous title contrived and gratuitous. It is easier to call this "Creation according to Genesis" than it is to call this "Genesis creation myth." There is such a thing as "naturalness" in a title and there is such a thing as a "forced" title. "Genesis creation myth" sounds like someone had constipation but finally got it out. Bus stop (talk) 23:07, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
It may, initially be contrary to AGF, but read some of the things that some of the pro-myth people have said, and you'll see that there isn't a lot of GF going on there. Intentional, or not, "Genesis Creation narrative" makes it much more clear to the average reader.Mk5384 (talk) 23:14, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Mk5384 you conceded my point that this is sacrificing encyclopedic standards over political correctness. Point me to the WP policy that says we must do so. My hope is that those average readers, by reading Wikipedia, lift themselves from that status into a more educated one.@Bus stop that is your personal opinion. Not very strong argument me thinks.--LexCorp (talk) 23:56, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
WP:UCN. Thanks for asking. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 02:22, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
That policy clearly states we should follow the reliable sources. The Google search result is an amalgamation of all sources whether reliable, unreliable or irrelevant. A proper survey should only take into account the reliable sources. Where does it states that we must sacrifice encyclopedic standards over political correctness?--LexCorp (talk) 12:49, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Encyclopedic standards shouldn't involve using the title as a pulpit. The purpose of the title is to identify the article. It is counterproductive to add qualifiers to a title after it has already accomplished its role as an identifier of the article. Preachiness in the title is not an encyclopedic standard. I feel that titles should cleanly identify articles. Evenhandedness is an encyclopedic standard. That calls for leaving out tendentious and unnecessary information. Bus stop (talk) 15:26, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Your logic is defective. "narrative" is also a qualifier and a less descriptive one too. Wikipedia does not preach. Hopefully it educates. Your assumption that the use of "myth" is tendentious can only be the result of your inability to assign the correct implied meaning of the word when used in conjunction with "Genesis creation".--LexCorp (talk) 16:03, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

I have read this entire thread and I want my money back. It seems to be completely pointless. The name of this article was changed from Genesis creation myth (the creation myth contained in Genesis) to Genesis creation narrative (less descriptive, but also less likely to enrage American Christians who are not used to their religion being treated on equal terms with others). The term creation myth was effectively moved from the first sentence of the lead to the second. Now what is this discussion about? Are we back to the old attempts to remove the term creation myth from the lead, and then presumably from the article, entirely? Or is this just an abuse of this talk page as a discussion forum? Hans Adler 13:16, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm sure there is a little bit of both going on. There is absolutely no reason to remove "creation myth" from the introduction. In fact I'm still in favor of putting it back into the first sentence myself. This particular discussion is pretty pointless if you ask me and people should just move on.Griswaldo (talk) 13:25, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure that these "American Christians who are not used to their religion being treated on equal terms with others" will not rest before the word is entirely eradicated from this article. You see, they don't have a religion to be treated on such terms - they have a unique religion aka The religion. They have taken the title - then they take the first sentence, after that they take the lead. Finally they will take the article, to be followed by removing every reference to Genesis from the Creation myth article, or at least go for its title. DVdm (talk) 14:11, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Did you even read the lead before you posted? did you even know what this article was titled for years before it was switched to a pov? do you have anything to offer to this article but your thoughts of intolerance of people who are different than you? how many times do people have to tell you that they are not Christian, and I am certainly not American. Try looking down somewhere into the body of the article and adding some worthwhile content, that would be helpful. SAE (talk) 14:28, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Just follow the difs I provided. They speak for themselves. No further comment. DVdm (talk) 14:35, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
really? that's your answer? i suggest you follow your own diff and read them. you are full of contradictions. plus you called me a name which is inappropriate. putting it in someone elses quotes before you do it is is only hiding SAE (talk) 14:39, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
DVdm, you missed the last thing that SAE did here [68]. I have news for you and Hans. Most religious people do not consider "their religion" to be equal to or the same as those of others. That liberal version of "religion" is itself a modern Euro-American notion. I'm also baffled by the continued use of this culture wars type rhetoric when many of the ardent non-mythers here aren't even Christian. When you are unable to look at this discussion through a lens other than that produced by "American" culture wars tropes, which pit religion against science, conversation becomes hopeless. Of course it is ironic that you are all slaves to that discourse in the first place. Perhaps not ironic but sad at the very least. I'm begging you all to please take your culture war somewhere else. And if you don't think you're taking part in it consider that there are two tango partners in "us against them". Regards.Griswaldo (talk) 14:43, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Just for the record, I tend to categorize some of the European fundamentalist Christians under what Hans described as "American Christians who are not used to their religion being treated on equal terms with others" - you know, the "EO" and such. But never mind, I think I'll watch from the sideline for a while. Cheers - DVdm (talk) 15:03, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
My point was of course not that they don't consider their religion equal to others. My point was, and this is where their being American comes in (the paradox of some of the most provincial people in the world using a world language and the internet), that they are not used to others treating their religion as equivalent to other religions. They are so much used to preferential treatment for their religion that they are deeply upset when they don't get it. To some extent we must take this into account, but not too much. Hans Adler 15:21, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, that they are "deeply upset when they don't get preferential treatment", is entirely their problem, and what they really need to overcome this, is education, which they should be able to find in an encyclopedia. Not in this one apparently. DVdm (talk) 15:43, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Do you have a source for Americans being "some of the most provincial people in the world"? Bus stop (talk) 15:35, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Sources are needed for statements in articles - not on talk pages. DVdm (talk) 15:43, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
The reasoning here takes straw man argument to new heights. Virtually no one is arguing from a point of view of "religion" except those preaching about "creation myths." The hallmark of religious zeal, in my opinion, is its inability to put concepts into alternative words. Those smitten with religious passion latch onto buzzwords. Creation myth is a valid concept. But it will be just as valid in paragraph three as paragraph one. And it will be just as valid in paragraph one as in the title. Bus stop (talk) 15:55, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Ok, there you go DVdm, you got your way. My lead is now reverted. Creation myth is now out of the lead. that's what you wanted right?... oh, no wait a minute. that NOT what you wanted. you actually wanted my lead. hmm... so then why were you name calling me? were you just arguing for the sake of arguing? either way, you get what you asked for, and story is back in the lead. SAE (talk) 14:47, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Put "creation myth" back into the first sentence

With all due respect to those who don't like this phrase the creation myth article should be linked immediately here. By what rationale were we not doing so? It is the entry that describes the kind of story that we are dealing with here.Griswaldo (talk) 13:33, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

I think "Creation Myth" is too general a term to default to the Judeo-Christian article describing the specific Genesis account. As has been pointed out above, there are several creation myths and we should respect them all. Padillah (talk) 13:57, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

I've cut quite a bit out of the lead -- don't worry, it's all still there, I've just moved it down. I am going to be expanding the lead, bases on the content of the article now. Just edit conflicts were getting in the way, so we only have a short lead right now. I think that should suffice for most of the users here? SAE (talk) 14:10, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

I put "creation myth" back in the first sentence, but I changed your change back. It's more than POV to start with a disclaimer about how the subject of the article is viewed and only at the very end to describe the subject itself. You say what a thing is, and then you say stuff about it. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 14:41, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
"myth" is a description of the subject itself not a POV.--LexCorp (talk) 14:51, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Creation myth is no longer in the first sentence after your change so your first claim is perplexing. Creation myth is a description of the thing, as LexCorp says. From the current introduction of that entry -- A creation myth or creation story is a symbolic narrative of a culture, tradition or people that describes their earliest beginnings, how the world they know began and how they first came into it. Using additional characters to describe the same thing strikes me as simply avoiding saying that term in the first sentence. If there is a good reason to do so let's hear it but the current argument doesn't make sense to me. Thanks.Griswaldo (talk) 14:53, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, yes, it's in the second sentence. Even so, both you and LexCorp are mistaken. "Creation myth" is one term that's used by scholars to describe the contents of Genesis 1-2. And that should be noted. It's one of the reasons I changed the text back from "story" to "creation myth". But... maybe I can give you a semi-useful analogy (my high school math teacher used to say "there's no such thing as a good analogy", but maybe this will suffice). Consider the article on Switchblade knives. See how the first paragraph gives a physical description? Do you think it would be reasonable to start that article "A switchblade knife is a very dangerous weapon. It is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade." No matter how many sources may exist for it being a dangerous weapon, it makes no sense to state that first before even telling people what it is.
The Genesis creation narrative is the biblical story of the beginning of the earth, life, and humanity. I mean, forget what people say about it: this is a basic description of it, like an object you'd pick up. What can we say about it? It is considered by many scholars to be one of several Ancient Near East creation myths. It is apparently extremely important to some editors here that this be viewed as tantamount to a physical description. That it is nothing other than a creation myth. But that's not the case. First of all, Judaism has always viewed it as much more than even a description of the creation. But leaving that aside, creation myth is one way to describe the biblical story of the beginning of the earth, life and humanity. As such, it's subordinate to the fundamental identity of the thing. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:20, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
That's not a good analogy. What you're saying now is more akin to this -- A switchblade is a sharp weapon which can be used to injure or kill other people. According to many people it is a dangerous weapon. It is redundant to use extra characters to fully describe this as a creation myth and then in the next sentence to restate that it is a creation myth. Please read the entry creation myth and tell me whether or not your favored description doesn't fit this definition.Griswaldo (talk) 16:28, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Lisa, what I believe Griswaldo is saying is "creation myth" means is "story of the beginning of the earth, life, and humanity" so saying the Genesis Creation myth is the biblical story of the beginning of the earth, life, and humanity is redundant. It's like saying a golf ball is a ball used in golf, it doesn't help and only makes the article more verbose. Padillah (talk) 18:27, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Padillah, that is exactly what I was trying to convey.Griswaldo (talk) 19:33, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Compare versions

SAE version:

Lisa version:

Why do we need to describe what a creation myth is "story of the beginning of the earth, life and humanity" and then link to creation myth when a simple link does the trick right away?Griswaldo (talk) 14:59, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I think the delicate tweaking you've done this morning is heading in the right direction. Torchiest (talk | contribs) 15:27, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't like either version: "is considered by many scholars to be" is silly. There is no question that it fits the definition, and there is a scholarly consensus that it is a creation myth. Therefore we just use plain language and say that it is a creation myth. We don't say "Barack Obama is considered by the political establishment to be the current President of the United States. Especially not in the lead. This implies doubt that simply doesn't exist in any reasonable way. Hans Adler 15:30, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. When I reinstalled SAE's version I removed that part. [69].Griswaldo (talk) 15:39, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Full disclosure: I was Strange as I was logged in when I commented on Lisa's POV assertion above. Anyway I could agree with this [70] version in principle. I still think the article title is not proper and a PC compromise lowering WP quality.--LexCorp (talk) 15:37, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Compare reference works

D. R. W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 239. (this one comes at it from a different angle; also mainstream;)

  • The opening chapter of Genesis is a majestic festive overture to the whole Bible. It introduces the reader to the two principal actors in the biblical drama, God and man (i.e. mankind, Heb. ʾadam), and sketches the main elements in their relationship. We meet God, the almighty creator of all that exists, but also the triumphant climax of his work, man, made in the divine image to rule over God’s world on his behalf. We sense God’s concern for man’s well-being as he assigns the plants for his food. This divine concern is even more apparent in Gn. 2, where the Lord God provides a garden for man to dwell in, animals as his companions, and a wife as his perfect counterpart. SAE (talk) 16:09, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

The Oxford Companion to the Bible

  • The biblical accounts of the creation of the world have their background in ancient Near Eastern mythology, in which creation is often depicted as the deity's victory over the forces of chaos, represented by threatening waters, as a result of which the god is established as a supreme king. A large number of references (e.g., Pss. 74.12–17; 89.9–13) show that this concept was well-known in Israel also. Its immediate source was probably Canaanite mythology, and it was particularly associated with the Jerusalem Temple, where it seems likely that God's victory over primeval chaos and his royal enthronement were celebrated in a great annual festival.Griswaldo (talk) 16:14, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Oxford's A Dictionary of the Bible:

  • The biblical myth of the origin of the universe. There are two accounts in Genesis of the creation by God. Neither deals with the question whether the creation was out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo); the first (Gen. 1: 1–2: 3) which was compiled later, the P source, supposes the pre‐existence of an abyss of infinite and formless waters, a chaos out of which God creates order; in the second, and earlier, story, the J source, God forms Adam from the soil of a damp, barren plain (Gen. 2: 6) but there is nothing about an existing chaos of waters.Griswaldo (talk) 16:14, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

The Oxford Companion to World Mythology:

  • The creation myth of Genesis in the Torah, the first part of what Christians call the Old Testament section of the Bible, is, in fact, at least two myths influenced by various Middle Eastern traditions and circumstances. The first myth appears in Genesis 1:1–2:4a. Here the world's origins are outlined from the point of view of priestly scholars (the so-called P authors) experiencing exile in Babylon in the sixth century B.C.E. These scholars portrayed a mighty God, Elohim, who created a perfect world and created humans in his image.Griswaldo (talk) 16:14, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Oxfords's A Dictionary of Creation Myths:

  • For Jews and Christians the Bible is the holy word of God of which Genesis is the first book of five (the Pentateuch or Torah). Genesis contains the creation myth that forms the basis of the Judeo‐Christian tradition. Some have seen Genesis as a continuous, uniform story, with Genesis 1:1–2:4a outlining the scheme of the world's origin and Genesis 2:4b–4 carefully painting a more detailed picture of humanity's creation. It appears, however, that the book contains two distinct stories crafted by different hands, strongly influenced by the historical climate experienced by the authors and reminiscent of other ancient Near Eastern stories of creation (see also Wisdom).Griswaldo (talk) 16:14, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion:

  • Creation. The question of how the cosmos and its workings [...] came into existence has preoccupied all cultures and given rise to a large number of "creation myths."


  • Comment on New Bible Dictionary: Can a source be deem reliable when their stated Purpose is "As an extension of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, InterVarsity Press serves those in the university, the church and the world by publishing resources that equip and encourage people to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord in all of Life."? It looks to me that this is not scholarly work but rather evangelical hubris (more like propaganda or POS).--LexCorp (talk) 15:52, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
whew. you have saved this article. we'd hate to have a religious article sourced in a religious article now wouldn't we, that would be a disaster. i guess that means we should go through and delete every reference there is in the article too then. too bad, because so many of them are mainstream and well respected. but the problem then is, where could we find an author who does not come with their own presuppositions? Every person has presuppositions, that's common sense. So, that will be hard, with every author having their own pov and all. i think the solution will have to be that we select the mainstream pov's from reliable sources, and use them (our pov's don't count, but a scholar's pov is what we need). yes, that is the answer. oh, look, New Bible Dictionary is written by many reliable sources, that's a good one to use. any others? SAE (talk) 16:07, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
sorry, that is a little sarcastic. but my point remains the same. SAE (talk) 16:09, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
New Bible Dictionary is not a reliable source. It is hubris. Maybe if you look for comparative religion scholars instead of evangelical theologians you will find more reliable sources and less hubris.--LexCorp (talk) 16:21, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but I am not here to argue. WP:IRS will answer all your questions on what is, or what is not, considered to be a reliable source. I suggest that you consult it. SAE (talk) 16:25, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Lex, you just aren't getting it. Let me state this as clearly as possible: When 45% of the world's scholars hold to one pov, 35% to another, 15% to another, and 5% to a variety of others, then in an wikipedia article we must included source and content from each of the major scholarly pov's. Surely you understand this. SAE (talk) 16:32, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
What other POV? See my comment below.--LexCorp (talk) 16:44, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I think I see part of the problem here. LexCorp (correct me if I'm wrong) doesn't consider the scholarship of religious groups to be reliable sources about themselves. If, for example, Maimonides says something about Judaism, or Jerome says something about Christianity, it doesn't constitute scholarship. Only those things which come out of modern academia and/or peer reviewed journals constitute scholarship. Is that your position, Lexcorp? - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:36, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
It is not that black and white. But certainly a theologian from a particular faith carries much less weight than someone approaching the subject from a complete impartial side. If at all possible non-faith bases. Thus comparative religious studies conducted by secular academics is preferable than evangelical works from theologians with a vested interest in a particular faith.--LexCorp (talk) 16:44, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Lex, The New Bible Dictionary is NOT reliable as a source for what it is saying to be stated without attributation. But it IS reliable as a source for stating what one significant POV is. Reliable sources noticeboard will happily explain this policy to you further, if you're having trouble understanding the difference I'm talking about. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 16:13, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Does the The New Bible Dictionary state explicitly that the Genesis creation myth is not a myth? What other significant POV? Omission is not a POV?--LexCorp (talk) 16:26, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh, for crying out loud. Can you find me a reliable source that says the wheel was not invented by Oogoo the caveman? That was his name, incidentally. See, I can claim that, and since you can't find a single source that specifically says Oogoo didn't create it, then I can say it's the consensus. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:25, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Apples and oranges Lisa. Your claim necessarily implies that others would disagree about "creation myth" being the best descriptor. The only way to know if that is true is to see active disagreement.Griswaldo (talk) 16:31, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Nonsensical comment above from Lisa. There is plenty of RS stating the Genesis creation myth is a myth and simple definition does suffice in this case too. Either you dispute that one of the meaning of the word "myth" is "a sacred narrative explaining how the world and man came to be in their present form." or you dispute that the Book of Genesis is a sacred text or you dispute that it tell how the world and man came to be in their present for. If you do not dispute those then Genesis creation myth is a myth by definition. That there exist another POV from expert reliable sources that dispute this or do not agree with this is a farce.--LexCorp (talk) 16:34, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Among those who use the term "creation myth", what they refer to is "a sacred narrative explaining how the world and man came to be in their present form." Not everyone uses that term. Also, you should look the word "hubris" up in the dictionary. I'm just saying. And you should apologize for the "nonsensical" insult. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:39, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Hubris means extreme haughtiness or arrogance. Hubris often indicates being out of touch with reality and overestimating one's own competence or capabilities, especially for people in positions of power. Exactly the meaning I want to use. Arrogance of thinking that the mere fact of being a theologian is sufficient to create scholarly works and not evangelical pieces. More so when your intended purpose is to preach to the choir. Hubris indeed. I happily retreat the nonsensical comment if it gives offense. Having said that your comment above does not form in my mind a logical conclusion given the fact that you omit that there are plenty of RS supporting "myth"--LexCorp (talk) 16:54, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Using the term as a descriptor of the otherwise named narrative is different from naming the narrative itself. As a descriptor it fits the much longer phrase you keep reinserting in-front of it. Please tell me how it doesn't. Relatedly please provide a justification for the attribution "many scholars". I see no evidence to necessitate such an attribution at all. Simply not using the term as a matter of preference does not mean disagreement with it as an accurate descriptor. That requires affirmative proof.Griswaldo (talk) 16:44, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't require affirmative proof at all. On the contrary, if you want to use a word that only some sources use, it must be noted as such and sourced. You're doing neither.
It is a description of creation. Some call that a creation myth. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:53, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I take that the "some" you are referring to is the English speaking population of the whole Earth. Do you agree that the Genesis creation story/narrative/text is a myth by simple definition? Because I am beginning to think I speak another English language different from the one you speak. I learned mine in the Scottish border. Maybe that's the problem.--LexCorp (talk) 17:07, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
No Lisa to the contrary. We are absolutely allowed to use synonyms, to paraphrase and to summarize what scholars do. All scholars do not have to use the exact phrase. If that were a requirement this encyclopedia would have failed eons ago. It is reasonable to use synonyms, to paraphrase and to summarize unless there is evidence that this activity is misrepresenting someone or some group of people. Once again we'd not be able to write an encyclopedia if this were not the case. You have to provide the evidence that this term is contested by a significant amount of scholars before we start playing fast and loose with language like "many scholars". This is exactly what Slimvirgin was asking for above.Griswaldo (talk) 16:59, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
If you're going to insist on using the word "many" in the lead, you'll need to explain exactly what else the Genesis creation narrative is considered other than a creation myth. Torchiest (talk | contribs) 17:02, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
What, you mean, like, canon? It's an idea, I suppose... Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:10, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I believe this is the link you were looking for. And if you feel the need to describe this subject as religious you are more than welcome to. I believe Griswaldo was looking more for something the other scholars would call this particular story. While, yes I know most scholars would agree it is a book in the Bible, this doesn't quite address how that differs from calling it a creation myth. Padillah (talk) 17:41, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Padilla, for thousands of years, there have been Jewish sholars, Christian scholars and Muslim scholars, among others. These schools of thought did not just suddenly dissapear from the face of the Earth, either. Since when exactly (on what calendar date) was the word "scholar" redefined so as to exclude everyone who belongs to a world religion? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:48, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
OK, find a significant number that don't believe Genesis is an Ancient Near East creation myth. The argument (from above) is to put the phrase "some scholars believe" as a qualifier for "Genesis to be an Ancient Near East creation myth". To warrent that qualification you'd have to provide that the phrase needs qualification - that there are a significant number of dissenting opinions that we need to qualify the statement. You offered to redefine it as canon but neglected to explain how this alleviates the argument that it is still regarded as an Ancient Near East creation myth by scholars as a general rule. Padillah (talk) 18:48, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
It does make sense to look at the background of sources. E.g. that a book about mythology very prominently mentions the fact that the story in question is a creation myth is much less significant than that two books on the bible do that. Similarly, when a book about the bible doesn't mention it, that has some significance, but much less so if the omission happens in a context of eulogy ("majestic festive overture to the whole Bible", "We sense God’s concern for man’s well-being as he assigns the plants for his food.") rather than scholarly treatment. Hans Adler 16:46, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. If, as SAE suggests, the New Bible Dictionary is "mainstream" I doubt that it is "mainstream" in the academy. I don't say this out of specific knowledge of this work, but the language Hans makes reference to does not fit within the community of non-religious scholarship on the Bible. Within what community is this a mainstream text SAE?Griswaldo (talk) 16:54, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
    • Hm, if this source indeed "serves those in the university, the church and the world by publishing resources that equip and encourage people to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord in all of Life", then the reliability is entirely irrelevant. This immediately renders the source unsuitable for the meta-context of the lead of this article. DVdm (talk) 17:44, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
DVdm, take that title up with WP:RS/N. I dare you. I already know what they're going to tell you, and it's the same thing I already told you above. "The source is reliable for purposes of establishing what a significant POV is." Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:53, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh, but there is nothing to be taken up with WP:RS/N. If this is really the case, then the source will not survive for what you would want it to survive. Trust me :-) DVdm (talk) 17:56, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
People appear to be talking at cross-purposes here, and some unnecessary friction seems to have been generated.
All reliable sources express points of view (or they'd not be worth mentioning). No source can be presumed to be neutral. Reliability and neutrality are different things. Neutrality is allowing every source to speak with due weight, without judging any of them. Neutrality is descriptive not evaluative.
Here is my neutral description of discussion above: some people think NBD is reliable, others don't; some people think the Oxford tertiary sources are neutral, others don't.
Here is my evaluative point of view: both the NBD and Oxford sources are reliable sources of their respective points of view; neither the NBD nor the Oxford sources are neutral—the NBD assumes (among other things) that God not only exists but "speaks" through the text of Genesis, while some of the Oxford sources assume (among other things) that God does not exist, or at least that he doesn't "speak" through the text of Genesis.
The NBD, like many, many other Christian and Jewish reliable academic resources does not use language the Oxford feels free to use, because that language clashes with the confessional POV of Judaism and Christianity. The Oxford sources are happy to adopt a secular POV that excludes religious PsOV. Unfortunately for us, Wikipedia is written from the neutral POV, which does not exclude any significant PsOV, and religious PsOV are trivially seen to be significant in Wiki articles on religion. That means, poor Wiki-editors like us keep on having to rework this same old issue with one-another.
The issue is not so very much a problem in this article, because, I would think, most confessing Jewish and Christian scholars actually agree with secular academics that early Genesis includes "symbolic narrative" owing some of it's character to the thought-world of its ANE neighbours. The term "creation myth" is very apt for discussion of the content of this article, even from the POV of religious writers.
I do hope people here will keep looking for ways to include all PsOV rather than establish which should be allowed. We are not here to tell readers what early Genesis is, but to tell them what the significant points of view on early Genesis are. Who are we to sit in judgment on reliable sources? Can't we trust the readers to do that? Alastair Haines (talk) 18:42, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I largely agree with this. Except that reliability is not the issue with the NBD, but rather unsuitability through bias. As a propaganda text it is clearly highly reliable, but unsuitable. Also, on the one hand it is 100% obvious --and documented-- that "the NBD assumes (among other things) that God not only exists but speaks through the text of Genesis", but on the other hand it is not at all obvious --and indeed irrelevant-- whether "some of the Oxford sources assume (among other things) that God does not exist". That is the principal difference. There is no symmetry here, not anywhere near. DVdm (talk) 18:57, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
furthermore, where does this source explicitly states that the Genesis creation myth is not a myth as defined by "a sacred narrative explaining how the world and man came to be in their present form."?—Preceding unsigned comment added by LexCorp (talkcontribs)
What I see being put forward is the question "Can we use the NBD as citation for claims in the form of 'Christians believe Eve was created from Adams rib'" as a citation that Christians believe a certain dogma I see no problem but I also see no real use because Christian beliefs are not a part of this article. It is concerned mainly with the account in Genesis and should nave little to do with belief systems. (talk) 19:15, 30 April 2010 (UTC)Full disclosure: this was me —Preceding unsigned comment added by Padillah (talkcontribs)
Yes, I agree. For that the NBD is highly reliable, but this is irrelevant in the context of this discussion. After all, this is not an article about an organisation promoting a religion. DVdm (talk) 19:30, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I think it would be relevant in this article to shed light, if sourced, on how various groups regard Genesis. That could include groups defined any way, but would mostly break down by religious leaning. That could cover any quality related to Genesis, but one quality would be its truth, falseness or related qualities, such as perhaps as whether it is regarded as an allegory. Bus stop (talk) 19:23, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
On the canonical question, does anyone know of any denomination or sect that has explicitly dropped Genesis from what it considers canon? If not, I think we can safely and accurately state that all these aforementioned groups currently agree on its canonicity. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 00:31, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Please stop fooling around

The primary reason the move request to Genesis creation narrative passed was because "myth" is a term that carries connotations of falsehood. Everyone here knows this. The dictionary supports it. Nevertheless, several editors are trying to use "creation myth" as the default description of the Genesis creation story, rather than begin with a simple and understandable description, followed by noting that it's called a "creation myth" by some scholars.

This is POV-pushing. It's also an example of bad faith. There were those who didn't want the word "myth" used at all in this article. There were those who insisted that it had to be in the title. Those of us in the middle found a compromise position where "myth" can -- and should be used -- but not in the title. The current push to position it as the defining characteristic of the account is nothing but an attempt to maneuver around to changing the title back to Genesis creation myth.

If this bad faith editing (WP:AGF means to assume good faith, unless proven otherwise; not to be blind) continues, I'm going to escalate this administratively. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:07, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Lisa stop accusing people of bad faith. I supported the name change but not mainly for the reasons you describe. I agree that the other meaning of myth causes problems in the title where there is way to contextualize and link "creation myth". However this is not a problem in the main text. I will also note that several of the name change supporters explicitly stated at various times that they fully support the use of "myth" in the content of the entry, so I'm not sure how accurate your representation is for those other than myself either. You appear to have reached an impasse in your argument above and are now threating administrative action. I don't see why that is necessary at all. Lets continue to reason and to provide evidence for our assertions and this will work itself out.Griswaldo (talk) 17:18, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
  • The standards for NPOV are different for a title than in the article itself: We normally use the common name, even if it is POV. And we avoid descriptive names that express a POV, even if it is the POV of the overwhelming majority. Things are different in the article itself.
  • It's not clear at all that the article was renamed because it was POV. Look at my !vote, for example.
  • We are writing an encyclopedia. Not a children's encyclopedia; if you want something like that you will be more happy at the Simple English Encyclopedia. We are writing the kind of encyclopedia whose articles start as follows:
    • The cat (Felis catus), also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felines and felids, is a small domesticated carnivorous mammal [...]
    • The dog[...] is a domesticated form of the wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora.
    • A pneumatic torque wrench is a planetary torque multiplier or a gearbox that is mated to a pneumatic air motor.
    • In cricket, other than Test matches, One Day International matches, Twenty20 matches and First class matches, other forms of the sport do exist.
    • Magnetite is a ferrimagnetic mineral with chemical formula Fe3O4, one of several iron oxides and a member of the spinel group.
The "hard" words are no problem because in the articles they are linked. I hope this helps. Hans Adler 17:25, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I want to second Lisa's sentiments. There's been a long debate on this, and we decided "narrative" was more NPOV/less fractious. If we switch back to "myth" it will only cause more consternation and debate. Let this one lie for at least a month or so before claiming that consensus has changed. NickCT (talk) 17:34, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Nobody is switching back to anything. We changed the title only and this discussion is not about the title ... but about the effort to push "creation myth" out of the introduction. When I was digging in the archives of the talk page recently I found this:
If people had just listened to the editor who proposed this earlier we'd never have been put through all this nonesense. What that editor, Dab so rightfully points out is that 1) the issue was about the title only and 2) it has nothing to do with POV and ideological battles. Once again I do not think I'm the only other person to share this opinion. Regards.Griswaldo (talk) 17:40, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
You are not the only one. My !vote was explicitly for the situation that currently exists: Title uses "narrative" and the text explains that "The Genesis creation narrative is an Ancient Near East creation myth" in the first sentence. I argued for removal from the title because the title doesn't provide enough context to defend itself from the colloquial use of "myth" whereas the lead and body have enough context to defend the use of the word. Padillah (talk) 17:49, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Again do not invoke the WP:NPOV it has nothing to do with this discussion. There is no mainstream or significant view among the reliable sources arguing that the Genesis creation myth is not a myth. Trying to portrait the RS situation as such is dishonest. The is no policy stating we should choose politically correct terminology over precise well supported terminology because it may give offense to the uneducated masses that fail to assign the correct implied meaning of a word when used in a particular context. Let's educate people not be their nannies.--LexCorp (talk) 17:45, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Griswaldo, there is no attempt to "push 'creation myth' out of the introduction". On the contrary, I've restored it to the lede a number of times so far, and I will continue to do so if people keep taking it out. Why are you representing it otherwise. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 18:15, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

For those keeping score, this interminable myth/not myth/kind-of-a-myth/some-say-its-a-myth debate is now about 370 pages long. It's grown about 50 pages just in this week, and just in this one article talkpage. Keep up the good work!
Meanwhile (I don't know if anyone else cares) but as it is now, the poor reader has to work tremendously hard to figure out what this article is trying to isn't until the fourth section that there is even the merest sketch of the story itself, after forcing the reader through the bewildering riddle which the opening sentence now is, with nothing but titillating clues to be found there if he were but clever enough to know he must click on the three or four wikilinks "helpfully" provided, only upon returning to find further several tricks, traps, and decoys about such things as "temporal subordinate clauses" and Philo and Matthew Henry blocking his path.
This isn't an encyclopedia article-it's more like a video game. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:18, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Building on the Lead

Bravo Hans, for coming up with the perfect lead sentence, [71]. Masterpieces are born out of much adversity, and I can tell that this one is going to be no exception. Let us now move on to writing the rest of the lead. Good job all for 3/4 of a day of work. SAE (talk) 18:50, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

I disagree. Hans' version states as a matter of encyclopedic fact that the account is a creation myth. It's okay to state that it's widely viewed that way, but it's POV to state it uncategorily. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 19:00, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm confused. Should we include in the lead that some people take it as the literal truth? Torchiest (talk | contribs) 19:11, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
@Lisa. It is by simple definition a creation "myth" and it is not POV to state facts.--LexCorp (talk) 19:16, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
@Lisa, you say "some view it that way", fine. What do others view it as? Padillah (talk) 19:29, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks DVdm for restoring it back to my original lead. You are confusing to say the least. But I appreciate the vote :) SAE (talk) 19:14, 30 April 2010 (UTC)


It was suggested that we use the following lede:

The Genesis creation narrative, found in the first two chapters of the biblical Book of Genesis, is distinguished from other Ancient Near East creation myths by its monotheistic outlook.

My problem with this, of course, is the word "other". But if we take it out, we lose any identification of the Genesis story as a creation myth, and that's just as wrong.

So I'm going to suggest the following:

The Genesis creation narrative, found in the first two chapters of the biblical Book of Genesis, is considered by many scholars to be one of several Ancient Near East creation myths, differing primarily in its monotheistic outlook.

This way, you get "creation myth" in the first sentence. I guarantee that those who want to portray "creation myth" as the unanimously accepted term will only keep this incessant battle going indefinitely. The compromise I'm suggesting is not the way I'd prefer the lede to read, but I'm willing to meet you halfway. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 19:31, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Who are the scholars that don't consider it a creation myth, and what do they consider it to be instead? Torchiest (talk | contribs) 19:34, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Quite. That's the question that isn't being answered.Griswaldo (talk) 19:37, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
No compromise. There is not Significant view among reliable sources that the Genesis creation myth is not a myth as defined by "a sacred narrative explaining how the world and man came to be in their present form." There is no POV conflict here. Lets move on.--LexCorp (talk) 19:40, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
@ Lex, you are so wrong, that you can't even see right or reason. SAE (talk) 19:43, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
err ok. Quite an insightful remark and reasoned very well and accompanied with plenty of RS supporting your cause.--LexCorp (talk) 19:53, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
and your own astounding amount of sources has simply overwhelmed me. hmmm... SAE (talk) 19:58, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I like "A myth is a sacred narrative explaining how the world and man came to be in their present form." -- Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth by Aland Dundes, 1984, p. 1 but any of the others above will do for me.--LexCorp (talk) 20:08, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik considered it an account of creation. He never used the term "creation myth", to the best of my knowledge. Rabbi Soloveitchick is one of the major Jewish theologian/scholars of the 20th century. Rabbi Yitzchak Etshalom ([72]) refers to it as a "creation narrative", "The First Creation Story" and "The Second Creation Story". These are serious scholars of the Bible.
LexCorp, you don't own this article. Stop acting as though you do. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 19:42, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Let me note as well that Rabbi Etshalom is already cited as a reliable source in this article. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 19:44, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Please AGF. You offered a compromise. My answer is no. Does Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik deny that the Genesis creation myth is a myth as defined by "a sacred narrative explaining how the world and man came to be in their present form."?--LexCorp (talk) 19:46, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I think the answer to that question would depend on how one defined "sacred," Lex. There was a secular dimension to Joseph B. Soloveitchik's work (embodied in the concept of Torah Umadda) that might not have allowed for much delving into "sacred" understandings of this, though I don't really know. My guess would be that there would be a fairly rational approach to something like this. Bus stop (talk) 19:50, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Sacred as in worthy of religious veneration (as in the bible is the word of God and thus sacred). Do people here speak some English different from mine?--LexCorp (talk) 20:01, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
LexCorp, casting aspersions on others ability to speak English is not going to help anything (It may, in fact be a second language for some here, we don't know).
Bus stop, it's not up to LexCorp to define sacred, it's been pretty well defined for over 400 years. Let's use the one from the dictionary for our purposes. Padillah (talk) 20:14, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Again AGF. For me it is a second language! That's why I ask. Maybe my understanding of "sacred" is wildly wrong.--LexCorp (talk) 20:26, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Frankly, I don't see much difference between the versions in this. The weasel words were removed before. The difference is just one of ordering, and perhaps some redundant elaboration, no? DVdm (talk) 19:47, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Lisa, it seems the problem is with the acceptance of the Genesis story as a myth. But the compromise put forward in the Title rename was that the body of the article had sufficient context to defend itself from the colloquial use of the word. So let's use that rather than continuing to dodge the word altogether. How about

The Genesis creation narrative, is a biblical description of how the world and man came to be in their present form. Found in the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis, is distinguished from other Ancient Near East creation myths by its monotheistic outlook. As with other technical myths there is no consensus on the veracity behind the narrative with several prominent scholars holding to a literal interpretation while others recognize the story as fictional and even an allegory to...

Padillah (talk) 20:09, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

"there is no consensus on the veracity behind the narrative with several prominent scholars holding to a literal interpretation" – This is outrageous creationist POV pushing. Hans Adler 21:04, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
In response to the question, "Who are the scholars that don't consider it a creation myth..." For example, John S. Feinberg (chair of the Department of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), in No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God", p. 575 - "Moreover, in light of contemporary attitudes that link myth with fairy tales and the imaginary, we should demur on labeling Genesis 1-2 myth." In response to the question, "...and what do they consider it to be instead?" they consider it to be historical narrative. For example, Steven W. Boyd (specialist in biblical Hebrew, Semitic Languages and Old Testament Studies) created a logistic regression model to calculate the probability that a particular Hebrew text is a narrative. He concluded that "For Genesis 1:1–2:3, this probability is between 0.999942 and 0.999987 at a 99.5% confidence level." (in "Statistical Determination of Genre in Biblical Hebrew: Evidence for an Historical Reading of Genesis 1:1-2:3") In response to the apparent request to ignore reliable sources from evangelical theologians, that is utter nonsense. They are absolutely in a position to comment on the significance and meaning of biblical texts. They don't stand alone and there should be secular POV as well, but it would be unconscionable not to let evangelicals weigh in. Ἀλήθεια 20:28, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Boyd is not a reliable source, and his paper is not published by any reliable publisher - it's self-published YEC nonsense. But quite apart from that, he only distinguishes between narrative text and poetry in his study. Thus, it's only an argument on the form, not on the content. Myths can be either poetic or narrative, of course. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:20, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Is anyone willing to go dig up the "note" that was attached to the word myth? Would it be an acceptable compromise to keep the unqualified term "creation myth" in the first two sentences, but with the footnote explaining the term? Ἀλήθεια 20:31, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
It is funny that John S. Feinberg acknowledges PC reasons to not refer to the GS as myth. Instead of lecturing his students he chooses to work with their ignorance. Quite a Professor if you ask me. Anyway I digress, I will support bringing back the footnote.--LexCorp (talk) 20:44, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
It is also funny how your immediate response is a classic logical fallacy. Anyway, I anticipated your scorn for this particular source, and offer in addition Nahum M. Sarna (Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University), who contrasts Genesis 1:1–2:3 to the Babylonian creation account, Enuma Elish, and other extra-Biblical versions of creation: "The outstanding peculiarity of the biblical account is the complete absence of mythology in the classic pagan sense of the term." (in Understanding Genesis) Ἀλήθεια 20:53, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't like the note at all--it sits like a distracting wart on the very first line of the article, it's a patronizing "disclaimer" spoon fed to readers, and we have a wl to myth that works perfectly well-in fact, that's exactly what wikilinks are designed for. I don't know why we need to show so little faith in our own readers' reading skills--if Britannica doesn't feel the need to pander, hand-holding its readers and shielding their eyes from perfectly normal words, why do we? Professor marginalia (talk) 21:09, 30 April 2010 (UTC)--(adding: The "note" as featured in earlier versions.) Professor marginalia (talk) 21:33, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
It was my hope that my previous comment could be taken as an attack to the PC argument as well as the intellectual integrity of John S. Feinberg. Seem that I failed I further point to all this Talk Page for reasons as to why the PC argument is intellectually wrong unless your stated aim is to redefine "myth". At least his moral integrity is intact as he comes clean with the real reason. Thus no Ad hominem fallacy from me. Nahum M. Sarna is using the special pleading fallacy to try to distance the GS from all other creation stories. This may fool a theist but to me it is crystal clear what he is doing. What is it in the "mythology in the classic pagan sense of the term" that is not in the GS other than polytheism?. Then again he does not explicitly states GS not to be a myth, just that it is a peculiar one precisely because monotheism. A sentence of the lead already mentions this because it is the only relevant distinction.--LexCorp (talk) 21:28, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
First, "Dora Golding Professor of..." is a title. Nahum M. Sarna is the scholar, and "Nahum" is a male name, making all of your "she" references confusing. Second, I concede that you did not specifically attack Feinberg, but you acknowledged that you hoped to attack his intellectual integrity. On what basis? Do you deny "contemporary attitudes that link myth with fairy tales and the imaginary"? I'm not suggesting you have to agree with his reasoning, but you have to acknowledge his POV. Ἀλήθεια 21:42, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I stand corrected. It is good to learn new things.--LexCorp (talk) 21:46, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
But I do acknowledge "contemporary attitudes that link myth with fairy tales and the imaginary" that is why someone in an education role should strive to correct that from their position of authority in these matters. John S. Feinberg chooses not to do so. To me (and this is a personal opinion no relevant to this discussion) a professor that chooses not to educate his student/reader audience loses intellectual integrity and professionalism (I can even speculate that he does so to sell more books whether by choice or pressure by publishers). The only mitigating factor really is that in my experience this now is common among all subjects and academic levels. That's is why Wikipedia is such an important education toll IMHO.--LexCorp (talk) 21:54, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Dumbing down Wikipedia into a Conservapedia?

Continued quarreling demonstrates lack of consensus for the latest doublespeak move from "Genesis creation myth" to "Genesis creation narrative". There's no empirical evidence to support the condescending supposition that average Wikipedia users won't understand myth's denotations and connotations. The "Creation myths" category currently contains 53 pages, only one of which is fatuously entitled a "creation narrative". Keahapana (talk) 01:35, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Your own comments are sufficiently condescending. Conservapedia probably asserts that Genesis is literally true. This one doesn't. Keeping this article's title neutral is not "dumbing down", it's policy. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:19, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
We have moved on. The creationist POV pushing is currently for relativising the characterisation of the story as a creation myth by text that suggests there is no academic consensus for doing so. Some editors are already arguing as if the discussion was about purging the word from the lead entirely, based on its being used as a technical term. If they get the space for their nonsensical arguments, then surely there must be space for rebuttals, even if they are not of the highest quality possible. Hans Adler 08:41, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
It is a false dichotomy to state that the Genesis creation story cannot be at the same time a myth and literally true. Again "myth" correct definition as it applies in the context of this article is a "sacred narrative explaining how the world and man came to be in their present form". There is nothing in this definition that suggest that the myth is not historical/allegorical/the true word from God/true/false or any other interpretation or POV out there. The "myth" definition in itself is not a POV it is a simple definition describing the subject. It is obvious to anyone that the title change is a compromise to appease faith-based sensitivities thus it reflects a preference for political correctness over encyclopedic standards by the editorial body of this article.@Keahapana. So in essence the answer to your question is YES this change is dumbing down Wikipedia.--LexCorp (talk) 09:00, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree that it is indeed dumbing down how WP looks from a great distance - the distance from where only the article titles can be read. After all, the (now more or less stable) lead clearly states that the Genesis creation "narrative" is indeed a creation myth. This is truly bizarre :-| DVdm (talk) 09:09, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
It is not bizarre at all. The title is a compromise based on WP:UCN. In scholarship there are many different names used for this Biblical myth. The most common by far are "Genesis creation story" and "Biblical creation story". As you all know "narrative" and "story" are synonyms. I would prefer "story" but that's why this is a compromise. Of course if your misunderstandings were true we would look dumb, and unfortunately I can't control the ignorance of others. I do ask one thing however. I ask it a lot but I wont stop. Can we please leave this culture wars rhetoric at the door? Can we stop making this about a battle with Christians, or comparing Wikipedia to conservapedia, etc. etc. This is all ridiculously unhelpful. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 10:42, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes, it's bizarre that the current "Genesis creation narrative" nonce title doesn't call a myth a myth. And yes, both "creation story" and "creation narrative" are common Christian euphemisms for "creation myth" in the Bible. However, the present discussion concerns Wikipedia title metastructure. Both creation story and creation narrative redirect to the normative creation myth. I could be wrong, but in the faith-based Conservapedia, it might be acceptable to suggest that one religion has a cosmogonic "narrative" while all others have "myths". In the reality-based Wikipedia, it smacks of cultural bias and religious intolerance. Keahapana (talk) 20:06, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

"Common Christian euphemisms"? Can you back that up with some empirical evidence? What't the phrase ... put up or ... ? Personal opinions and knee jerk reactions are not of interest to this discussion. Also, naming conventions like WP:UCN are mainly based on external real world usage and not taxonomies native to Wikipedia. Regards.Griswaldo (talk) 22:18, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Seems obvious, but here's a quick Google Test. The first 10 ghits for "genesis creation story" comprise 3 secular websites (this WP article, Australia Yahoo Answers, Religious Tolerance twice), 1 mixed category (42 Videos), and these 5 self-described sites:

  • Biologos Forum "a group of Christians"
  • Energion "owned by Henry Neufeld, president of Pacesetters Bible School"
  • Ancient Days "based on the belief that the Bible is God's Word"
  • John Mark Ministries "Thinking Maturely about the Christian Faith"
  • Biblestudies Suite101 "active member of a non-denominational Christian church"

Also, thanks for again citing "Common names", which "Deciding an article title" lists as "Recognizable", the first of five ideal title criteria. I was referring to the fifth: "Consistent – Using names and terms that follow the same pattern as those of other similar articles." Best wishes, Keahapana (talk) 00:47, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Except there are no similar articles with similar names. The similar articles have names like Enûma Eliš and Völuspá. The articles with "creation myth" in the name are those that are constructed in the following manner -- "name of civilization" + "creation myth". As I've stated before I would not have opposed something like Judeo-Christian creation myth. Anyway that argument fails by simply not reflecting reality. Pasting a couple of anecdotes does not amount to empirical evidence either, especially when its from Google proper. What percentage of use falls along those lines? You will also find "creation story" used in peer reviewed journals in the fields of history, sociology, etc. What is the situation within scholarship? Someone could easily counter your argument with another equally unproductive one -- that "myth" is an anti-theist euphemism for "all religious stories because they are not true". We are thankfully not guided by either conservative Christian usages of "creation story" or hardcore atheist usages of "myth". By the way I hope you see the irony in the similarity between your argument and those of the people who claim that we can't use "myth" precisely because of how that latter minority I mentioned above likes to use it. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 02:36, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes, that's the sixth time you've used these Enûma Eliš and Völuspá examples to argue that most articles in the "Creation myths" category don't have similar "m-word" titles, which is true. After looking them up, I was surprised to learn they both have "creation myth" titled redirects: Babylonian creation myth > Enûma Eliš and Norse creation myth > Völuspá. Curious about similar redirect pages, I tried some WP searches (these are results for "Everything", but you might be able to refine them with "Advanced" settings). "Results 1 - 20 of 4,066 for creation myth" include 16 titles:

"Results 1 - 20 of 2,977 for creation narrative" include 4 titles:

These two section titles made me wonder how frequently "creation narrative" specifically occurs in Biblical contexts, so I Googled for the respective phrases with/without "Bible" and "Genesis":

  • "creation myth" 958
  • "creation myth" –bible 630
  • "creation myth" –genesis 584
  • "creation narrative" 144
  • "creation narrative" –bible 46
  • "creation narrative" –genesis 34

Again, these are admittedly "anecdotal" preliminary results. I'm not nearly as familiar with this Talk page as you (4th most frequent user according to WikiChecker, congratulations), so I'll leave determining the "empirical" facts up to your expertise. Within the context of WP articles, is "creation narrative" predominantly a Christianity-specific usage? Could this explain why "Genesis creation narrative" remains a nonce title? Best wishes, Keahapana (talk) 20:03, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Creation narrative" is not common on wikipedia and I expect it is very uncommon out there in popular culture. In scholarship, and in reference to this subject matter, it appears about as often as "creation myth". I highly doubt that it is preferred by Christian sources. Christian sources prefer simply "creation account" or "account of creation". As I stated already "creation story" is most common in scholarship and is a synonym of the current title. The stats you have brought forth regarding naming conventions here at Wikipedia including redirects is interesting but once again, let me beat the dead horse, you are not comparing things of the same kind. You have also clearly missed some redirects like Judeo-Christian creation myth which also redirects here. Do you notice how all the articles, like this one, that are actually about a specific text have redirects like Babylonian creation myth, but titles that simple refer to narratives without making any direct claims to genre. If you don't want to recognize the difference then we might as well stop the conversation. Oh and I fail to understand what you're trying to say regarding my usage statistics and this page. All the best.Griswaldo (talk) 21:17, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Also I note that you've dropped your argument concerning popular usage of "creation story" amongst conservative Christians. You do see how its pretty much identical to other arguments here about how we can't use "myth" at all because some people are using it specifically to mean "false story"? Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 21:20, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, I thought it was clear ("anecdotal" … "results 1-20") that these data are quick and dirty and not a complete list of anything. They provide evidence supporting the original suggestion that "creation narrative" and "story" usages frequently have Christian subtexts. I wouldn't drop it without some convincing evidence to the contrary. My intention was to make what you call "same kind" comparisons, one "creation narrative" title and many "creation myth" titles. In my understanding, the onomastic difference between articles like Babylonian creation myth and Adam and Eve is general group vs. specific phrase. The former titles need to include a category while the latter do not (but may have "… creation myth" redirects). Can we agree that "creation myth" generally refers to any culture or religion while "creation narrative" disproportionately refers to Christianity? It's OK with me if you want to stop this conversation. Best wishes. Keahapana (talk) 23:22, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

This is a WP:FRINGE disaster

I came here after seeing the discussion at Jimbo's talk page and I am disgusted. Are we really not only arguing on the obvious fact that the Genesis is a myth, but even renaming the article to hide this fact? Shame. And also, I am appalled at the amateurish way both camps debated about sources.

Let me detail. Slimvirgin shot herself in the foot in asking for "three academics": you can find three reliable academics supporting everything, no matter how crazy. In the fields of hard sciences we have Brian Josephson and Kary Mullis, both Nobel prizes, one believing in telepathy, another believing AIDS does not exist. The fact that we can quote Nobel prizes on these subjects doesn't mean telepathy or AIDS denialism are not WP:FRINGE theories. Because, what is important in depicting such subjects is what scientific consensus agrees. And such consensus is that telepathy doesn't exist and AIDS exists.

The other camp then supported some scholarly sources that explicily deny that the Genesis is a myth. Now, we have two problems with such sources. One is that they are individual authors opinions, and as such they do not define scientific consensus, so we do not solve WP:FRINGE issues. The other problem is that such opinions go mostly around the definition of the word "myth", but they do not solve the issue that seems creeping in the whole discussion, that is that using "myth" underlies somehow, semantically, that it is a false story, and there is a camp which doesn't like that.

Well, the problem is easily solved in my opinion. If we want to know if Genesis is a myth or not in the meaning of it being a true account or not of the origin of the Universe, we do not have to look at bibliologists or theologians. We already know that scientific consensus on the subject is pretty much different from the Genesis account: see big bang theory, history of the Solar System etc. Because to say if the Genesis account is the correct description of the origin of the world is a cosmological question, nothing else, and it has to be solved by cosmological scientific consensus.

Note that this has nothing to do with what is true, but with what we should present. And currently the article massively violates WP:FRINGE. This paragraph:

Scholars debate how to view and understand these early chapters in Genesis. A non-literal and non-historical reading of Genesis can have negative implications for an understanding of the New Testament, because the New Testament refers to Adam and Eve as literal historical characters (for example in Matthew 19:4).[specify] On the other hand, a literal reading of these chapters remains a primary reason for much of the opposition to the whole idea of evolution.[52]

is horrendous. 99.999% of cosmologists do not debate on how to view these early chapters. There is complete consensus on them being fictional. To give the impression that the scientific community at large debates on such a subject is a massive violation of WP:FRINGE. Of course, then, there is the issue of how theologians debate that -but the falsehood or not of Genesis is a problem of cosmology, and has to be solved by the consensus in cosmology.

That settled, we can now discuss if "myth" is the less or more correct word (in my opinion it is, also for consistency with other creation myths: but it is entirely possible that the consensus of the literature on the subject disagrees). --Cyclopiatalk 14:46, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

I asked for three academic sources currently working in mainstream universities who explicitly say this is not a creation myth. I don't think I shot myself in the foot, because so far no one has supplied even one.
As for the section you quote, it's not referring to scientists, but to the kinds of scholars who study this (theologians presumably). Some in-text attribution would be helpful, as in "scholars such as A and B." SlimVirgin talk contribs 14:59, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Cyclopedia I don't disagree with any of this except I think perhaps you're making a mountain out of a mole hill. The quoted text would be fine with proper attribution - the debate is a theological one, so yes simply saying "scholars" is not appropriate. In general these Biblical passages have next to nothing to do with the modern science of cosmology. No secular scholar actually interested in this myth from a scholarly point of view could care less about whether or not they are cosmologically true. The point here is that who would assume that "scholars" included cosmologists? Why on earth would anyone assume that? Cosmologists don't concern themselves with the Biblical creation story do they? Other scholars do.Griswaldo (talk) 15:05, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, whether or not this is a myth has nothing at all to do with "scientific consensus." That has nothing to do with the "debate." The consensus is among mythologists, folklorists and anthropologists who study culture, not astrophysicists looking at the CMB or the Doppler effect. Professor marginalia (talk) 15:30, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Note how the OP is using "myth" as an equivalent to "fairy tale". That's POV-pushing, and it's the reason "myth" was replaced with a neutral term. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:48, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes but I note also that the poster acknowledges the difference and makes it clear that he's discussing that meaning of myth. Why one would want to do so in relation to this entry is a mystery (to me and others) but I don't think there is any hidden POV pushing going on here.Griswaldo (talk) 15:54, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
No, it's not hidden, it's very much out in the open. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:10, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Calling a spade a spade is POV? Should we rename September 11th Attacks to September 11th Narrative as well? Badger Drink (talk) 18:56, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Badger, surely you are confused. You don't mean to be comparing something that nobody disagrees on (that Sept. 11 were attacks) to something that all of history until that last hundred years, plus at least a billion people in the world still today agree on, (that Genesis is not a Creation myth). Surely that isn't what you meant to say? ... Cheers, SAE (talk) 19:10, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Again false dichotomy. The billion people in the world that do presumably believe the GS is not a myth in the sense of a fairy tale will no doubt believe (and will greatly defend) that instead it is a "a sacred narrative explaining how the world and man came to be in their present form." and thus a myth.--LexCorp (talk) 19:42, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
"All of history until that last hundred years"? Are you for real? Your worldview is ridiculously myopic, to say the least. What is it about Genesis - besides its place in your own heart, that separates it from all these other mythical accounts of creation? Badger Drink (talk) 03:48, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
There are countless millions who believe that Genesis is "real" in some sense, and a few scholars who don't. So which group is the "fringe"? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:09, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia policy is to reflect the views of experts. In that sense the opinion of the billion is not even WP:fringe but more like irrelevant. Pretty much like the Intelligent Design status among the scientific community which consider it to be pseudoscience and a large percentage of the USA population which consider it true or at least at par with evolution. Wikipedia as a reputable encyclopedia reflects the view of the expert majority mentioning, when WP:weight requires it, all other minority views from the rest of the experts and finally mentioning and qualifying WP:fringe views when notable.--LexCorp (talk) 15:48, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
The policy of "the encyclopedia anyone can edit" is "to reflect the views of experts"? Can you say "oxymoron"? :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:54, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
The jury is still out as to the viability of the project (but we can all agree that it is a very popular project for now). You can count me in the skeptic side more so when confronted with problems like the one we are arguing about in this very talk page.--LexCorp (talk) 16:00, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes Bugs, you nailed it on the head. "If only the hoi polloi would shove off and go back to letting us tell them what to think." Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 16:05, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Cyclopedia, thank-you for taking the time to give your thoughts, there are many things here for us to think about. However, there are three problem areas that I see with your comment:
(1) You over-state your case and use a faulty comparison. You say that (A) just because you can find a reliable source that denies the existence of Aids that constitutes wp:fringe, and (B) you can also find reliable sources that do not call Genesus a myth, therefore, (C) all reliable source that do not see Genesis as a myth must be wp:fringe. But, this type of faulty reasoning can be used to deny anything -- ie. just replace "(B) Creation Myth," for "(B) Apples are fruit," and your (C) will be that apples are not fruit. The existence of fringe sources in other, unrelated topics, mean absolutely nothing here. Each topic with its source needs to be viewed individually. You example of one Aids denier is a faulty comparison to a belief held to by at least 1 billion people. It may contradict science, yes, but if it is held by that many people, calling it wp:fringe is far overstating a case. Let's look: Fringe = "ideas that depart significantly from the prevailing or mainstream view." Mainstream view = "generally, the common current of thought of the majority," and "includes all popular culture". Thus you are incorrect in claiming wp:fringe. Whatever may be the problem here, an infraction against fringe is not the issue. This leads to the second major problem with your comment.
(2) You misdiagnose the current problem/discussion currently taking place over this article. If wp:fringe is not the main issue, then what is/are? There are two, closely related. First, we have a (overall secondary) concern that has created much more squabble than it's worth (although it is important): the lead sentence. There are a couple (several?) pov's that want their pov to construct the lead sentence, without recognized other significant pov's . Second, (even more important, although less talked about than the lead sentence, but related to it) is how are we going to deal with the main pov's in the body of the article? For example, you quote a sentence from the body of article and conclude that it is "horrendous" and a "massive violation of WP:FRINGE." That is incorrect. This sentence is the pov of a significant body of reliable sources, and it needs to have extensive coverage in this article. There should be no impression given (as you say this article does) that the scientific community debates it's own pov -- and I agree (although again, I believe you have overstated this as being a major problem in this article.) However, in the religious community, this sentence is valid (maybe we need to make this more clear, who's pov it is.)
(3) You do not understand the purpose of this article Overall you seem to want to set this article up as a science vs. creationism debate, and have the scientific community trump the religious. But that is not the purpose of this article -- there are plenty of articles that do that already, and they have their place. Rather this article's purpose is to examine the text of Genesis 1-2 exegetically. It deals more with the literary construction of the text, rather than its historicity. That needs to be the primary focus, or else all we have is an article that duplicates Young Earth creationism and the rest. Therefore for you to call editors to leave out reliable religious sources, who are the main contributors in the field of literary analysis in Genesis 1-2, would itself lead to the very problem that you begin with, WP:FRINGE. SAE (talk) 15:51, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Comment Can we stop this unhelpful commentary now (and I mean all of it ... and yes I'm a contributer to that too). Lets use the talk page to discuss things actually relevant to improving the entry. OK?Griswaldo (talk) 20:16, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

  • Genesis is a myth - this is not something which should be debated, it's something true, in the same sense that the theory of evolution is true, and the same sense that it's a fact that HIV causes AIDS. At the moment, this article is suggesting that the "creationist" interpretation and the "metaphorical interpretation" are two equally valid theological interpretations of the narrative. This is obviously nonsense. The "creationist" interpretation of the myth is theologically a fringe theory, and any respectable academic theologian or anthropologist will point out the similarities between Genesis and other creation myths. We need to move all the material concerning creationism into a subsection, in the same way that AIDS denial is in a subsection of the AIDS article, so it is clear that the creationist interpretation is not part of the mainstream interpretation. Regards. Claritas (talk) 15:58, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
    • "Narrative" is true, it's factual, it's neutral-point-of-view. "Myth" is an opinion held by a few so-called scholars who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:21, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
You're just being anti-academic. Your "so-called scholars" include the likes of Claude Lévi-Strauss and other important anthropologists and theologians. The use of the word "myth" points out the fact that the story is symbolic, whereas "narrative" implies nothing of the sort. Wikipedia shouldn't avoid offending people if by doing so it compromises the academic worth of its contents. Claritas (talk) 20:16, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Asserting that it's symbolic is POV-pushing. "Narrative" is neutral. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:43, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
This is entirely my point - it's not POV to say that Genesis is symbolic. It's true. The dissent among academic circles is so small as to make opposition to the idea that Genesis is symbolic come under WP:FRINGE. If you don't like facts, you can believe things which are wrong, but you can't censor Wikipedia because of it. Claritas (talk) 21:02, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Being "true" is not wikipedia policy. Being neutral is. And the article is not censored. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:41, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Comment Claritas, as far as the title goes "Genesis creation myth" fails based purely on WP:UCN. It is not commonly used in scholarship. The current title is about on par in terms of usage, but it has the advantage of at least being a direct synonym of the clear winners based on usage (and my top choices personally) -- Genesis creation story and Biblical creation story. It is not pro-academic to make arguments that do not reflect academic usage. Now please understand this is the title only that I'm referring to, which is supposed to reflect common names (again see WP:UCN). Within the content of the article "creationism" and academic views that treat this as a myth should not be treated as equal. I agree wholeheartedly. Despite the above mentioned common use in naming this narrative it is a fringe view not to consider this a myth. If you want to discuss how we should move forward to ensure that the entry reflects scholarship better I'm all for it. If you want to argue about the title endlessly based on false assumptions I think you should reread my last edit summary. Enough is enough.Griswaldo (talk) 22:02, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't really have a problem with the title as such, although I wasn't so confident about the validity of the arguments used (certainly "Genesis Creation myth" is used in theological circles a fair bit). My real concern is the section "Question of genre". In my mind, this article currently puts forward the idea that the creationist interpretation of it as a historical text is not a WP:FRINGE theory by discussing it seriously and comparing it to the non-literal reading. This section should not even mention literal readings, because a literal reading of Genesis is essentially theological incorrect (it's like AIDS denialism). The "Question of genre" section should either be completely removed or edited so that it is clear that all standard interpretations understand Genesis as both symbolic and metaphorical. I'm not going to be bold, because it would probably upset certain editors. I don't think any scholars of mythology would even suggest that it was meant to be studied as some sort of historical narrative. Also, treating Genesis as something which could be a historical narrative is going to be problematic, because then we have to point out how incorrect it is as a historical narrative concerning anything. Claritas (talk) 07:10, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
OK, Claritas, so according to you, the current and historic position of most Christian Churches on their canon finalized at Nicea, is akin to "AIDS denialism" and the other things you compared it to, because that is the point-of-view found in your sources. Your understanding of the concept of "neutrality" is positively utopian. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 11:08, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Can anyone see how transparently political this is becoming? According to this hypothesis, several nations that have Christianity or Islam as their state religion are committed to doctrines that are pure myth. There are other states with no state religion, or even with doctrines explicitly opposed to these, who would just love to have it endorsed by a "neutral" source like wikipedia that these states practice "myth" and "denialism" as their official doctrine. That is why the struggle for FAIR neutrality must and will continue. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 11:13, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Til Eulenspiegel, I challenge you to find me one scholar of mythology who believes that the creationist interpretation is mainstream. You seem not to understand that "myth" is not being used as a derogatory term here, simply as an indication that the story is symbolic, not factual. Neutrality for you seems to mean suppression of the facts for the sake of political correctness. Claritas (talk) 11:20, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Til Eulenspiegel and Baseball Bugs: The point is very simple. I reinstate it again (I admit my first post was confusing). If you want to know what is the scientific consensus on any history of creation (being it the Genesis, the Popol Vuh or whatever you prefer) you don't have to ask to the billions who believe it. You don't have to ask to theologians. You have to ask to cosmologists. That's because they are the academic community which studies with objective tools this kind of problems. And current cosmology is 99.999% agreeing that what happens in the Genesis or whatever else religious book is, from a literal point of view, false. Again, you can find RS for AIDS denialism, you can find even RS for astrology and creationism if you like. This doesn't mean, again, they're not fringe views. If you don't want Genesis depicted as a myth, you don't have to argue here. You go to physics conferences, publish scientific papers and convince the scientifical community at large that the world has been created just like the Genesis (or Popol Vuh, or Quran, or whatever you prefer) says. Then you can come back with solid arguments. --Cyclopiatalk 18:44, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Cyclopedia -- the problem here is the usage of the term "myth". I tried to correct the WP guidelines regarding this term to indicate that it is a symbolic narrative. Of COURSE it isn't literally true. But saying what it is not is not to say what it is. And for that we have the WP guidelines regarding the term "myth" to blame. It's a simple fix: a myth is a symbolic narrative. Apollo didn't REALLY ride around in heavenly chariots, but the sun got along just fine anyway.
In any case to use "myth" with the meaning of "not literally true" is fine, but incomplete. Did God literally create the world in six days? You MIGHT find one or perhaps two editors here who hold that point of view, and they should be here along with the rest of us. But I think you are missing the point of the argument that brought us here.
There were two problems. 1) the term "myth" was not properly defined in the guidelines, and 2) even if it had been, the fact that not everyone takes this narrative as a myth makes the term a poor choice for the title.
Genesis is alternatively seen by notable sources as "myth" as well as "demythologizing polemic" as well as "false science" as well as "allegory" as well as "morality tale," etc. Genesis creation myth is no more useful a title for this article than would be Genesis creation false science or Genesis creation polemic or Genesis creation allegory or Genesis creation morality tale.
The best term is simply a "narrative" -- a term which includes and allows all of these views. And yes, it also allows those sources which have taken it to be literal (either literally true or literally false). But most sources do NOT take it literally (either true or false), but rather symbolically.
Joseph Campbell once said that to fail to see past the symbols is to sit at a fine restaurant and eat the menu. While the menu may LOOK nice, it's not very filling.
Yes, Genesis is not LITERALLY TRUE. But that's entirely beside the point. You're still chewing on the menu. Let's get on to the main course.EGMichaels (talk) 19:05, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Is that menu as in "the dishes available for or served at a meal; also : the meal itself"? Because, if it is, I bet you end up more that full. Every time someone tolerates factual relativism a fairy/cat/child dies. Sorry just joking. I could not resist.--LexCorp (talk) 19:18, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree, EGMicheales. In fact, it's not the title that bothers me more. It's the content, see the paragraph I quoted in my first post. The content makes it appear like all interpretations are equal, while they're obviously not. --Cyclopiatalk 19:30, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Then clearly identify a tangible problem with the content and propose a tangible solution to that problem. What bothers me ... and a great number of other editors who are hoping we can go back to actual work ... is all this nonsense discussion of issues that have no direct bearing on the actual entry. Let's talk about the content in entry and how you propose to fix the many things you clearly think are broken.Griswaldo (talk) 21:24, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I identified it above: To give the impression that the scientific community at large debates on such a subject is a massive violation of WP:FRINGE. . That is what the article does currently, see the example section I quoted. --Cyclopiatalk 22:28, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
No such impression is given in the article anywhere, whatsoever. When referring to "scholars" in an article about a religious narrative nobody should be assuming that this includes scientists. And indeed no one would assume so. I remain perplexed by why you are assuming so.Griswaldo (talk) 11:48, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Remove POV-tag?

By the way, can we remove the POV-tag from the article? It looks like we have something stable. DVdm (talk) 09:21, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

There seems to be one editor supporting the tag and s/he added it in the first place. Til let's discuss the need for this tag here.Griswaldo (talk) 10:50, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, It looks like we still have one pov-pusher here (Til Eulenspiegel), so perhaps we should leave his POV-tag until he settles down. DVdm (talk) 10:52, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Til lets discuss the version you like best on the talk page as well. Right now it appears to be only you and Lisa who prefer her version of the lead. You cannot force this lead down everyone else's throats when there are just two of you. Lets discuss the matter on the talk page.Griswaldo (talk) 10:54, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Point of order: DVdm, please consider addressing text rather than editors in Article talk space. Problems with conduct of individuals can be handled at User talk space. For every POV action there is an equal and opposite POV censorship. Neutrality renders such conflict unneccesary. Peace. Alastair Haines (talk) 04:05, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned, OK. Everything looked quiet and peaceful now, but see below. DVdm (talk) 12:03, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
He he, I know what you mean. I could be wrong, but I think people are making more progress than it might seem. Can't make an omlette without breaking eggs they say, but I agree with you, we don't want any broken bones here. ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 15:11, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Is anyone here interested in a 'compromise way forward'?

Frankly, I am a little perplexed. After yesterday, now I am not sure all parties here are even "interested" in finding a compromise.

Here are some excerpts I have reformatted to show the latest attempt, and the results (or frustrating lack of same).

Scene 1 - from Jimbo Wales' talkpage:

  • Griswaldo: [...] We should not be saying "many scholars ..." when referring to a position that is very rarely challenged by anyone. This gives off a false impression and hurts our credibility. If anything I could see an argument for including the opposing position with the disclaimer, "some Christian theologians ..." or something of that nature. [...] Griswaldo (talk) 13:37, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Jimbo: [...] he did meet the objection quite persuasively. Can he produce 3 academics who are currently employed as academics who take a particular position? Yes, he can. Not only that, but they didn't just say something ambiguous and in passing but addressed the question head-on.
I think your tentative proposal here for a compromise way forward sounds promising. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:56, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Me: After re-reading all the above carefully, I caught that Griswaldo suggested "some Christian theologians" and Jimbo said it looked promising as a tentative compromise way forward. So just being very bold here, I'm going to try that out and see how it goes... Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:45, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Whoops, I didn't realize it was edit-protected... "Never mind!" Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:46, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
  • DVdm: No problem. You can be bold on the talk page. DVdm (talk) 17:47, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Scene 2 - DVdm's talkpage:

  • Okay, how about if I propose something like "Apart from some Christian theologians, most current scholars consider it to be a creation myth [See #questions of genre below]" - as a possibly promising compromise ... ? Could you live with that? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:03, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Komaan Til, niet hier. Ik bedoelde ginder. DVdm (talk) 18:09, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
  • You know I don't speak Dutch, right? But I was able to translate your reply with the assistance of Google translate. Just wanted to sound you out about it first, old boy. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:29, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Didn't know. Thought you were Dutch. I vaguely recall you correcting an edit you made when not logged on, and replacing the (Netherlands based) IP with your name. Could have been someone else. It was a while ago. Sorry. DVdm (talk) 19:06, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
  • No prob, but no, never been to the Netherlands yet... So what do you think of the proposed compromise wording? Or would you tweak it? btw nice to see on this page that you like Frank Zappa, I have also been a fan of his... Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:07, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Sorry, but I'm really not interested in this over here. Better take it thataway. DVdm (talk) 22:09, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Til Eulenspiegel (talkcontribs)

There's been plenty enough edit warring already. I don't recommend that anyone try to be bold here--hash it out here first. The edit warring has got to stop. Professor marginalia (talk) 13:53, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I have no problem in summarizing the whole section 4 of the article into the lead. In fact the lead is meant to do so. But pointing out the Cristian theology interpretation in the sentence that defines the subject is against WP:Weight and WP:Lead. Again that Genesis creation myth is a myth (in the sense of sacred narrative) is not a POV but a simple definition. If Til can admit that then I see no problem because hopefully the summary of section 4 will point out the Cristian theologians position as well as all others for that matter.--LexCorp (talk) 14:08, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
The truth is that it is not a "simple definition", it is a POV that numerous sources in the field do not share, as has been adequately demonstrated. That is precisely what this is all about. If it were a simple definition and not a POV, there would be no disagreement among sources. It is a POV definition first proposed, quite controversially, by Rudolf Bultman, but it is anything BUT a "simple definition." Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:13, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
No. Rudolf Bultman's POV was that a priori analysis of the text was necessary to determine the true message of God by evaluating which parts were true and which allegorical. Not that the whole was necessarily allegorical or untrue. Then again he was primarily concerned with the New Testament. Yet all this is irrelevant because he did not invent the word 'Myth' nor was he authority to redefine it. As I have already explained multiple times the Genesis creation myth could be the literary true story, line by line, of the actual events of the creation of Earth and Humanity. True in facts, events, and the correct form of the intended message of God to humanity and still it will be a myth because the myth definition does not pass judgment on the veracity of the myth itself. Til you seem to be unable to disassociate the multiple meanings of the word 'myth' but the facts are that in all languages words have more than one meaning and there must be some work done by the user of the language to infer the correct one for each word in each context. You seem to be incapable of doing so with the 'Myth' word.--LexCorp (talk) 14:42, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Has it been "adequately demonstrated"? The Sarna quote for example. I haven't read it in its full context, but I recognize the basic argument. There has been much written about the "demythologizing" of Genesis 1 (a claim I've never seen made about Genesis 2-it's not "demythologized" by this analysis). It refers to the kind of de-anthropomorphized, spare revision of older Babylonian myth, one which is written as the opening chapter of a patriarchal 'history' whereas the Babylonian was more concerned with its 'political' implications. The monotheist argument distinguishes it from the Babylonian myths--but not all myths everywhere. Creation myths don't have to be polytheistic - there are many monotheistic creation myths. In other words, I'm not sure that every argument like this, that distinguishes Genesis from Enuma Elish, qualifies as a claim Genesis creation is not a "creation myth". Professor marginalia (talk) 14:35, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
You're not sure, scholars aren't sure, at least the serious ones I've read make it abundantly plain there is major room for doubt. So that's easy enough to reflect in the wording. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 15:21, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
What do you mean "doubt"? There's no "doubt" involved-disagreement maybe, but it's like saying there's "doubt" whether to categorize a painting as "modern" or "contemporary". There is no "real" answer out there as yet to be uncovered. In just three short, straightforward sentences, list why Genesis creation would not qualify as a "creation myth" to some. Thanks. Professor marginalia (talk) 15:55, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
It should be perfectly apparent to all by now why there is no hope of certain editors ever compromising one iota from their position of endoring the myth hypothesis POV as uncontested, incontrovertible fact proven to everyones satisfaction, since nobody who disagrees counts. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 16:03, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Again, can you list 3 reasons why it would not qualify? Professor marginalia (talk) 16:19, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Also please address/acknowledge the fact that, under most dictionary definitions of the word "myth", a myth can be literary true and the truth with no reason to doubt its veracity. I repeat myself but me thinks you are unwilling or unable to disassociate the multiple meanings of the word 'myth'.--LexCorp (talk) 16:25, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
The average citizen understands "myth" to mean "something that's not true". If you think otherwise, notice how often expressions like "that's just a myth" are used. Same thing as "that's just a fairy tale." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:38, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
So? This is an encyclopedia not the average citizen. In fact there is a project that address this very issue. It is called Simple English Wikipedia. My understanding was that this one was the English Wikipedia. Maybe we should start a Technically Precise English Wikipedia Not Safe For The Reader Audience Unwilling To Learn New Concepts Or Terminology.--LexCorp (talk) 16:59, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
furthermore I do support the use of a note and also a wikilink to the relevant article. I am all for educating average citizens. We can also incorporate a FAQ at the top of this talk page. I mean PC is an invalid argument to censor Wikipedia. There is plenty of technical solutions for something as trivial as this.--LexCorp (talk) 17:02, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Neutral Point of View, which is Wikpedia policy, rules out the use of "myth" here. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:44, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
It absolutely does not. The encyclopedia has more than adequate resources to contextualize the usage of myth in the content of this entry. Bugs we are writing an encyclopedia and we're supposed to educate people about things like creation myths. When someone comes across the notion that this is a creation myth, as they surely will, they should be able to come here and get a better understanding of why that is. If we were unable to provide them with that very simple and basic educational service we'd have no business writing an encyclopedia.Griswaldo (talk) 22:08, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Point me to the specifics in the WP:NPOV that makes your point. My understanding of the policy is that content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. 'Myth' is a simple dictionary definition not a point of view. Furthermore I haven't seen yet a single reliable source stating that the myth definition does not apply to the Genesis creation myth.--LexCorp (talk) 00:01, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Then you haven't been paying very close attention, Lex, because we've got literally tons of reliable sources stating most explicitly that the myth definition does not apply to the Creation story or narrative. The only reason a few editors pretend not a one of these academics and theologians is "reliable", is because these scholars are disputing the point-of-view of these editors, one which they are seemingly afraid to present fairly to wikipedia readers. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 00:11, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Again you are misrepresenting the RS. I have only seen RS that state the myth definition as fairy tale does not apply. They either implicitly or explicitly indicate that the myth definition as a sacred narrative is correct (as exemplified by John S. Feinberg) or are mute on the issue. Your failure to understand that the word carries more than one meaning is the real problem.--LexCorp (talk) 00:23, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Oh, my bad... I mentioned "a ton of sources", and forgot to link this collection of them... There you will find all manner of significant perspectives, including more than several who explicitly say the "definition" itself is bogus. That's actually only a small sample of the available quotes, all saying this. The real problem is that you don't realize wikipedia's neutrality policy means it caters to ALL significant points of view - not just the intolerant one of a elitist snob scholars who have written otherwise. And I'm here to stay as long as it takes to help you see this. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 00:43, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Now I understand your position. You DO indeed want to redefine the meaning of the word "Myth". No wonder we have been going around in circles. You do think that there is a significant view among experts that agree with a redefinition of myth that excludes a common dictionary meaning for "myth" as in Merriam-Webster's: 1a : a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon. No only that but you think that such redefinition should be the basis for defining presumably all subjects pertaining to "myth" and certainly this one under the auspices of the WP:NPOV and presumably WP:Weight. Well that is not how Wikipedia works. We define subjects on the majority expert view and unless you argue otherwise the majority expert view is that the Genesis creation myth is a myth using the most common meaning (in the academic sense) of the word "myth". After that WP:NPOV and WP:weight requires us to present all significant point of view such as the one you are defending. In summary, unless the view that you defend is the majority view among the expert reliable sources it cannot be used to define the subject. There is really no other valid counter-argument to your pretensions because any other argument will be comparing apples to oranges given that we are arguing about different definitions of myth. My mistake was to think you unable to disassociate the different meaning of "myth" and trying to convince you that there is a legit use of myth that is not pejorative but now I can see that your argument is that a "significant" view among the RS is that one of the meaning of "myth" is not valid when it refers to the Genesis (The ultimate special pleading if I may say so). The structure of the lead should be a concise definition followed by all significant views and then a summary of the article. What you are suggesting is either 2 separate definitions (again presumably under the auspices of WP:NPOV). One for the majority expert view and the other for your "significant" expert view and then continue from there or simply define the subject according to the "significant" expert view alone. This is not how articles are build in Wikipedia. There isn't much to discuss beyond this.--LexCorp (talk) 04:23, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
How's this for a deal. The myth POV is allowed and not censored, and the not myth POV is allowed and not censored. Any takers?
Neutrality is giving everyone with a POV a shot at putting their feet in their mouths, and letting the reader laugh at whoever the reader wants to laugh at. ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 21:16, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
But don't you see, Alastair, that's precisely what they're terrified of... Letting the reader decide anything... Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 23:23, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I have not problem with Alastair Haines suggestion. In fact I already offered such a solution above. I reproduce it fully again for those interested. "I have no problem in summarizing the whole section 4 of the article into the lead. In fact the lead is meant to do so. But pointing out the Cristian theology interpretation in the sentence that defines the subject is against WP:Weight and WP:Lead. Again that Genesis creation myth is a myth (in the sense of sacred narrative) is not a POV but a simple definition. If Til can admit that then I see no problem because hopefully the summary of section 4 will point out the Cristian theologians position as well as all others for that matter."--LexCorp (talk) 00:11, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm still wondering what the list of reasons are to say this is not a creation myth. This isn't about "what most people think myth means" - it's about "what most authorities who understand myth mean". Encyclopedia's aren't catalogs or affirmations of what the average person thinks. It's a place for people to look up stuff they don't know. Professor marginalia (talk) 03:21, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with LexCorp, building off of Alastair, regarding how this could be presented in the lead. That is pretty much what I meant in the above quote. Also, I think Prof. M is asking a poignant question which I think needs to be addressed by those who oppose the unattributed use of "creation myth" in the entry.Griswaldo (talk) 12:00, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I think this version is quite nice - short, and to the point. There is no question that Genesis nicely fits in with other near-eastern creation myths, and borrows quite heavily from them. Whether it's inspired truth or plagiarized fantasy (or anything in between) has no influence on its genre. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:33, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Hm, apart from the (now expired) dispute tag, I don't see a significant difference with the current version. DVdm (talk) 12:44, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
The main difference is the missing synopsis (" the biblical story of the beginning of the earth, life, and humanity") in the current version. We cannot assume that everybody knows what Genesis is (even for fluent English speakers, the name is specialized vocabulary - many Germans will only recognize it under the name "The first book of Moses"), and "creation" can be more or less exclusive (universe vs. just one people). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:05, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
The version works for me. Hans Adler 13:18, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Stephan, if you look at the diff, you find the phrase "beginning of the earth, life, and humanity" twice on the left, and once on the right, so it's still there. I really don't care where it sits, or even whether it sits, as long as it doesn't sit twice :-) DVdm (talk) 13:37, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Has anyone tried to format and fill the article correctly, then come back and summarize the article into a lead? That's actually what we should be doing. The lead should be roughed in and then tweeked to represent the article, not the other way around. As someone (I believe the Professor) noted, the current article doesn't even get to the actual Genesis Creation myth until the third or fourth paragraph (discussing grammatical construct instead. Really? Grammar?). All due respect but we've got the title dealt with, now we need to construct the article in a much more straight-forward, clear, and concise manner. Then we can come back and summarize the content into a lead paragraph. Arguments about Intelligent Design can be left for other articles. It should go without saying this is a theological article and cannot stand up to scientific scrutiny. That does not diminish it's import in the least. I have been labeled a "creationist" (here) and an atheist (not here) neither of which is the point, this subject needs to be presented from a point of view that will annoy everybody. That's the first thing we all have to acknowledge, there are people on here that will never agree about this subject. But that's a good thing, we get all angles. The key is to present those angles, not just sit here on the talk page arguing with each other. So, that said, does anyone have a better first paragraph than the grammatical exercise we currently have? Padillah (talk) 13:19, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

A word or two from a source

  • "It is not the case either pre-Christian Judaism or earliest Hellenistic Christianity simply appropriated current myths about the gods. Pre-Christian Judaism was evidently well enough aware of how their wisdom language was used elsewhere; but they appropriated it not as myth, rather as vigorous imagery and metaphor to describe Yahweh's immanence, Yahweh's revelation in and through the Torah. And it was this imagery and metaphor domesticated to the servie of Jewish monotheism which early Hellenistic Christianity took over as a way of confessing that in Christ they had encountered God, the same divine power that had created and now sustained the cosmos, the same redemptive concern that had chosen Israel and shaped her history, the same revelatory utterance that had spoken through prophet and Torah. The language lent itself to mythical elaboration within the context of the more syncretistic religious speculation of the wider world, that is true; moreover, as we have already seen, the Christian identification of Christ as the Wisdom of God probably provided that wider speculation with a crucial stimulus and component towards the full blown mythology of Gnosticism. But at the initial stage of Wisdom christology it would be misleading to describe this as myth. Indeed it would be unjust to the sophistication of these pre-Christian Jewish and early Christian writers: in their own way they were as concerned with the over-simplifications of mythological thinking as any modern theologian, quite as alive to the dangers of a promiscuous imagery begetting a threat to their monotheism. We do too little justice then to the composers of these early Christian hymns and poems when we label their efforts 'myth'."
James D G Dunn, Christology in the making, (SCM Press, 1980).
There are a lot of words there in Dunn's summary of a great deal of historical and literary analysis, and it is not directly about Genesis. My summary of his summary is that Wisdom in Jewish thought is not mythological language but literary language to describe a belief in a God who is actively involved in the everyday world. Dunn was arguing against a view published only a few years before him regarding the myth of Jesus' divinity. He's not interested in affirming Jesus divinity, however, he's interested in establishing where the idea came from, even if it's false. As a mere aside, he gives us this glimpse of how myth is used in a different but related context.
Myth in a technical literary sense is a much more sophisticated thing to correctly apply to something than myth in its ordinary sense. Let's all agree Genesis 1 is literally a fiction and so a myth in the ordinary sense, unless we have literary scholars to back us, we still can't call it a literary myth.
I believe Genesis 2 is truly mythological (as a student of literature), I believe it is a "true" myth (as a Christian). I also believe Genesis 1 is symbolic but true symbolically, however, I don't know whether it is right to call it a myth in the literary sense. It's not really a religious question, it's a jolly tricky literary question.
Please folks, stay gentle with one another on this one. We are using a technical literary word, we need literary sources.
Does anyone think the words of Genesis 1 were not selected rather carefully? Nonsense they may be, but rather organised and serious nonsense.
Remember the well known logical fallacy of the "duck test": if it looks like a myth, walks like a myth, and quacks like a myth, but it ain't got no wings, well then, you might be close, but you've still not actually got a myth.
I don't think scholars are going to speak unanimously on something as specific as a myth, nor something so very restrained as Genesis 1. Sociological context is also relevant and tricky here.
Hope that helps some people out there. Feel free to ignore me. Cheers Alastair Haines (talk) 21:06, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Neutrality tag

I do think that this should be removed at this point. Otherwise, it is likely to remain for the forseeable future, as this is a debate that will quite likely never be settled. Some have made the case here that "the debate has been settled", and that "the discussion should be over". I have cautioned against this, as I feel those that disagree with us must be permitted to voice their opinions and objections. But I truly think that the POV tag is long overdue to be removed.Mk5384 (talk) 08:55, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

I think it should stay as the article shows a definite tendency toward 'truth' (which is surely a minority view even in religious circles) and away from 'allegory' (surely the vast majority of informed opinion). Abtract (talk) 10:27, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I think the neutrality of the article is not a major issue, therefore I think the POV tag should be removed. I don't see where there is an emphasis on "truth," or the veracity of the tale. Nor do I see an emphasis on it as an "allegory." Bus stop (talk) 11:09, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
This is priceless. So we have an article that in its current state is not neutral to one editor because it overemphasizes the "myth" (aka majority in scholarship) perspective and to another because it de-emphasizes this very perspective. Abtract can you please outline some of the passages that you think are contributing to a "tendency toward truth". This way we can actually look at the content and move forward. Regards.Griswaldo (talk) 12:08, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I was looking at "Questions of genre" at the time and, by the way, what on earth does the quote in the following para mean? There is very little mention of science in all this and I get the impression reading the article as a whole that science is of very little account to the editors mainly responsible for writing it recently ... note the change of name. Oh and that's why I added the see alsos that you removed ... they are scientific explantions of creation and a dab page, all very suitable imho. Abtract (talk) 16:29, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Abtract I left the disambiguation page. This entry has nothing to do with science. This entry is about a narrative, and the genre this narrative fits into is not scientific theory or scientific modeling. Do you think that every entry about a creation myth ought to have a see also link to evolution and big bang? The Creationism article is that-away. We are working on an entry about an ancient narrative. Once again, if you have specific examples of problems bring them here and make an argument regarding the problem and even better a proposal of how to solve it. Regards.Griswaldo (talk) 16:57, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
What is the problem with having links to science on a page about creation? Seems to me to be an essential; indeed I would have thought a bit more scientific repost in the article itself would be no bad thing. Abtract (talk) 21:02, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
For the last time ... this is not "a page about creation". It is about a narrtive, a story, a myth ... and yes this myth deals with creation like all other creation myths do. Please tell me whether or not you feel that every article on a creation myth should have links to scientific models of creation. BTW, evolution isn't even about creation so how do you explain that? It only becomes important in regards to creation when it comes into conflict with ... once more what this page is not about ... creationism.Griswaldo (talk) 21:15, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
There seems to be quite a lot about creation ... and the making of humanity ... both topics well covered in a scientific way by Big Bang and Evolution. Readers interested in this allegorical account may well be interested in the science. Yes good idea, let's include them in all creation type articles. Abtract (talk) 21:29, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Good luck with that. I'm completely opposed to the idea and I'm sure most others are as well. The disambiguation page is appropriate and I applaud you for its addition, but we aren't about to link every other view of creation on every page that deals with the general notion of "creation" in some way. Even just logistically that is a nightmare, but conceptually it is also misguided. See for instance this from the Oxford Companion to the Bible:
  • "Since the extended descriptions of creation in the first chapters of Genesis similarly reflect this background (See Myth), they are not to be viewed as providing a scientific account of the origin of the universe. They are religious statements, designed to show God's glory and greatness, the result of theological reflection by which the older mythology was radically transformed to express Israel's distinctive faith."
The only people really interested in comparing this narrative to scientific models or theories of creation are 1) creationists and their adversaries 2) atheists who like to pick on creationists. And that explains the other reason why this would be a horrible idea. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 21:38, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Griswaldo here. Scientific theories are at best tangential to the subject and will no doubt be mentioned as critical opposition to the literalistic interpretations in the main body of the text. For example, evolution is already wikilinked in the main text. While my opinion is that the creationism parts should be substantially reduced in size as per WP:weight, no doubt there will always be space to introduce the main scientific counter arguments.--LexCorp (talk) 21:58, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

The lede. Again.

Griswaldo reverted this edit ([73]):

The Genesis creation narrative, found in the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis in the Bible, describes the beginning of the earth and life, and the creation of humanity in the image of God. It is one of several Ancient Near East creation myths, differing from the others in its monotheistic outlook.[7][8] Its subject is the beginning of the earth and life, and the creation of humanity in the image of God.

And replaced it with this:

The Genesis creation narrative, found in the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis in the Jewish and Christian Bible, is one of several Ancient Near East creation myths, differing from the others in its monotheistic outlook.[9][10] Its subject is the beginning of the earth and life, and the creation of humanity in the image of God.

I disagree with this reversion, because it's clear that you describe a thing first, and characterise it second. Also, the phrase "Jewish and Christian Bible" is just silly. Note that I'm leaving "creation myth" there without qualification. Please don't take this as agreement. It is only acquiescence. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 16:20, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

My mistake: I see that I left the description in at the end as well. The correct version should be this:

The Genesis creation narrative, found in the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis in the Bible, describes the beginning of the earth and life, and the creation of humanity in the image of God. It is one of several Ancient Near East creation myths, differing from the others in its monotheistic outlook.[11][12]

I'm a bit uneasy about the "image of God" remark. Given that "Elohim" actually is plural, this is a later religious interpretation. I'd like that not in the lede, but somewhere where we can add sufficient context. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:31, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

I.m.o. the entire phrase "in the image of God" is meaningless, and should removed. What is a "beginning of such and such in the image of someone or something"? Ok, never mind, I got it, I thought the standard expression was "after the image of...". And it was only "humanity in the image of ...", not " {earth and life, and the creation of humanity} in the image of ...". DVdm (talk) 16:49, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Lisa you are doing it backwards. First you define the subject and then you describe it. Thus:

The Genesis creation narrative, found in the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis in the Bible, is one of several Ancient Near East creation myths, differing from the others in its monotheistic outlook.[13][14] It describes the beginning of the earth and life, and the creation of humanity in the image of God.

same way we do not say "a hammer consist of a handle and a head. It is a tool." we say "a hammer is a tool featuring a handle and a head."--LexCorp (talk) 16:52, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I disagree. Saying that a hammer is a tool is POV. A hammer can be used as a tool, but it is a symbol of Thor. I can bring reliable sources to show that this is a valid position. I suggest the following: "A hammer is an object with a handle and a head. It can be used as a tool." Hans Adler 17:45, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Nobody disputes it is a POV. Everything is a point of view. "A hammer is an object" is also a POV. Wikipedia uses the majority expert view to define the subjects. Without this simple premise it will be impossible to create an encyclopedia. Some POVs are descriptions, others are definitions. By the way it is not clear that Mjöllnir is a hammer. There are also other POV on this issue. And yet we start its article with "Mjöllnir is the hammer of Thor" (not an axe or club nor the more general word "weapon"). We go with the majority expert view.--LexCorp (talk) 18:11, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
"A hammer is a tool", "A saw is a tool", "A wrench or spanner is a tool." Moby Dick is a novel", "Romeo and Juliet" is a tragedy", "The Tyger is a poem", "Doonesbury is a comic strip". "The Mona Lisa is a 16th century portrait", "The Washington Monument is an obelisk", "A river is a natural watercourse", "A spoon is a utensil". "The Enûma Eliš is the Babylonian creation myth". Are all these POV too? Professor marginalia (talk) 18:02, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Just to qualify my statement that everything is a POV: True everything is a POV but when dealing with a simple definition or dictionary definition they by necessity represent the broadest consensus among every speaking person as well as the experts. Otherwise simple communication among experts or otherwise will be impossible. At that very point we are questioning the existence of a common language among a large body of people, thus we may as well create, each one of us, our own little fantasy version of Wikipedia (not dissimilar to what Conservapedia does). For this very reason it is absurd to challenge them over any other RS view because it is easy to demonstrate that they represent the widest consensus among everyone including experts. That is why Til's aspirations are so astounding to me. He really does think his "no a myth" position is at par in the sense of significant with the dictionary definition. The concept is so absurd that it does not merit further discussion other than pointing out that such view is not even close to the one held by the majority of experts. And yet I can think of examples where the dictionary definition could be challenged somewhat tentatively and that is with the problem of neologisms. Neologisms by their very nature are not very well defined and this state of affairs could last for decades. As such they sometimes creep into dictionaries even when their use is not so well established especially among the experts. Having said that the word "myth" is as far removed from a neologism as a word can be.--LexCorp (talk) 18:40, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I would even go so far as to flip the order of the location and description - "The Genesis creation narrative is one of several Ancient Near East creation myths. It is found in the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis in the Bible..." Padillah (talk)
Read WP:Bold. I will say no more. :) --LexCorp (talk) 09:59, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

"It describes the beginning of the earth and life" Actually it describes no such issues. It describes what Jews believe about the beginning of the earth and life. Can that be changed? Because it is so obviously wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:10, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Well we already define it as a creation myth that originates in the bible so it is more or less implied that this is in the context of the Judeo-Cristian mythology or belief system.--LexCorp (talk) 21:40, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but it should be emphasized that what the belief system says is not real. The sentence reads as if the belief system accuartely describes something that is actally so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:00, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes it should be emphasized that what the belief system says is not real (more like contrary to scientific evidence) but not in the lead (unless the literalistic interpretations are also summarized at which point a simple remark that such views are contrary to scientific proven facts will suffice) nor in the sentence describing the subject. There is plenty of space for a criticism section in the main body. This sentence is an expression/statement of belief not an assertion of fact so it does not need to be automatically challenged by the scientific view on facts.--LexCorp (talk) 09:45, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I am not sure that the context is so obvious. The sentence does indeed imply that creation is real and that Genesis only describes it. · CUSH · 15:35, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Cush, what you describe is a problem of contexts external to the source but internal to various readers like yourself. You, as a reader, will apparently always understand statements like this to mean what you are claiming it means, and I truly believe you are being sincere. Be that as it may the culture wars context that influences your understanding of sentences like this is not a majority one. There will always be subcultural contexts out there influencing readers in ways we cannot guard against, and it is pointless to try. Our language is flexible, and meanings are not fixed. I think we can all agree on that. The only thing we can do is hope that we're in tune with how most people understand what we write. Regards.Griswaldo (talk) 15:52, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I guess I should clarify that my comment about Thor's hammer above was a blatant breach of WP:SARCASM. I am glad that nobody agreed with me. Hans Adler 10:25, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Hans, fwiw, I found this one of the finest comments ever made on the subject. DVdm (talk) 10:33, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps, but the most succinct comment regarding this fiasco made so far came from Prof. M on this page: This isn't an encyclopedia article-it's more like a video game. Regards.Griswaldo (talk) 12:11, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

A better intro paragraph

Any objections to using the paragraphs from Creation_myths#Judaism_and_Christianity as an "Overvioew" section in the begining of the article body? This will help introduce the subject 'before the intricate dissection rather than after the reader has slogged through several paragraphs. I'll repost here for clarity:


In the Judeo-Christian traditions, there are two creation stories which appear in the opening passages of The Book of Genesis. In the first account [15], God progressively creates the different features of the world over a series of seven days. Creation is by divine command: God says "Let there be light!" and light is created. On the second and third days, God separates the waters, sky and dry land, and fills the earth with vegetation. God then puts lights in the sky to separate day from night to mark the seasons. On the fifth day, God creates sea creatures and birds of every kind and commands them to multiply their numbers. On the sixth day, God's creates land creatures of every kind. Man and woman are created last, after the entire world is prepared for them; they are created in the "image" of God, and given dominion and care over all other created things. God rested on the seventh and final day of creation, which he marked as holy.

In the second story [16] the creation of man follows the creation of the heavens and earth, but occurs before the creation of other plants and animals. He is formed from the dust of the ground, and God breathes life into him. God prepares a garden in Eden for man and fills it with trees bearing fruit for him to eat. The man is invited to eat the fruit of any tree but one: the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God commands not to eat of that one tree "for when you eat of it you will surely die."[17] Birds and animals are then created as man's companions and helpers, and God presents them to the man. The first man gives names to each one, but finds none suitable to be his helper, so God puts him to sleep and removes one of his ribs, which he uses to make the first woman. For this reason, the text reads, the man will leave his father and mother for his wife, and they shall be joined as one flesh.

Padillah (talk) 17:00, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

I see no problem at all. Much better that the detail text analysis of the narrative section. Is it within policy to link to a particular version of the Bible? I ask because this may cause problem given the multiple versions used by different denominations. It looks like we are endorsing one over the others.--LexCorp (talk) 17:12, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I see those more as citations for the quotes than anything else. If others have citations from other works (Talmud?) I'd be fine with including them too. Padillah (talk) 18:13, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
As citation I understand that they are perfectly valid but they are featured as external links on the main body text. This could be problematic as it looks like we are endorsing one particular version of the bible over the rest.--LexCorp (talk) 18:19, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I didn't realize {{Bibleref2}} did that. Thanks for pointing that out. How about the corrections I've made above? And you have a point that a Torah/Talmud reference would be a good idea too. Padillah (talk) 18:30, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
yep this is the correct way IMHO.--LexCorp (talk) 18:42, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
There is some guidance as to how to cite the Bible in a non bias way. See link.--LexCorp (talk) 22:36, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Renewed Discussion

What kinds of sources are needed in this kind of summary? Lisa reverted it saying that it needed sources, maybe she can explain what it needs. Would another reference work suffice? Do we really need sources for a basic summary like this outside of the text itself? Of course we should also ask the basic question of whether or not we want this text added. I think some kind of basic plot summary would be good.Griswaldo (talk) 01:56, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

This overview is purely factual, concise, well-written, and most certainly properly sourced. This is arguably the most relevant section of the entire article. It is perfect and it really should stay. DVdm (talk) 09:58, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
More to the point, I asked (above) for other citations and no one felt compelled to answer. Besides, being the "Genesis creation narrative" I thought Genesis itself would make a good citation. Padillah (talk) 12:35, 5 May 2010 (UTC)


Why was it claimed with reference to one source that was an Evangelical theologian and another source that didn't explicitly state it that the Genesis creation myth is different from other accounts because it is monotheistic? There are clearly cases of nouns being used in the account which indicate in part a plural state. Many current apologists say this is God talking to angels, but it is likely a transference from other polytheistic accounts. In any case, the monotheism of Judaism is really established in primacy and type through later stories including Noah, Abraham, and the founding of the nation of Israel with its formal declaration happening through the law in Exodus through Moses. Most agree that the creation account as reinvigorated in the time of Amos was likely used to serve as a basis for the Sabbath rest and the Adamic story was meant to establish a direct connection between the deity and humanity so a later special relationship between God and his people could be justified. This is only very obliquely related to monotheism. I changed the lead and boilerplate description so that it was more neutral and removed the POV-pushing sources which were either unreliable or being misused.

ScienceApologist (talk) 17:53, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Science Apologist you are mistaken regarding the conventional way to view this narrative. For instance see the following example from a very mainstream, secular reference work:
'The Oxford Companion to World Mythology
  • "To the extent that this myth was influenced by Mesopotamian concepts, it can be said that it purposely establishes a monotheistic creation as opposed to the Babylonian polytheistic one. The God of Genesis 1, unlike the dominant Babylonian figure Marduk, can never be in danger of being overthrown. This is a God beyond reach, who cannot be fully known. He resembles the Mesopotamian creators only in that he overcomes the pre-creation chaos (in Hebrew Tehom, in Babylonian the female monster Tiamat). There is, of course, a strong and direct Mesopotamian influence on the flood story that comes later in Genesis, as will be clear to any reader of the epic of Gilgamesh."
When one discusses the creation myth in Genesis one discusses the finished version, which is monothestic. My understanding is that evidence of polytheism in the text speaks to the possibility of henotheism or polytheism amongst the relevant ancient peoples prior to the finalization of the text. But that's "prior to". Someone else wanna chime in here? Maybe the Oxford Companion should be added as a reference so this does not come up again.Griswaldo (talk) 21:08, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
But you're forgetting that there are TWO narratives. The first narrative indeed is strictly monotheistic having come from a reorganization at the time of the return from exile and a re-establishment of the primacy of the religious faith/leadership. The second narrative, however, still maintains the plural construction. The Oxford Mythology doesn't refer to the second creation mythology here (and its famous line, "Let US creation Man in OUR image"). I agree that there is an intentional separation from other Mesopotamian myths of the time (though, it would be better to compare it to Zoroastrian conceptions for obvious reasons) but there is no indication that monotheism as a concept is the main discriminant and the sources clearly do not indicate that. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:37, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
NO Oxford does deal with both narratives, and it does so by referring to "God" the singular.
  • "Genesis 2:4b–4 contains a myth that is much earlier than the one described above. This was a myth created or reworked from earlier oral traditions by the so-called J (for Jahweh, that is, Yahweh) writer from the perspective of the strong tenth-century B.C.E. Israelite nation of the Jerusalem monarchy. The God here is much more personal and much more jealous than the Elohim of the later Genesis 1 story. The J writer(s) is more of a poet, more of a mythologizer than the P writers. Here the dominant story is that of the primal parents, Adam and Eve, but the creation of humans differs from that of Genesis 1. Here God forms a man out of dust, just as in the Enuma elish humans are created from clay. God breathes life into the man and puts him in the Garden of Eden, a place made possible by God's providing water to barren land. The emphasis on moisture and the locating of Eden at the point where a river branches into four streams points to a Canaanite tradition, the rivers in Canaan being for Canaanites the umbilical cords of life."
What you're talking about, once again, is the fact that the second narrative most probably has an original source that was polytheistic or at least henotheistic. The conventional view however is not to treat the finished text as polytheistic but to recognize its polytheistic beginnings, or the polytheism in the proto-text.Griswaldo (talk) 21:45, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

I've added the "monotheistic outlook" construction provided by the Oxford text. I can see your point, but we need to be clear that it is a deliberate construction. The previous wording read like it was a distinguishing feature. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:46, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

You also added other thoughts about who "accepted" this myth and you wiped other citations ... so I have reverted your edit prior to you discussing it here. Just a hint wp:brd. Abtract (talk) 21:57, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Um, it seems a little strange that you are claiming that I "wiped" other citations when I explained clearly above the problem with those sources. So the "prior to discussing it" charge falls flat on its face. It's a fair point about the "accepted" part of the myth. A section is started below. Just a hint: WP:CIVIL (There's another essay I think is a more appropriate response than that, but linking to it is generally considered to be not civil here on Wikipedia these days). ScienceApologist (talk) 05:24, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I believe some claim at "hints" of polytheism with the royal "we/our" usage in Genesis 1 but the creation itself was by one diety, Elohim, whereas the in the Babylonian creation multiple deities played a role. Monotheism is a doctrine--the story of a creation by a single creator isn't the same as monotheism. But we need a reference for this and every claim in this article-(edit warring is a real problem here). The fixes in this article need to start with a good two or three solid, middle-of-the-road, sources to serve as a model and use them to frame how this article should be written. Most now are coming first from personal opinion-everybody thinks they know what this should say, and it's getting in the way. All this pushing and pulling-it's left the article with a kind of dissociative identity disorder. Professor marginalia (talk) 22:15, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Your argument is actually a bit problematic – not primarily because some people might be offended by the suggestion that their god(s) might be connected to diets, but because Elohim is actually morphologically a plural.Hans Adler 23:51, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
What? I'm not "making an argument". I'm saying all of us need to quit furnishing arguments, and let the sources guide the editors in what the article needs to say. Professor marginalia (talk) 00:07, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
You wrote "one diety, Elohim", and that's highly problematic because it's entirely reasonable to translate this as "one deity, Gods". There is probably a reason for the plural, and I guess it's at least not entirely clear that the reason is not that the Jewish God is the result of a fusion of various deities. Sorry if I mistook this for a point you wanted to make, but I felt it can't stay uncorrected. Hans Adler 00:15, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Hans our entry on elohim also points out that in the Torah the word functions as a singular noun when used to refer to the "single God of Israel". Linguistics and Hebrew are far from my cup of tea but it seems to me that once again we have the possible remnants of polytheism. However, to Prof. M's point we really just need to follow reliable sources on this, and if I'm not mistaken those sources do take up this singular meaning for Elohim (like the various Oxford reference sources I keep bringing up here).Griswaldo (talk) 00:42, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Oxford's A Dictionary of the Bible - "The word is plural in form, literally denoting ‘gods’ (as in Exod. 20: 3), but normally used for the God of Israel as a plural of majesty, as in other languages."
  • The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible - "The usual Hebrew word for God is Elohim (lhîm), another plural of majesty with a singular meaning when used of Yahweh."
Those are just two examples I have readily available.Griswaldo (talk) 00:53, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
@Hans Adler: We do this. We pull out sources like the Oxford Dictionary of the Bible, Britannica, and other mainstream references written for a mainstream audience. And we start out drafting this article focusing on the claims made there. Then later in the article, the more notable of the various esoteric, nuanced interpretations can be discussed-attributing the claims to sources that make them. We don't furnish our own translations and interpretations. We defer to the most notable authorities on the subject who explore these issues and we report what they say about it. If they say there are remnants of polytheism there, we say that's what they say--whether we agree with them personally or not. If they don't say it, we don't say it. Key is, source first, add the claims in the article second. That's the way to craft the content here. Professor marginalia (talk) 00:56, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Proposed sentence for the lead

I'd like to include the following sentence in the lead:


ScienceApologist (talk) 05:18, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Since it is clearly not accepted by most (even religious) people, I do object. Starting, "It is accepted as an allegorical acount ... " would be better. And don't forget that religions do not accept anything, only people do. Abtract (talk) 05:46, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
So you object to the word "accepted" because somemost people don't believe in it literally? But surely, that goes to a deeper question of whether or not the word "accept" implies "empirical acceptance". Are you contending that the reader will be misled if we simply write that these religions accept this account? Because, as far as I can see, every Christian and Jewish religious group that comments on the subject affirms that the account as the one most relevant to their mythological traditions surrounding creation. So, how is it exactly "not accepted" by religious people? Do you have any cite on this? Because, I could cite the official positions of the religious organizations who have commented on Genesis from those faiths and show you to be flatly without basis. Unless they are not really religious, I suppose. WP:ASTONISH certainly applies for your last point about religions not being able to "accept" anything. ScienceApologist (talk) 05:52, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
"Accepted as the account of creation" has fairly strong implications of literal acceptance, especially as you immediatelty contrast it with "accepted at least in the abstract" (i.e. the acceptance of by Judaism and Christianity is not "in the abstract"). You'd have to find a neat way of phrasing it that makes it clear that the vastly overwhelming majority of theologians and followers of those religions accept it only as an allegory, whilst a small rump of nutbars think it's the literal truth.Dr Marcus Hill (talk) 10:04, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Literalist interpretation vs. allegorical (or mythical, etc.) is a slightly more complicated issue. The truth is that most religious people in the West accept both scientific theories of creation and religious stories about creation (perhaps as allegory, or myth, etc.). For these people there is no contradiction because these accounts of creation are compartmentalized. Because you use the definite article you imply that the Genesis account is the only account of creation accepted by the named religions, and de facto by the people who identify with them. Abtract's other quibble is something I agree with as well. Your current phrasing also implies that religions are beings with agency who can accept or dismiss something. Only people can do that.Griswaldo (talk) 12:00, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Unintended interpretations are not what I'm going for, but certainly you can understand at least what my sentence is trying to illustrate. I'm all for rewording as I do not want the reader to think that every member of these religions literally accepts the account in Genesis. How about:

ScienceApologist (talk) 13:45, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Intention has nothing to do with how meaning is actually conveyed in practice. But I see that you are willing to understand that others did not get your intent initially and have come up with another suggestion.Griswaldo (talk) 14:51, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Can you help with wording? I think the idea deserves mentioning. If not for those faiths, this article might not exist, for example. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:58, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Abtract has a good point below regarding your new suggestion because how do we determine that it is "of importance" to certain religious groups, and especially when we are putting two groups side by side that may have very different generalized attitudes towards these passages. Here I might actually suggest something that Til keeps harping on, and that is canonicity. It would suffice to point out that this is part of the religious canons of these two traditions.Griswaldo (talk) 14:59, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
So maybe something like this - It is considered part of the biblical canons of Judaism and Christianity.
I would hesitate to mention Islam and Ba'hai unless the relationship between those traditions and this scripture is fleshed out in the main entry.Griswaldo (talk) 15:05, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
That seems amenable to me. ScienceApologist (talk) 17:54, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

I think the first two sentences are great just the way they are. They need no change. SAE (talk) 14:21, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

That's nice. However, this section is about adding a new sentence. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:23, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

From my experience, Genesis is of very little importance to most Jews and the whole of the Old Testament is of very little importance to most Christians. Abtract (talk) 14:46, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Why should we write something based on your experience? Is this a way for you to ask for a source or multiple sources? Because that can be done. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:57, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

I'm seriously against this proposal, because the percentage of Christians and Jews who literally believe in Genesis is very small, and belief in Genesis as an allegorical or symbolic account is implied by the fact that it is a creation myth. Claritas (talk) 15:22, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Shouldn't we say whose creation myth it is? ScienceApologist (talk) 17:52, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Which "whose" do you mean? Creation myth of whose authorship or creation myth of whose adoption? · CUSH · 19:55, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Adoption. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:06, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
The percentage of Christians who literally believe in Genesis is in fact relatively large. In fact, one poll suggests that nearly two out of every three American evangelicals express the view that the Bible is literally true, and another poll suggests that more than half of those who attend church weekly believe this. It is far from a fringe view, except among secular academia. HokieRNB 07:41, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Who cares what American evangelicals say? How many American evangelicals are there? 50 million? That is hardly representative in a planetary population of over 6 billion. This is a global encyclopedia, and we report global overviews. American evangelicalism is fringe. · CUSH · 00:23, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
And the user pronounces yet another viewpoint he doesn't care for as "heretical"...! Reminds me of The Fisherman and His Wife who wanted to be Pope...! Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 00:41, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
50 million represent a fringe view? How is that possible? By some counts it's actually nearly double that. And that's just in the U.S. reports more than 300 million (compared to less than 250 million atheists) worldwide. There are more than 6,000 evangelical churches totaling more than 6 million members in Nigeria alone. The largest evangelical church in the world is probably in Korea. By that reckoning, Cush is pushing a fringe view by insisting on a non-supernatural bias. Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 01:49, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
American-centric views are irrelevant to WP articles. And you must not confuse membership in a religious group with actual belief. BTW assigns a number 1.1 billion to non-believers. Oh, and non-supernatural bias is the only bias based on evidence and rational thinking. This article exists to render objective information about the creation myth contained in Genesis, and it is no different than any other ANE creation myth (and it has especially no greater credibility than any other, they are all equally at zero credibility). The fact that all the religious editors are unable or unwilling to render an objective assessment does not mean I have to bow before religion and its intellectual dishonesty. · CUSH · 09:17, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

I've got a problem using this article to establish what "most" Christians (or "most" anyone) believes. This article isn't about the people that believe this account it's about the account itself. The stories on Sherlock Holmes don't spend several paragraphs discussing whether people believed he was real (and some did), they simply state who the character is and what the stories were. That's what this article should be. A simple and stark statement of the presentation and study of the story regardless of any one persons belief. As Professor M says above - what do the sources say? Padillah (talk) 12:43, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Padillah, ScienceApologist has agreed the something like this is amenable:
  • It is considered part of the biblical canons of Judaism and Christianity. (Griswaldo)
Something similar actually appears in a source I quoted for other reasons on this page (Oxford Companion to World Mythology:
  • "Although it is canonical for both Christians and Jews, and in part for followers of Islam, different emphases are placed on the story by the three religions." (Oxford Companion)
What do you think about that?Griswaldo (talk) 12:58, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
I like that much better. "Cannon" is a falsifiable state of being... It doesn't depend on the population of the religion... The religions no longer "believe" but rather "emphasize" which is physically possible... I like this a lot better. The only issue I might have is grammatical - wouldn't it be "Although it is canon in both..." but I'm no English major so I'm just asking. Padillah (talk) 13:17, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
I just clarified this. I am no grammarian but just to be clear that's the quote from the source.Griswaldo (talk) 13:25, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough. Let's get it in. Padillah (talk) 13:33, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Done.Griswaldo (talk) 14:00, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Bravo, I agree with Padillah and Griswaldo that this change reflects a very reasonable consensus. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:05, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Well done, all. Thanks for working together. ScienceApologist (talk) 17:18, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Canonicity or ...?

The introduction to this article should absolutely identify the religious traditions that consider it meaningful, in whatever capacity that might be. Lisa has reverted the line about this being part of biblical canon with the edit summary: The Bible *is* the canon of Judaism and Christianity. So this added nothing. I don't agree with this at all, and I don't think others who commented in this section agree. This was a good way to link the two traditions and to link them through something that shows that the narrative is important as well. Are there other suggestions? Lisa do you have other suggestions? I don't like this fly by reverting that people are doing with nothing more than a twitter of text in the edit summary instead of actually engaging in discussion here. We argue over nonsense ceaselessly here and then when it comes to actually discussing serious content questions people would rather just fly by edit. Ridiculous.Griswaldo (talk) 20:07, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

The passage was good. It's undisputed, it's sourced, it's relevant, it's significant-it should stay. Jews and Christians both consider Genesis canon, but of course the Bible to Christian is not the Bible of Jews, and this article isn't written for know-it-all's and mindreaders-it's written for people to learn something they don't already know.
These poorly thought through, knee-jerk reverts accomplish nothing besides waste time better spent. Professor marginalia (talk) 20:23, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Tangential issue

I know this isn't the talk page to discuss other entries, but after linking Christianity and Judaism in the above added sentence I had a look at those entries. The Judaism entry has a very odd introduction, in that it fails to call Judaism a religion. I left a note on the talk page there and again I know that's a separate matter but it makes me feel like with the reliance on inter-encyclopedia linking of this kind it actually becomes a concern across the board to all related entries. Feel free to remove this if its not apropos.Griswaldo (talk) 14:11, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

That shouldn't be an issue for this article. Of course Judaism is recognised as a religion. If the religion of the adherents is not called "Judaism", what then is it called? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:19, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Actually the hatnote at the very top of Judaism spells it out pretty clear...! Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:20, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
It shouldn't be in a hatnote.Griswaldo (talk) 14:40, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Recent edits to the lead

Recent edits by User:ScienceApologist seem to me to remove much well cited information as well as adding some dubious stuff. I have reverted them twice so others might want to have a look. Abtract (talk) 05:40, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

The two sources I removed were terrible. One was to an Evangelical Theologian who was fairly unreliable. The other was to a legitimate source that was making a different point from the one cited (it was saying that the creation myth from Genesis changed from being a story of conflict to one of creativity rather than saying anything about monotheism). At least the third citation is explicit regarding the monotheism question. It would help if you identified in particular what you think was "dubious" about the "stuff" I added. Discussion has to be a two-way street. Please be specific in what you question and why. ScienceApologist (talk) 05:48, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Could you please back up your claim that Feinberg was "fairly unreliable"? As an evangelical theologian, Feinberg is perfectly well suited to comment on this passage of the Bible. HokieRNB 06:39, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Feinberg is a great source for what Evangelical beliefs are regarding this passage of the Bible, but he is not well-suited to describe what the intention, historicity, context, or motivation was for this particular passage. That's better left to sources without explicit religious agendas. ScienceApologist (talk) 13:50, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

I have reverted a flurry of wp:bold edits by a couple editors. Before Feinberg is deleted again,(esp. since he is a rs) I ask the party to find a source that denies what he writes there. I am sure that you won't be able to. Let's have reason prevail here. SAE (talk) 14:11, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

again, an editor made wp:bold edits. he/she claimed the sources were rs, but that their "content" was bad. I strongly disagree. find any rs that denies their content before deleting rs (esp as many rs's as was done). SAE (talk) 14:16, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Here is a source which makes a claim that is dissimilar in type from Feinberg's belief in a primacy of monotheism. The Oxford Mythology source is better for this reason. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:20, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
since I do not have access to your source, can you please quote where he says that this Jewish writing actually supports many gods and not one god? The 'The Oxford Companion to World Mythology' backs up Feinberg: "To the extent that this myth was influenced by Mesopotamian concepts, it can be said that it purposely establishes a monotheistic creation as opposed to the Babylonian polytheistic one. The God of Genesis 1, unlike the dominant Babylonian figure Marduk, can never be in danger of being overthrown. This is a God beyond reach, who cannot be fully known. He resembles the Mesopotamian creators only in that he overcomes the pre-creation chaos (in Hebrew Tehom, in Babylonian the female monster Tiamat). There is, of course, a strong and direct Mesopotamian influence on the flood story that comes later in Genesis, as will be clear to any reader of the epic of Gilgamesh.SAE (talk) 14:26, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I now have access to this article and have read it. yes, the author questions whether or not the authors of Genesis 1-2 were not influenced by the polytheism of ANE and their myths, but he does call the authors of the text "staunch monotheists" SAE (talk) 14:47, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
The point is, Feinberg has his spin due to his own religious predilections. That's fine, but not as an establishment of an overarching idea in the lead paragraph. I have no problem using Feinberg elsewhere, just not here. We should discriminate against proselytizers and those with agendas per WP:NPOV. Oxford is a better source. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:56, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
It is not a good idea to delete an RS, who says something that is not denied in any significant way in scholarship, just because some editors do not like his pov on other issues. that would be a slippery slope in wikipedia. SAE (talk) 15:00, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
WP:NPOV and WP:RS come together to demand that the best scholarship be used. Feinberg is only a reliable source for evangelical beliefs. He is not a reliable source for the statement being made. It's very much in the way he has spun this very issue that I take umbrage to. There is no reason to use such a problematic source who is obviously on a soapbox about the special privilege and status associated with this creation myth. ScienceApologist (talk) 15:03, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
you are being unreasonable, and require things here that wikipedia does not require. he is rs and shcolarship agrees with everything he says on this point. good day. SAE (talk) 15:05, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that you are not aware of what Wikipedia requires of its reliable sources, which are always contextualized. We don't simply give imprimatur to certain sources and allow editors free-reign to use them for any claim that is made in them. That's no good editorial practice. As others illustrate below, Feinberg simply is not a reliable source for contextualizing this point. ScienceApologist (talk) 18:00, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Comment This all seems like a non-issue. As a matter of style we should eliminate all sources except Oxford simply to reduce the clutter. Why keep only Oxford? That's obvious ... because it is a well respected reference work that we can assume is closer to the mainstream than other sources. This issue should be settled without the bickering over whether or not Feinberg is reliable. There is no need to use Feinberg in the intro. Case closed. Move on.Griswaldo (talk) 15:40, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

I disagree. This is an article that has a few predominant views in different branches of scholarship today, and to show here on this point (monotheism) that two of the main views agree completely, is very beneficial. SAE (talk) 15:44, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
SAE, I don't agree. If anything we should strive for no references at all in the introduction. References are only needed if material presented there is contested. Science apologist raised a stink about it. We have a mainstream source that everyone can live with making it abundantly clear that this is not a controversial statement. Lets leave it at that and move on. Put those sources back into the main body of the text if they are helpful.Griswaldo (talk) 15:56, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
@SAE-you also reverted my removal of two references, Herbert and Parker, that don't verify the claims attributed to them. There's nothing Bold about their removal. It's perfectly straightforward. They are not reliable sources on Genesis, they don't even talk about it. They were used to "back up" the original research of the editor who put them there who thinks that Einstein's expressed curiosity about how the universe began, or the phenomenon of sudden "bright light" at the beginning of the Big Bang is evidence of Genesis creation ex nihilo. Taking such "creative" or "imaginative" liberties with references is a completely unauthorized use of sources at wikipedia. It isn't allowed by WP:V or WP:OR. Professor marginalia (talk) 16:36, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
my apologies. I'll look into it. SAE (talk) 16:41, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

@ cyclopedia, if you don't like it, work on re-writing it. Just a reminder, you have yet to give a reply to my comment on your view of fringe above. you seem to have a different view of this article. SAE (talk) 17:06, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Swift, it's not that it has to be rewritten: it has to be removed. It's original research, and bad one too. It's completely confusing and gives the idea of a generalized debate in all disciplines that simply doesn't exist. It can be perhaps rewritten, but so extensively that for now the best thing is to make it restart from scratch. As for your comment, well, I didn't answer because it's mostly nonsense. The Genesis as a correct description of cosmology and cosmogony is a fringe view in academic cosmology and cosmogony, and that's what matters. The fact that a lot of lay people believe otherwise is irrelevant. Do we report what every mainstream John Doe believes about stuff? No, we report what scientific consensus says. That's also why ScienceApologist is right, above. The point is not Feinberg being a RS or not. The point is that it isn't an appropriate RS to use in that context. --Cyclopiatalk 17:20, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
You know this article is not about whether creationism is true, right? that's for other articles. this one needs to deal with the text and explain what it is saying and what it intended to say -- right or wrong in view of today's science. of course it disagrees with modern cosmology, but who cares -- that's not for this article to talk about. it would be nice if all you religionists would fight over those other articles, although i know that's only a wish. And please don't call my post nonsense just because you have no adequate answer for it. SAE (talk) 17:32, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I know that it isn't about creationism being true. Or better, that it shouldn't be: unfortunately it gives misleading impressions about this subject. The paragraphs I removed was OR giving the impression that there was an equal debate on the subject, while there isn't. I'm happy to know that we agree. --Cyclopiatalk 18:12, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Bear in mind that the lead should have no citations since it should be just a summary of information that appears elsewhere. Abtract (talk) 17:25, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

that's exactly what i argued a few days ago. but one editor kept removed the fact that Genesis 1-2 differs from other myth in that it promotes monotheism, and demanding sources. I pointed them down below to the relevant section, yet they still deleted it, demanding a source right in that very spot. SAE (talk) 17:32, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
It's common practice for contentious articles to have inline citations in the lead, at least for all contentious statements. That's because the POV pushing tends to focus on the lead and part of the problem disappears when people can't simply make stuff up. Hans Adler 17:40, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Commenting on an older post, which states "We should discriminate against proselytizers and those with agendas per WP:NPOV." Let's not delude ourselves into thinking that evangelicals are the only proselytizers. The atheist camp contains many religious zealots with an agenda to convert people into disbelief. I have no problem with including reliable sources from both sides. HokieRNB 07:34, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ Walton, John H. "The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate." IVP Academic, 2009. ISBN-13: 978-083083704 Web:
  2. ^ Where the term "common name" appears in this policy it means a commonly used name, and not a common name as used in some disciplines in opposition to scientific name.
  3. ^ "[Other Ancient Near Eastern creation myths] began, as a rule, with a theogony, that is, with the origin of the gods, the genealogy of the deities who preceded the birth of the world and mankind; and they told of the antagonims... Then came the Torah ... not many gods but One God; not theogony, for a god has no family tree; not wars nor strife nor the clash of wills, but only One Will, which rules over everything, without the slightest let or hindreance; not a deity associated with nature and identified with it wholly or in part, but a God who stands absolutely above nautre, and outside of it, and nature and all its constituent elements, even the sun and all the other entities ... are only His creatures, made according to his will." See further, John S. Feinberg, "No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God," (2006) p. 569.
  4. ^ "The Babylonian genesis [in comparison to the Torah's] describes the creation not as a beginning but as an end, not as the gratuitous and inexplicable act of one god but as the result of a cosmic battle, the fundamental and eternal struggle between two aspects of nature: Good and Evil, Order and Chaos." Georges Roux, "Ancient Iraq: Third Edition (Penguin History)," 1993, p. 95
  5. ^ "[Other Ancient Near Eastern creation myths] began, as a rule, with a theogony, that is, with the origin of the gods, the genealogy of the deities who preceded the birth of the world and mankind; and they told of the antagonims... Then came the Torah ... not many gods but One God; not theogony, for a god has no family tree; not wars nor strife nor the clash of wills, but only One Will, which rules over everything, without the slightest let or hindreance; not a deity associated with nature and identified with it wholly or in part, but a God who stands absolutely above nautre, and outside of it, and nature and all its constituent elements, even the sun and all the other entities ... are only His creatures, made according to his will." See further, John S. Feinberg, "No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God," (2006) p. 569.
  6. ^ "The Babylonian genesis [in comparison to the Torah's] describes the creation not as a beginning but as an end, not as the gratuitous and inexplicable act of one god but as the result of a cosmic battle, the fundamental and eternal struggle between two aspects of nature: Good and Evil, Order and Chaos." Georges Roux, "Ancient Iraq: Third Edition (Penguin History)," 1993, p. 95
  7. ^ "[Other Ancient Near Eastern creation myths] began, as a rule, with a theogony, that is, with the origin of the gods, the genealogy of the deities who preceded the birth of the world and mankind; and they told of the antagonims... Then came the Torah ... not many gods but One God; not theogony, for a god has no family tree; not wars nor strife nor the clash of wills, but only One Will, which rules over everything, without the slightest let or hindrance; not a deity associated with nature and identified with it wholly or in part, but a God who stands absolutely above nature, and outside of it, and nature and all its constituent elements, even the sun and all the other entities ... are only His creatures, made according to his will." See further, John S. Feinberg, "No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God," (2006) p. 569.
  8. ^ "The Babylonian genesis [in comparison to the Torah's] describes the creation not as a beginning but as an end, not as the gratuitous and inexplicable act of one god but as the result of a cosmic battle, the fundamental and eternal struggle between two aspects of nature: Good and Evil, Order and Chaos." Georges Roux, "Ancient Iraq: Third Edition (Penguin History)," 1993, p. 95
  9. ^ "[Other Ancient Near Eastern creation myths] began, as a rule, with a theogony, that is, with the origin of the gods, the genealogy of the deities who preceded the birth of the world and mankind; and they told of the antagonims... Then came the Torah ... not many gods but One God; not theogony, for a god has no family tree; not wars nor strife nor the clash of wills, but only One Will, which rules over everything, without the slightest let or hindrance; not a deity associated with nature and identified with it wholly or in part, but a God who stands absolutely above nature, and outside of it, and nature and all its constituent elements, even the sun and all the other entities ... are only His creatures, made according to his will." See further, John S. Feinberg, "No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God," (2006) p. 569.
  10. ^ "The Babylonian genesis [in comparison to the Torah's] describes the creation not as a beginning but as an end, not as the gratuitous and inexplicable act of one god but as the result of a cosmic battle, the fundamental and eternal struggle between two aspects of nature: Good and Evil, Order and Chaos." Georges Roux, "Ancient Iraq: Third Edition (Penguin History)," 1993, p. 95
  11. ^ "[Other Ancient Near Eastern creation myths] began, as a rule, with a theogony, that is, with the origin of the gods, the genealogy of the deities who preceded the birth of the world and mankind; and they told of the antagonims... Then came the Torah ... not many gods but One God; not theogony, for a god has no family tree; not wars nor strife nor the clash of wills, but only One Will, which rules over everything, without the slightest let or hindrance; not a deity associated with nature and identified with it wholly or in part, but a God who stands absolutely above nature, and outside of it, and nature and all its constituent elements, even the sun and all the other entities ... are only His creatures, made according to his will." See further, John S. Feinberg, "No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God," (2006) p. 569.
  12. ^ "The Babylonian genesis [in comparison to the Torah's] describes the creation not as a beginning but as an end, not as the gratuitous and inexplicable act of one god but as the result of a cosmic battle, the fundamental and eternal struggle between two aspects of nature: Good and Evil, Order and Chaos." Georges Roux, "Ancient Iraq: Third Edition (Penguin History)," 1993, p. 95
  13. ^ "[Other Ancient Near Eastern creation myths] began, as a rule, with a theogony, that is, with the origin of the gods, the genealogy of the deities who preceded the birth of the world and mankind; and they told of the antagonims... Then came the Torah ... not many gods but One God; not theogony, for a god has no family tree; not wars nor strife nor the clash of wills, but only One Will, which rules over everything, without the slightest let or hindrance; not a deity associated with nature and identified with it wholly or in part, but a God who stands absolutely above nature, and outside of it, and nature and all its constituent elements, even the sun and all the other entities ... are only His creatures, made according to his will." See further, John S. Feinberg, "No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God," (2006) p. 569.
  14. ^ "The Babylonian genesis [in comparison to the Torah's] describes the creation not as a beginning but as an end, not as the gratuitous and inexplicable act of one god but as the result of a cosmic battle, the fundamental and eternal struggle between two aspects of nature: Good and Evil, Order and Chaos." Georges Roux, "Ancient Iraq: Third Edition (Penguin History)," 1993, p. 95
  15. ^ Genesis 1:1–2:3
  16. ^ Genesis 2:4–2:25
  17. ^ Genesis 2:17