Talk:Genesis creation narrative/Archive 3

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Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4

The Answer

The Hypostasis of the Archons(the Rulers of Reality) from the Nag Hammadi library indicates that God Almighty(YHWH) did not create man, rather, lesser "gods"(plural, as in Elohim) did so. God Almighty later re-creates man, hence the two accounts. The blatant obviousness of this description shall no doubt be ignored for yet another aeon. Gnower 06:45, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

The text - getting an accurate translation

We've just added a two-part section giving the text of Gen 1-2 verbatim. That's great, but it's not quite an accurate translation. There are some parts of the Hebrew which are contentious, such as whether the opening statement should read "In the beginning God created..." or "In the beginning when God began his creating..." (contentious because it's the difference between a statement of creation ex nihilo or creation from pre-existing chaos), but there are other parts that aren't. And since they aren't contentious, why does the NIV get them wrong? What caught my attention was the way it changes from "the man" to "Adam" towards the end of Gen.2. The difference depends on the presence or absence of the definite article - ha-adam is "the man" and simple "adam" is Adam. And the Hebrew at this point has ha-adam, not adam. And a bit further up in the same Gen.@ the NIV has "streams" watering the land prior to the creation of the first man. This is slightly contentious - it can be translated "stream" or "mist" - but one thing it ca not be translated as is plural - it's either one stream or one mist, but there's no plural marker. Anyone got a better translation? PiCo (talk) 11:35, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree a better version needs to be found. The NIV is notorious for containing interpretations and glosses based on the POV of the translators. I would suggest going back to a version that is no longer under copyright -- for example, the ASV or RV. Or perhaps an older Jewish translation which won't be full of Christian traditions Tonicthebrown (talk) 01:54, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
After some thought, I've come to the conclusion that having the full text in this article is bulky and unnecessary. The full text of the accounts are widely available online. I believe it will be better simply to provide links to the full text, together with a summary in the article. Please let me know if there are any objections. Tonicthebrown (talk) 01:00, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

The third translation of "In the beginning" looks like it has been added by a third party to advertise their site - it has no relevance to the actual ambiguity of translations and is not a translation itself. I think it should be deleted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:01, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

NIV text

1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. 6 And God said, Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water. 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse sky. And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. 9 And God said, Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear. And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground land, and the gathered waters he called seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. 14 And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth. And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. 20 And God said, Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky. 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. 24 And God said, Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind. And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. 29 Then God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food. And it was so. 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.[1]
2:4b When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. 8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground— trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die. 18 The LORD God said, It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman', for she was taken out of man. 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.[2]

The text is incorrect, as the translators had a fundamental misunderstanding of the Hebrew language. In Hebrew, there is a letter vav (the sixth letter) which serves as both a letter in its own right, as well as a common prefix that means and. The vav in the latter sense is referred to as a vav hachibur (literally "the vav of connection"), such as when it connects two things in the meaning of and (note that the ha- in hachibur is itself a prefix of the fifth letter hay, which means the). Another use of the letter vav is the vav hahipuch (literally "the vav of switching"). When used in this fashion, the vav switches a verb that is in the future tense into the past tense. The first word of the third verse, Vayomer is one such use of the vav hahipuch: the root and past tense form of the word speak is amar, and with the letter yud placed before it, it becomes the futures tense (he) will say. The vav placed before it changes it into and (he) said. The same holds true for the first word in the fourth and fifth verses, as well as the countless other instances in which biblical verses are quoted in mistranslation as beginning with "And God said..." and "And Moses went...". If a simple grammatical rule cannot be maintained in the translation by the translator of this and many other bibles, how can the rest of the grammar, and perhaps even vocabulary, be relied upon? DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 21:48, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Objection to extensive deletion!

I am dismayed by the decision of PiCo to remove large portions of this article which represented a lot of hard work on the part of many other editors, and which (in my opinion) were highly relevant to this very important article and of encyclopedic quality. I think that this should at least have been discussed first, and a consensus of editors reached. Tonicthebrown (talk) 11:30, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Recent major deletions

First, my apologies for making major deletions without explanation. I can only ask for forgiveness.

The reason, which I should have put here earlier, was that I think the article devoted far too much attention to one area, that of the composition of Genesis 1-2. One account or two, the DH or not, etc etc. Yes, this had to be mentioned, but it doesn't need to be treated at such length or so repetitively. There are other aspects to be considered, and at the moment they're being ignored. What about the theology of Genesis? - this book was written to express beliefs about the relationship of God and man, but at the moment this is ignored. What about the cultural context of Genesis? What about later interpretations and the history of faith?

I want to re-write the article with this framework:

  • The text - a summary is probably best - because we need to tell the reader what it is that's being discussed/analysed/discussed.
  • The ANE context - what Israel's neighbor's believed about the origins of the world and man, and the relationship of man and god(s).
  • The theology of Genesis 1-2 - what distinguishes Israel's Creation from those of her neighbors. (this is where the question of composition belongs - it needs just a line or two, not slabs of prose).
  • Later interpretations - how Genesis's Creation has been interpreted, from Philo to Rashi to the present. PiCo (talk) 12:37, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I certainly agree with PiCo that there was too much emphasis on composition. This topic is already discussed adequately in the Genesis and Documentary hypothesis articles. It only needs a small mention here. I agree with the suggested 4 sections, however I also strongly believe there should be an exegetical section which deals with key aspects of the text which influence its interpretation. For example, concepts such as "firmament" and "deep" are important in delineating the cosmogony of the ancient world Tonicthebrown (talk) 05:49, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
While waiting for other interested editors to comment, I've started adding potentially useful links to the end of the article - they can be pruned later if they prove not to be so useful after all.PiCo (talk) 12:49, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
By the way I really would like to spend some time improving this article, as has been suggested above, however due to general busy-ness of life at the moment I am unable to do so. Tonicthebrown (talk) 03:36, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Tehom and Sheol

The article says this about tehom:

"The "deep" (Heb. tehôm), a formless body of water, is a mythological term referring to the chaotic primordial waters that, through the creation event, became locked within the underworld (see also: sheol)."

I've never heard of a belief that tehom was locked up in Sheol, and the article on Sheol doesn't mention it. Does anyone know anything about this? PiCo (talk) 06:53, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

This is an area that has interested me for a while. It all relates to the 3-tiered cosmos of the ANE. I've read that sheol, abaddon (destruction) and bor (the pit) are synonyms for the underworld. There is a definite association between tehom (the subterranean waters), the underworld, and the great monsters of the deep ("rahab" [Job 26:12], "leviathan" [Isaiah 27:1], cf. Genesis 1:21) but I'm not exactly sure how they are all related. Tonicthebrown (talk) 12:24, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Revisions by

I have reverted the revisions made by user The user's rationale for his/her revisions were unsatisfactory. He/she claims that the "ref cited had no authority". This reference, Gordon Wenham, is a highly respected Old Testament and Pentateuch scholar, so I feel he has a little more "authority" than your Original Research. The Word Biblical Commentary series (who Wenham wrote for) is a high quality academic commentary series containing some of the best Christian scholarship.

The assertion that the firmament "denotes the atmosphere or sky, possibly extending its reference to outer space" relies on an anachronistic reading of the text. Nearly all ancient civilizations believed that the heavens were a solid dome or ceiling, the concept "outer space" was absent. Tonicthebrown (talk) 10:20, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

ANE context

I've expanded this section, but it's off the top of my head, no refs (although I can provide them, and will). Please treat this as a tentative outline of how this section should look and edit frely. Merry Christmas - I'll be away for a week or two, till after New Year. PiCo (talk) 11:13, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Good work buddy, I look forward to further improvement of this section. Tonicthebrown (talk) 11:20, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
Your "expansion" is entirely uncited. I am therefore reverting per WP:V. HrafnTalkStalk 11:21, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Here's the text of Pico's work

The ancient world conceived of the universe (a word the ancients would not, of course, have recognised) as a flat disk (occasionally a flat square or oblong) surrounded by water. The habitable world was seen as a single continent surrounded by a circular world-ocean of salt water, which extended above the disk of the world. A second ocean, of fresh water, lay beneath the world-continent, and was the source of springs, rivers, and other groundwaters. The sky was a solid metal dome (tin in Mesopotamia, iron for the Egyptians) separating the habitable earth from the waters of the universal ocean, and enclosing the atmosphere. The sun, moon, stars and other astronomical bodies were set into the sky-dome (the stars) or traveled across its surface (sun, moon and planets).

The Mesopotamians believed that the original state of matter was the "waters of chaos" - the two oceans of fresh and salt water, Apsu (male) and Tiamat (female). According to the Enuma Elish, the primordial couple created six generations of "gods" by naming them. In the final generation, the god Ea killed Apsu, and his son Marduk killed Tiamat - the battle of Marduk and Tiamat forms the centrepiece of the myth, describing how Marduk kills the "dragon" Tiamat with a divine net, wind and arrow, and then forms the sky-dome from one half of her body and the habitable earth from the other, with the Tigris and Euphrates bubbling up from apsu's underground waters through her eyes.

When the gods grew tired of tending the earth they formed man (in seven pairs, male and female) from a mixture of mud, the blood of a slain god, and their own spittle. The purpose of man was to give rest to the gods, but eventually mankind grew too numerous, and the chief of the gods sent a great flood to destroy them. One man, however, acting on the advice of a god who was a friend to mankind (it was he who originally formed man from mud), built a boat and survived the flood, and was granted immortality as a reward.

Less is known about Cananite beliefs, but it appears that many of the same themes were at work: creation through a battle between gods, a view of the coean as representing original chaos, and a collective council of the gods (the "elohim", the plural of the word "el", which meant both god in general and El, the father of all the gods). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tonicthebrown (talkcontribs) 11:29, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

edit warring

There are several changes at stake here, and at least two of them are clearly improvements to the article. The other two may be less so, but I would still argue for their inclusion:

  1. change from "more fundamentalist wing of the Evangelical tradition in Christianity" to "more conservative wing of the Evangelical tradition in Christianity". 'Fundamentalist' can be a loaded term, and it is a bit too restrictive in terms of who actually holds this view. Many evangelical conservatives would definitely ascribe to Moses authorship and yet would not identify with other aspects of what is now considered 'fundamentalism'.
  2. change from "discovered evidence that the entire Pentateuch was composed" to "discovered evidence causing them to hypothesize that the entire Pentateuch was composed" I think this wording helps clarify that the evidence spawned the hypothesis, rather than proved it.
  3. change from "reflecting these discoveries," to "reflecting these theories," again, this working puts the emphasis on the theories themselves, rather than the evidence itself, which I would venture to say that most modern scholars have never actually laid eyes on.
  4. change from "but is more accurate than the Wellhausen or Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis" to "but is more accurately the Wellhausen or Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis" Here, the former is just plain wrong. The subject of the sentence is the hypothesis. It can't be "more accurate" than itself. Rather, the sentence should give the idea that although it is labeled by some as the document hypothesis, it actually should be more accurately labeled by name as one of the hypotheses. Make sense?

Please do not revert these again. If you disagree with the changes, please bring them to the discussion page. Thanks. HokieRNB (talk) 03:40, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Try articulating your reasons first, and these problems are less likely to arise. Controversial-seeming edits made with little (if anything) in the way of explanation or justification are likely to be reverted. HrafnTalkStalk 04:15, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Try reading what you are reverting first. Your careless reverts (1) removed a legitimately disambiguated link, (2) re-broke a correctly fixed wikilink, (3) reintroduced a grammatical error which rendered a sentence meaningless, and (4) proliferated the POV that previous editors had tried to excise. HokieRNB (talk) 04:36, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Please read Help:Edit summary: "note that if the reason for an edit is not clear, it is more likely to be reverted". And please stop blaming me for your (and your compatriots') previous inability to articulate an explanation for these changes. HrafnTalkStalk 04:47, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Please also note that edits which are "more likely to be reverted" do not grant one immunity from WP:3RR. HokieRNB (talk) 04:56, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Given that I didn't even come close to violating WP:3RR, your "note" is utterly spurious. On the more loosely defined charge of "edit warring" it is entirely likely that a lack of clear reasons in the edit summaries would be taken into account in judging if I had committed the offense. HrafnTalkStalk 05:07, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Personally I agree with Hokie's revision. It reduces the POV in that section, especially replacing the word "fundamentalist". "Fundamentalist" has too much derogatory connotation, and "conservative" is better. Tonicthebrown (talk) 07:41, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm not objecting to the changes, now that they have been explained to me, but rather to HokieRNB's self-righteous tone. HrafnTalkStalk 07:51, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Neither version looks perfect to me – thanks go to Hrafn for keeping a lid on unsubstantiated changes, and to HokieRNB for providing an explanation for further discussion. Both appear to be acting in good faith, and accusations of misbehaviour are not helpful – now let's focus on the content. ... dave souza, talk 08:20, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
  1. Do we have a source for fundamentalist, "Evangelical tradition, and conservative? All of these terms have specific meanings which have shifted over time. The doc-hyp.pdf source says "Some Jews and Christians reject the theory entirely, and follow the traditional view that the whole Torah is the work of Moses. Others, such as the translators of the New International Version take a middle ground, believing that Moses was the author of much of the text, and editor and compiler of the majority of the rest. Most critical bible scholars, however, accept the principle of multiple authorship, ... "
  2. Both "discovered evidence that the entire Pentateuch was composed" and "discovered evidence causing them to hypothesize that appear to be coded references to the higher criticism of the 18th/19th century, which is used in doc-hyp.pdf as an earlier term for "Source Criticism", the subject of this section. Why don't we use these terms?
  3. Both "reflecting these discoveries," to "reflecting these theories seem to miss the point, suggest "scholarship", " or "analysis" as better words.
  4. The new phrasing is supported by dev-doc-hyp.pdf, "Usually the Documentary Hypothesis is credited to Wellhausen"

The first three points suggest changes are appropriate. Comments? .. . dave souza, talk 09:53, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Note, we do have an article on source criticism but it's a bit limited. ... dave souza, talk 10:14, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Mosaic authorship

I've added one citation of a source which supports the idea that Mosaic authorship is subscribed to by Evangelicals. There are plenty of other Evangelicals who would reject the Documentary Hypothesis and accept Moses as either author or at least compiler/editor:

(sorry, forgot to sign earlier...) HokieRNB (talk) 15:31, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

The three who have wikipedia articles are a theologian/pastor, a pastor & a hydraulic engineer respectively. None of them appear to have any significant background in Biblical criticism, Biblical archaeology, or related fields. Are any of the others experts in relevant fields? I think it would be important to distinguish between the opinions of evangelical scholars in these fields, versus evangelicals lacking such expertise. HrafnTalkStalk 15:39, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
The question is not whether or not individuals have specific expertise in the field of criticism or archeology, but whether it can be rightly said that "... Mosaic authorship ... is still held as dogma by many Jews and evangelical Christians." HokieRNB (talk) 16:38, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
So you don't think that the views of evangelicals who actually know what they're talking about are relevant? That doesn't really seem to be in keeping with WP:DUE. HrafnTalkStalk 17:06, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
It seems that you are suggesting that this view is a "tiny-minority", and should not be included at all. While none would argue that Mosaic authorship is accepted by the majority, it represents a significant view, particularly among Evangelicals, and is worthy of mention. I also think it is entirely unnecessary to make the derisive distinction "who actually know what they're talking about", as if to say that proponents of this view don't. HokieRNB (talk) 17:40, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
What seems to be cited here is an evangelical, essentially a primary source, claiming that the position is held by "many preachers in evangelical churches, not to mention the lay people" so we'd better not mention them ;) There's no source for "many Jews", and another evangelical group or a third party expert might have a different interpretation of how prevalent the view is amongst evangelicals. Thus "many" isn't well enough supported. .. dave souza, talk 17:52, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
No. To claim that I am "suggesting that this view is a 'tiny-minority', and should not be included at all" is a blatant misrepresentation of what I said. I stated "I think it would be important to distinguish between the opinions of evangelical scholars in these fields, versus evangelicals lacking such expertise." That means giving the opinion of both groups and clearly delineating between them where they may differ. While the opinion of evangelical laymen is of interest, the opinions of evangelical experts is far more relevant. HrafnTalkStalk 18:01, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I fully agree with Hrafn that expert opinion is needed. The list of sources above does seem to indicate that a number of authors hold the dogmatic position, but it's original research to extrapolate from that to any indication of just how common their position is. It also raises the question as to whether the position is unique to evangelicals, or whether some other Christian groups should also be included. Perhaps "certain groups of Jews and Christians" would be more accurate. .. dave souza, talk 18:38, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
I think you are missing the point. We are not concerned about expert opinion about whether Moses was the author or not. We are concerned about expert opinion about whether Mosaic authorship is a common view. Daniel Block offered that expert opinion in the source provided. Any one of the above authors will confirm that the view itself is commonly held. The phrase "held as dogma by some Jews and many evangelical Christians" is perfectly justified. HokieRNB (talk) 19:43, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Primeval history subsection, Structure and Composition section

I've added a subsection on the "primeval history"(the name given by biblical scholars to Genesis 1-11). I think the final sentence of the subsection explains why I've added it - we can't talk about the theology of Creation in Genesis without doing so in relation to the entire run of chapters in the "history", which serves as an introduction to the Book of Genesis and the Torah.

I've also renamed the "Authorship" section as "Structure and composition" and made a complete re-write. The previous section I'm pasting in below for reference. I found the concept of authorship rather limited - the structure of Genesis 1&2 is also worth discussing (especially Genesis 1, which is an amazingly intricate piece of work), and Composition covers more than simple authorship (it covers not just who wrote these chapters, but when and why).

Some of the changes:

  • Mosaic authorship: I've deleted all reference to Mosaic authorship, not because I think it's not worth mentioning, but because it's not a theory with any notable following among biblical scholars. Due weight excludes it from this section. But it should still be discussed, and the proper place to do that will be later, in the section that talks about Creationist beliefs. I'll get that done in due course.
  • Documentary hypothesis: Contrary to what many people seem to think, the DH is not the cutting-edge theory on the origin of the bible. It was up to 1975 or so, but not these days. I've shortened the material on the DH, and written a few paras about the two post-DH theories, which are known technically as supplementary and fragmentary hypotheses. The two scholars I mention are the leading advocates of these two approaches, but there are many more.
  • Single/dual account, order of events, & writing style: The existing section got itself very bogged down in details on these questions. So I've treated them much more succinctly, in the context of the composition of the Torah. These are fascinating issues, but the reader who wants to know more would be best served by following the references to the online sources.

According to Jewish tradition the first 5 books of the Bible, including Genesis, were written by Moses. This Mosaic authorship tradition was adopted by the earliest Christians and is still held as dogma by some Jews and many evangelical Christians[3].

By the late 18th century higher criticism led biblical scholars to hypothesize that the entire Pentateuch was composed in the 5th century BC by an author using four source documents. Modern Biblical scholars, reflecting this source criticism, frequently speak of Genesis 1 as the Priestly (or "P") creation story and Genesis 2 as the Yahwist ("J" or "Y", the J reflecting the German spelling of the name Yahweh). The remaining two sources, not represented in the Genesis creation account, are called the Elohist ("E") and Deuteronomist ("D"), and the 5th-century creator of the final work is known as the Redactor ("R"), meaning editor. The most influential version of the documentary hypothesis was put forward by Julius Wellhausen in a series of books in the last decades of the 19th century. Wellhausen's dates for the creation stories in Genesis were: Genesis 1 (the Priestly story), c.950 BC; and Genesis 2 (the Yahwist), c. 550 BC.[4]

Single vs. dual account Some scholars believe that the Genesis account is a single report of creation, which is divided into two parts, written from different perspectives: the first part, from Genesis 1:1–2:3, describes the creation of the Earth from God's perspective; the second part, from Genesis 2:4-24, describes the creation of the Garden of Eden from Humanity's perspective. One such scholar wrote, "[T]he strictly complementary nature of the accounts is plain enough: Genesis 1 mentions the creation of man as the last of a series, and without any details, whereas in Genesis 2 man is the center of interest and more specific details are given about him and his setting" (Kitchen 116-117).

Other scholars, particularly those ascribing to textual criticism and the Documentary hypothesis, believe that the first two chapters of Genesis are two separate accounts of the creation. (They agree that the "first chapter" should include the first three verses and the first half of the fourth verse of chapter 2.) One such scholar wrote: "The book of Genesis, like the other books of the Hexateuch, was not the production of one author. A definite plan may be traced in the book, but the structure of the work forbids us to consider it as the production of one writer." (Spurell xv). For some religious writers, such as Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, the existence of two separate creation stories is beyond doubt, and thus needs to be interpreted as having divine importance.[citation needed]

Order of events The earlier version appears in (Genesis 1:1—2:3} and key items follow this order of creation: # plants; # marine animals, birds; # land animals; # humans (man and woman together) (Genesis 1:20—27).

The second account begins with (Genesis 2:4} wherein key items of creation appear in this order: # man (not woman); # plants; # land animals and birds (marine animals are omitted but omission is not a contradiction and the order of birds and beasts is not stated as being on separate days unlike chapter 1); # and, when no "help meet for [fit for, corresponding to] him" is found, woman (Genesis 2:7, 9, 18 – 22).[5]

Names of God The first section exclusively refers to God as Elohim, whereas the second exclusively uses the composite name Yahweh Elohim (the former word is often translated "LORD").

Single account advocates assert that Hebrew scriptures use different names for God throughout, depending on the characteristics of God which the author wished to emphasize. They argue that across the Hebrew scriptures, the use of Elohim in the first segment suggests "strength," focusing on God as the mighty Creator of the universe, while the use of Yahweh in the second segment suggested moral and spiritual natures of deity, particularly in relationship to the man.[6]

Dual account advocates assert that the two segments using different words for God indicates different authorship and two distinct narratives, in accord with the Documentary hypothesis.

Writing style Though not so obvious in translation, the Hebrew text of the two sections differ both in the type of words used and in stylistic qualities. The first section flows smoothly, whereas the second is more interested in pointing out side details, and does so in a more point of fact style.[citation needed] One of the principles of textual criticism is that large differences in the type of words used, and in the stylistic qualities of the text, should be taken as support for the existence of two different authors. Proponents of the two-account hypothesis point to the attempts (e.g., The Book of J, by Harold Bloom, translated by David Rosenberg) to separate the various authors of the Torah claimed by the Documentary Hypothesis into distinct and sometimes contradictory accounts.[citation needed]

Proponents of the single account argue that style differences need not be indicative of multiple authors, but may simply indicate the purpose of different passages. For example, Kenneth Kitchen, a retired Archaeology Professor of the University of Liverpool, has argued (1966) that stylistic differences are meaningless, and reflect different subject matter. He supports this with the evidence of a biographical inscription of an Egyptian official in 2400 B.C., which reflects at least four different styles, but which is uniformly supposed to possess unity of authorship.[citation needed]

The replacement section is completely unsourced. I'm reverting until this deficiency has been rectified. HrafnTalkStalk 16:14, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Not only (was) it unsourced, but it represents a substantial and controversial change and should be discussed on the talk page. I will revert once more in hopes of working toward some consensus. HokieRNB (talk) 17:42, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm happy to put my proposals into a sandbox, but have no idea how to cerate one. Can anyone help? PiCo (talk) 17:49, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
All you need is a redlink like this: User:PiCo/sandbox. click on it & create away. HrafnTalkStalk 17:58, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. I've done that now. Please give me your comments. PiCo (talk) 18:29, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Mosaic authorship, redux

Here are some other evangelical experts holding Mosaic authorship:

  • William D. Barrick, B.A., Denver Baptist Bible College; M.Div., Th.M., San Francisco Theological Seminary; Th.D., Grace Theological Seminary
  • Merrill F. Unger, A.B., Ph.D Johns Hopkins University; Th.M, Th.D Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Gleason L. Archer, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Harvard University; LL.B., Suffolk Law School, B.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary

Other older works include:

If you want to prove that a lot of people (esp. Evangelicals) believe Moses wrote the Torah, you need something like a Gallop poll, not these guys. If you want to prove that Mosaic authorship is an academically respectable position, these won't really work - the scholarly consensus is that Moses didn't do it. PiCo (talk) 00:39, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
PiCo you need to fix your idea of "scholarly" - it's fine to say "liberal scholarhip", or something like that, and its fine to talk about the majority having dismissed Mosaic authorship. But you can't just dismiss it as a non-respectable position. I've given you a dozen respected names who hold it. It's a legitimate minority view. HokieRNB (talk) 00:50, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Be that as it may, if your aim is to prove that Mosaic authorship is widely held among lay Christians and Jews, you need something like a Gallup poll - the Gallup organisation has done these polls, and I'll find you one if you wish. Personally I'm quite ready to accept that this is the case without asking for a citation. If, on the other hand, your aim is to show that Mosaic authorship is an academically respectable position, you'll need to find a paper arguing that case in a mainstream journal. I don't recall ever having seen one. It will have to be a modern paper, not one published a hundred years ago - times move on. (Incidentally, George Wright makes a curious error: he believes that an argument against the documentary hypothesis is an argument in favour of Mosaic authorship. In fact the DH takes it for granted that Moses didn't write the Torah, and seeks to answer the question, "If not Moses, then who?") —Preceding unsigned comment added by PiCo (talkcontribs) 16:08, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

For example:

  • W.J. Martin, in "Stylistic Criteria and the Analysis of the Pentateuch" (Tyndale Press, 1959)
  • Bruce K. Waltke, in "The Creation Account in Genesis 1.1-3" (Bibliotheca Sacra 132, 1975)
  • Duane L. Christensen and Marcel Narucki, in "Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch" (JETS 32/4, 1989)
  • John H. Sailhamer, in "The Mosaic Law and the Theology of the Pentateuch" (Westminster Theological Journal 53, 1991)
  • Daniel I. Block, in "Recovering the Voice of Moses, the Genesis of Deuteronomy" (JETS 44/3, 2001)

All I'm really asking is to maintain the statement as it stands... "According to Jewish tradition the first 5 books of the Bible, including Genesis, were written by Moses. This Mosaic authorship tradition was adopted by the earliest Christians and is still held as dogma by some Jews and many evangelical Christians." HokieRNB (talk) 17:26, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

After further consideration, I'd like to submit the words "secular" or "mainstream" for consideration as a qualifier for "scholarship". That is to say, a statement like this might be acceptable - "According to tradition the first 5 books of the Bible, including Genesis, were written by Moses. This Mosaic authorship tradition was adopted by the earliest Christians and is still held dogmatically by some Jews and many evangelical Christians, but has been rejected by the consensus of [secular/mainstream] scholarship since the rise of higher criticism in the late 18th century." (Obviously removing the emphasis.) Thoughts? HokieRNB (talk) 17:54, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm quite happy with the first paragraph as it is: "According to Jewish tradition the first 5 books of the Bible, including Genesis, were written by Moses. This Mosaic authorship tradition was adopted by the earliest Christians and is still held as dogma by some Jews and many evangelical Christians." Except, that is, for the word "dogma" - dogma is a technical word used in the Catholic Church, and Protestants and Jews don't have dogmas. Just take out the words "as dogma". And perhaps I shouldn't be happy with talking about "some" Jews and "many Evangelical" Christians. So far as I'm aware the Jews who hold this view are the Orthodox, and it's more than "some" of them. And I'm not sure that belief in Mosaic authorship is restricted to Evangelicals - it was a dogma of the Catholic Church, for example, using that word in it's strict sense. So maybe "many Christians and Orthodox Jews" would be safer. And I wouldn't ask you for a reference, I'd take it as common knowledge.
I'm not at all happy with the second paragraph - it's full of errors (the reference to "higher criticism", for example, should be to source criticism), and it's very clumsily expressed. And worst of all, it acts as if the documentary hypothesis were still the accepted explanation for the composition of the Torah - I think Friedman is the only one who still believes in the DH today. PiCo (talk) 19:25, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
So, why don't we delete the second paragraph completely, and try this for the first one:

"According to Jewish tradition the first 5 books of the Bible, including Genesis, were written by Moses. This Mosaic authorship tradition was adopted by the earliest Christians and widely accepted until the rise of [higher/source] criticism in the late 18th century. The view is still held by many believers today, most notably among Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians, but has been rejected by the consensus of [secular/mainstream] scholarship most modern scholars." Does that work? HokieRNB (talk) 20:26, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I like it a lot better. I'd add the words shown in bold, and delete the words in subscript. This makes it more succinct. Unfortunately, it also adds the opportunity for people to insists on cited sources for words like "most" and "many", as applied to scholars and believers (Christian and Jewish). Lets cross that bridge when we come to it. I also agree on removing the second para - someday we can replace it with something better if we wish.PiCo (talk) 03:11, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
No comments for several days - I'm putting these edits into the article. PiCo (talk) 14:12, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Proposed new section, "Structure"

I'd like to add the following to the article as a new section, immediately before the "Authorship"section, or possibly a subsection combined with it:

Genesis 1 consists of eight acts of creation within a six day framework. Each of the first three days is an act of division: dark/light, waters/skies, sea/land & plants. In the next three days this framework is populated: heavenly bodies for the dark and light, fish and birds for the seas and skies, animals and (finally) man for the land. This six-day structure is symmetrically bracketed by day zero representing primeval chaos and day seven representing cosmic order.Priestly Creation Story - course notes by Professor Barry Bandstra, Hope College Genesis 2 is a simple linear narrative, with the exception of the parenthesis about the four rivers at Genesis 2:10-14. This interrupts the forward movement of the narrative and might therefore be an insertion based on the spring or stream which waters the ground “on the day when Yahweh Elohim formed earth and heavens.” David Carr, “The Politics of Textual Subversion: A Diachronic Perspective on the Garden of Eden Story”, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 112, No. 4 (Winter, 1993), pp. 577-595.

The “Primeval History” mimics Genesis 1’s intricate structure of parallel halves. The first half runs from Creation to Noah, the second from the Flood to Abraham. Each half is marked by the passage of ten generations (ten from Adam to Noah, another ten from Noah to Abraham). Like Genesis 1, each half has a six-part structure, and the content of each half exactly mirrors the other. Each follows the same themes, but with very different results: in the first half, God creates a perfect world for man, but man sins and God eventually returns his creation to its original state of chaos (i.e., the water of tehom); in the second, man finds himself in a newly created post-Flood world, as if given a chance to start again, but sins again (the Tower). But the result the second time is different: God choses Abram and makes his name (Heb. shem) great. The word shem appears to have structural significance: in Genesis 1, God names the elements of his Creation; in Genesis 2, “the man” (not at this stage named Adam), names the creatures over which he has been given dominion; Noah’s eldest son is “Shem”, and Yahweh is identified as “the God of Shem,” ancestor of Abraham and the Chosen People.Thematic Unity - course notes by Professor Barry Bandstra, Hope College.

For consideration and comment. PiCo (talk) 15:46, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Creation theology

I renamed the section from "Summary of interpretations"to "Creation theology", which I think is more descriptive.

I also condensed the section. So far as possible I did this without removing material - I moved material around and sumamrised some points, but tried not to remove altogether. The major thing I did remove was the list of the six days of creation - this is already covered in the first section of the article. PiCo (talk) 15:54, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

New subsection - Theology of Genesis

I've added a new subsection on academic perspectives on the theology contained in Genesis. It has to look beyond just Genesis 1-2 as the theological stories extend throughout Genesis and indeed throughout the bible. But I've tried to maintain the focus on Genesis 1-2. A weakness is that I rely on just two authors. Both are reasonably notable, but it would be good to have more. The material on Meredith Kline, for example, logically belongs in here - his framework hypothesis is mainstream biblical scholarship.

Comments? PiCo (talk) 15:36, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

"God" in lead section

(transferred from my talk page):

It should be established in the introduction which god the article is talking about, without having to click on wikilinks. Ben (talk) 14:16, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

In principle I can see the point of that, but in this particular case the matter is hardly in doubt. For those who believe that there is only one god, the words "which god" can only have one meaning. It's like choosing a member from a singleton set. My objection to "God of Israel" is that it is anachronistic. Israel the man wasn't born and Israel the people didn't exist at the time referred to. One could equally say "God the Father" but it's also a question of subtle, or not so subtle, overtones, so I'm absolutely not suggesting that. The words actually used in Genesis are Elohim and Yahweh so if "God" isn't good enough, it would be bettter to use one or both of those. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 14:44, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
I have no problem with using another phrase, God of Israel can go if you think that is best. My concern is that many cultures have access to Wikipedia these days, and while most will suspect the god you're referring to when we use the term God, we can't assume anything of our readers. We should be writing the article as if for someone who has amnesia, but has possibly read an article on another god before reading this one. I'm up for suggestions, otherwise I think the article should use the older phrase until something better comes along. Ben (talk) 14:59, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't really understand the nature of your "concern". Anyone who knows anything at all about Genesis and the religions which recognise it will know that they are monotheistic. From that point of view to particularise God is downright misleading, since there is only one. If someone reads this who doesn't know that, then the best thing to say is "(the one and only) God". If you want to be more pedantic we could say "God (Elohim/Yahweh)". What concerns me is that we should remain as far as possible inclusive. There is nothing in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 which disagrees with Islam, for example, so we shouldn't make it sound as if there is. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 16:24, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Anyone who knows anything at all about Genesis and the religions which recognise it -- That was my point. Not everyone does, so we should spell it out from the outset. For all we know, someone has clicked a link that looks like creation, without knowing what Genesis is. This is a very basic topic, and we can't assume all readers will be familiar with it. Ben (talk) 16:37, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
All right, would you be happy with "(the one and only) God"? SamuelTheGhost (talk) 17:25, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

I don't see how that helps at all. What about the Judaic God? Ben (talk) 02:31, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Nowhere in Genesis 1-2 does it say that God created heaven and earth. In fact it doesn't mention God. What it mentions is elohim and YHWH. The latter is the god of Israel (the people rather than the eponymous ancestor), but not the only god in the world - "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" implies that other gods do indeed exist, and "Hear O Israel, YHWH our God is one God" implies that Yahweh is the god of Israel, and not of Moab (the god of Moab was Chemosh) or of Babylon (the god of Babylon was Marduk). "Elohim" has the general meaning of "god", but isn't exactly equivalent to the English word - when oses is told that Aaron will "as a god" and speak for him, the word used is elohim, and a little later, when Moses appoints elders to act as judges in his place, they also are called "elohim." My point is that we should avoid assuming that English words can be used in a one to one correspondence with Hebrew, or, for that matter, that Genesis is quite so monotheistic as so many modern Christians imagine. Better simply to remove all reference to who did the creating, since it isn't strictly needed and seems to lead to confusion. PiCo (talk) 07:39, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
That's fine with me. Thanks. Ben (talk) 07:49, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
OK. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 08:09, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

In the beginning

I have problems with this section:

Exegetical points
"In the beginning..."
The first word of Genesis 1 in Hebrew, "in the beginning" (Heb. berēšît), provides the traditional Jewish title for the book. The ambiguity of the Hebrew grammar in this verse gives rise to two alternative translations, the first implying that God's first act of creation was heaven and earth, the second that "heaven and earth" already existed in a "formless and void" state, to which God brings form and order:[19]
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void...God said, Let there be light!" (King James Version).
"At the beginning of the creation of heaven and earth, when the earth was (or the earth being) unformed and void . . . God said, Let there be light!" (Rashi, also with variations Ibn Ezra and Bereshith Rabba).

First, what is the "ambiguity" in the Hebrew grammar? Second, where did Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and Bereshith Rabba translate the verse? It seems to me that KJV is a translation, and Rashi's is an interpretation. The translation implies an interpretation but i do not understand the basis for the interpretation, perhaps it is just a poor translation? This section just doesn't make sense and needs to be clarified. Slrubenstein | Talk 23:19, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Reconciling Genesis 1 and 2

There seems to be a major omission (unless I'm missing something) from this page, which is: How do those who take the bible as the literal word of god reconcile the two completely different creation stories? There is a sub-section about those who subscribe to the "multiple authors" theory, and another about those who don't take the accounts completely literally but nothing, so far as I can see, about what, frankly, seems to be the mainstream of fundamentalist Christianity in the USA: Those who take the bible as the literal word of god and therefore reject evolution in favour of creationism. How does that group reconcile the two different creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2? I ask because I have no idea: It was to find an answer to that specific question that I searched for this page in the first place. Jacob (talk) 20:53, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Here are a few examples of literal interpretations (or at least mostly literal): Dan Watts (talk) 21:17, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I can find the "answer" elsewhere on the internet. My point, though, is that it's not on this page, which (since two other such descriptions are here) is where it should be, surely? Jacob (talk) 22:11, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
There's a mention of Kenneth Kitchen and the view that Gen.1 gives the story from God's perspective and Gen.2 gives it from man's, both being two aspects of the same story. This is a pretty widespread view, and not just among Creationists. But if it's not being made clear then perhaps we need to look at that part of the article again. talk seems to be giving us some useful online sources. PiCo (talk) 06:29, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, this is essentially the part I'm just not getting - from this page or from the argument in general. That is, the interpretation that Genesis 1 is "god's perspective" and Genesis 2 is "man's perspective" is, as far as I can tell, just that: An interpretation. I can't see where the Biblical literalist gets, from the text of the bible rather than jus from an assertion, any justification to favour that specific interpretation over the "it's just an allegory" interpretation. Which leaves me with the same gap on this page, really: If somebody takes the bible literally then how does that person reconcile the (apparent?) contradictions between Genesis 1 and 2? Or does no christian actually take the bible literally to that extent, but most/all rely on one interpretation or another? Either way, that information just doesn't seem to be on this page, which it logically belongs. Jacob (talk) 09:05, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Tjbergsma's edits.

I haven't gone over them all yet, but I think they should be discussed here first. Tjbergsma's edits seem to rely on some seriously dodgy sources to make claims. For example, The New American Commentary, where a part of the description of this work from the publisher is "The New American Commentary assumes the inerrancy of Scripture...", a distinctly minority position. I'm also reasonably confident that most scholars believe the Pentateuch had multiple authors, but I'm happy to be corrected about that with a reliable source stating that view has now fallen out of favour among the experts. Ben (talk) 04:20, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

"some seriously dodgy sources" ??? You call the ESV Study Bible, the fasted selling bible in the history of America, a dodgy source? lol. PLus, thge New American Commentary is a very reputable source and easily passes wikipedia's standards. Same with anything by Richard Pratt and Wayne Grudem. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 04:32, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and pls don't delete statements that have reliable sources and after that ask to talk. You disagree, talk -- don't delete. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 04:36, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
And there is a source stating that the multiple author view is beginning to fall out of favor among experts. I wouldn't change it without sourcing it! (shows why you shouldn't make a huge UNDO without reading first). You want the source, read the article! Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 04:36, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
AND my edits are clearly NPOV!!! I was careful to put in the phrase "some scholars" and point out this was only one view. That's what careful editing does. Why are you jumping all over this?! Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 04:39, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Ugh. I put the link to WP:BRD on your talk page for your benefit. Sales figures are your claim to reliability? Please. From the ESV Study Bible web site: The goal and vision of the ESV Study Bible is, first and foremost, to honor the Lord. Not reliable. I think you're falling well short of the WP:NPOV line, so I suggest you read that page, noting in particular the WP:WEIGHT section. NPOV does not mean every point of view. Instead of edit warring, I think it's more sensible to leave the questioned material out of the article until you find some reliable sources and present them here for others to review. Do we agree? Ben (talk) 04:53, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
"Do we agree?" No. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 05:01, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
You prove first that they are unreliable sources (and then I'll prove that yours are too, according to your same subjective standards) and then you can remove them. They more than meet the requirements. And the WP:BRD has nothing to do with my edits. It says "BRD is not a justification for imposing one's own view, or tendentious editing without consensus." Therefore, my reliable sources stand. Now, you want to talk, let's talk. And I "Ugh" right back at you for your rash revert of all my edits without going through them. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 05:01, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
You want to follow WP:BRD? Then here are the steps: (note that you made the bold edit, and then I reverted, so now you must not revert again). I quote... Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 05:05, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
"The BRD process
  1. Boldly make the desired change to the page.
  2. Wait until someone reverts your change or makes another substantial edit. DO NOT revert this change!
  3. If a disagreement arises, gracefully back down a bit, and explain and discuss your reasoning with the reverter and consider their different views too (don't go for discussion with too many people at once). Once you reach agreement, start the cycle again by making the agreed change."
What? How have I made a bold edit? I reverted you. Before that I reverted an IP. The only thing I have added to this article is a source to backup my revert. You're welcome to ignore BRD though. Now, it is you that must establish the reliability of your sources. It is not up to the rest of the world to prove them unreliable. So, where is your evidence of reliability? Ben (talk) 05:16, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm afraid that it's actually your job to give evidence of unreliability. But, just so you know, here's a quote from Wikipedia, "Reliable sources are credible published materials with a reliable publication process; their authors are generally regarded as trustworthy or authoritative in relation to the subject at hand." Have a look at the editors of the ESV Study Bible. Oh, and the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible. I think you'll find there between them both the Who's who of evangelical Christianity. In other words, reliable. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 05:26, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Not, it's not. Just like it's not my job to prove that an image falls under copyright. It is up to the person asserting it is not to offer evidence that it is not. It's the only sensible position to take in cases like this. However, I have offered evidence that these texts are unreliable. They do not represent reliable sources, they represent biased sources whose primary aim is to to honor the Lord and assume the inerrancy of Scripture. I also have a paper here, An Empirical Basis for the Documentary Hypothesis, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 94, No. 3 (Sep., 1975), pp. 329-342. This journal is peer reviewed and, according to its wiki article, is the flagship journal of the field. From the same journal, Re-Examining the Foundations, Vol. 84, No. 1 (Mar., 1965), pp. 1-19. These papers represent the level of reliability we should be demanding. Not commercial products with an obvious bias. Now, these papers are perhaps a little old, in which case I'm happy to be corrected. Please present a paper from a journal of similar standing pointing out that scholars today generally believe that the Pentateuch was written by a single author. Ben (talk) 05:49, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Ben, you're not thinking straight. And I have offered evidence that my sources are reliable -- and you (nor Pico) can delete them until you PROVE otherwise. My sources are very credible, respectable, well-known scholars within the Christian community. This falls easily within Wikipedia's standards -- actually they are as good as you can get! To follow your subjective standards here and say these aren't reliable will strike every well-known scientist from the record in the scientific community, every well-known politician from the record in the political community, etc, etc, etc. It's holding Christian sources to a different standard in their own field of expertise than anyone else. That is not being scholarly, nor what wikipedia is about. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 13:03, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
No, you haven't offered any evidence to show your sources are reliable. You've asserted they are.
I think you'll find there between them both the Who's who of evangelical Christianity. In other words, reliable. --Tjbergsma
This is becoming a joke though, so until someone else steps in to comment on this, one way or the other, I don't care enough to continue arguing about it. Ben (talk) 15:26, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Ben: How come you did not question this article's use of unscholarly blogs for sources, and yet you question my sources that are 1. Published, 2. published from the leading Christian Publishing houses, 3. well known within the Christian community? Answer me that. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 15:40, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I'll question any sources I please, and you should expect as much from anyone else. However, an obvious answer to your question is that I only reviewed the sources that were inserted in the last 24 hours. Ben (talk) 15:46, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm limiting myself only to the question of: are the sources Tjbergsma added good sources for Wikipedia, based on the reliable sources guidelines with a dash of common sense? Specifically, The New American Commentary, the ESV Study Bible, and the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible. These source are all predicated on various assumptions about the Bible, and this biases their conclusions. However, it's not relevant. The question is: are they a reliable source on the subject at hand, theological debate on the meaning of Genesis? Do these books reasonably document a non-fringe theory? As a crude test, would someone involved in the debate on the other side agree, "Yes, these sources are a scholarly representation of a non-fringe reading of the Bible that I disagree with?" I'm not up to date on current Bible analysis, but as far as I can tell the answer is likely to be yes. As best I can tell, the sources represent in a scholarly way a non-fringe set of beliefs, and thus are suitable as reliable sources to back up claims that those beliefs exist. Best of luck in your future editing! — Alan De Smet | Talk 20:55, 15 November 2008 (UTC)


Your opinion that I am breaking the WP:WEIGHT rule, and as you say "falling well short of the WP:NPOV line" is incorrect. This is the Reformed view and a common evangelical view, which is not an insignificant part of the Protestant Church. RC Sproul, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, John MacArthur, Al Moehler, CJ Mahanney, Josh Harris, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, etc, etc. are not an insignificant part of the Christian community.

I mean WP:WEIGHT is talking about flat earth views -- now that is a minority view. The ESV Study Bible is not a minority view. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 05:18, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm quite happy to have Pico put in his edit that "the majority of scholars" believe Genesis is founded upon Babylonian creation myths, but find the sources! People use that cop out phrase too much, "the majority of...", when they really don't know. Their own thoughts on the matter do not make a "majority." Until then, allow both positions to be represented. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 13:33, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Tjbergsma, your edits seem to be aimed at pushing a point of view rather than towards improving the article. If a link is no longer working, tag it, don't delete it. Also be careful about painting majority views as the views of "some" scholars. Etc. PiCo (talk) 14:33, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Pico, you seem to be somwhat biased in your edits, and you prefer general, unsourced statements rather than cited sources that you disagree with. Please do not write, "the majority of scholars" without having sufficient evidence for such a grand claim. I am working hard at editing with reliable sources, please do the same.
And note that I did not delete the statements, just the broken links. That is fair. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 14:37, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
In the future, do not delete the links either. Instead you should tag them as dead, because nearly always an archive link can be found in the wayback machine. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 16:00, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
You are right. Thank you Silly Rabbit, also for updating them. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 16:05, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

The rûach of God

I am trying to find a source that says the traditional Jewish translation of ruach is "wind" here in Gen. 1. Please don't remove the Fact tag unless you have a reliable source. Thanks Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 15:15, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Harry Orlinsky, you jackass!PiCo (talk) 15:42, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Nice. Very classy. (ps. that name is no where in the source, nor on the blog) Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 15:47, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I finally figured out what you were talking about (no help to your constantly replacing a bad link). I have given the proper link to Orlinsky now. This should make you happy. Please follow the link to double-check my research and you'll notice the improvment Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 15:57, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Footnote #12?

It says, "Some modern translations alter the tense-sequence so that the garden is prepared before the man is set in it, but the Hebrew has the man created before the garden is planted."

I have compared the English & Hebrew and see no basis for this remark (it really doesn't even make sense if you read it carefully!). I believe this unsourced footnote should be deleted. I will give other editors some time to comment on this though before I do so. Please give your opinion on this if you want it to stay. Thanks. Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 16:30, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Tjbergsma's edits, part III

Tjbergsma, your edits have been reverted by multiple editors, not just me. It should be obvious to you that you do not have consensus for your points, nor anything like it. Please put your proposals on the Talk page for discussion.

Your latest edit is an attempt to say that the occurrence of two names for God in Genesis led scholars to posit multiple authorship for the Pentateuch. How you can doubt this is beyond me - it's a fact of history beginning with Astruc. I think you're misreading your sources. Again, put your proposals here so we can examine them. If you won't do this, I'll have to report you for disruptive editing. PiCo (talk) 15:14, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

I have put in a request to have this page protected due to edit warring. Multiple users has deemed my sources reliable and you keep deleting them. You do not delete reliable source in Wikipedis for personal reasons. T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 14:51, 18 November 2008 (UTC) 15:29, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
First point: Don't change the section title for this section - it's dishonest.
Second point: Your edits have been reverted multiple times by multiple editors, and you've been asked multiple times to discuss matters on Talk before continuing, yet you ignore everyone. You are being disruptive.
Third point:One of your sources is reliable, but you have not understood the section you're editing into (i.e., the influence of the two names of God on the development of the Documentary Hypothesis) nor, indeed, your own source (which is not saying what you think it's saying). The result is to make a nonsense of the section.
In view of your continued bad behaviour I will report you for edit warring.PiCo (talk) 15:36, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
I would like to respond to your points: You too has been disruptive and have been asked multiple times to look at the talk page.
You have repeatedly deleted statements with multiple reliable sources, and replaced them with your unsourced generalizations.
You say that I have been reverted multiple times by multiple authors? You and who else may I ask? And since you admit that you have reverted me many times, then you are admitting that you are edit warring. T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 14:51, 18 November 2008 (UTC) 17:14, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Edit war: revert to last agreed version

In view of the edit war which has (regrettably) broken out with the activities of Tjbergsma, I have reverted the article to the last agreed version prior to his arrival on the scene. The article should now be locked at this version until the matter is resolved. (That "last agreed version" was not, incidentally, mine). PiCo (talk) 15:44, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

It should be noted that it is the activities not only of myself, but also of PiCo that have started this edit war. I made some good faith edits with reliable sources, only to have them repeatedly deleted by PiCo, and to have been name-called by him as well. It is unfortunate that it has come down to this, but with the version that he prefers on lock down, hopefully we can now come to a consensus piece by piece. This is why I asked for the page block. Cheers, T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 14:52, 18 November 2008 (UTC) 17:49, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Now What?

OK. Fine. You have your version back. But now what? There are opinions (that are unsourced!) that good reliable sources can help to balance out in this article. This was my goal. This article clearly represents only one side and leave out a position that is definitely NOT a small minority. I have given well-know sources, and names, which are in the best selling section for years now in Christian circles.

Also, there are bad sources in here: Blogs of unknown guys that are being allow to stand as sources because they give the position that some editors what to give. They have been upheld while well-known sources from reputable and important Christian publishing houses have been continually deleted with no explanation

Third, there are bad, bad generalizations in this article. The weasel word of "many" and "majority" thrown in here and there tinge the accurateness of it.

Now what?? T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 14:49, 18 November 2008 (UTC) 16:02, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

, this is not my version, it's the version that existed before you began editing. Your edits marked the beginning of an edit war, to which I have been a party. Edit wars are bad. If we can't agree, we revert to a neutral version, in this case, the version that existed before the war broke out and which is neither yours nor mine. Then we block the article m(at this agreed-to-be-neutral version) and talk things over. That's what.
That your sources are reliable is agreed. That you are using them wisely, is not. For example, you keep editing the section on Names of God without understanding what it's saying. It simply says that the two names used in Genesis led biblical scholars to posit the idea that there were two original and distinct sources in the book. It's a statement about the history of biblical scholarship. Yet you treat it as if it's a statement supporting the documentary hypothesis, and making an edit that says that the DH is no longer regarded as valid, This is irrelevant - to repeat, the section is about the history of scholarship, not about the DH.
Your other edits, where you keep classifying mainstream scholarly opinion as the opinion of "some" scholars, is more serious. Evidently you disagree with these views, and want to give more prominence to evangelical and literalist ideas. Using the word "some" to do this is, however, weasel-words. If you can provide evidence that the ideas of Wenham and others are fringe, or that the ideas of literalists are are commonly accepted (in, for example, the SBL), we can consider an appropriate edit. But this is exactly why your edits are so controversial, and why we've been pleading with you to use the Talk page - a whole set of such pleas, not just mine. Talk is good, please do more of it. PiCo (talk) 16:16, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Ok. Let's go through what I see as inaccuracies, one at a time, and figure this out. If you can come up with sources for the general statements that you want to keep, that would be appreciated. Overall, I see this article as presenting a certain view as the majority, when it is in fact not a majority, but rather a very common view among several. Therefore I will do my part and bring sources (and as many sources as needed, because there are plenty!) to try and make this article more accurate.
First: I want to tackle the bad sources that are used in this article (there are plenty!), before adding or changing any statements. Agreed? T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 14:49, 18 November 2008 (UTC) 16:46, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
I've begun on the footnotes as you suggest. Now my own request to you: Since you're the one seeking to make edits, it's up to you to propose what you want to do. I suggest you begin with the lead. Start a new thread here on Talk telling us what you want to change, why, and what you want to see in its place. (Or any totally new material - but the lead should of course reflect the existing article, not introduce totally new matter). PiCo (talk) 09:23, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Review of Current Footnotes

Foot note #2: "Genesis uses the words YHWH and Elohim (and El) for God; the combined form in Gen.2 and 3,YHWH Elohim, usually translated as "LORD God", is unique to these two chapters." I think this need to be more clear, that these are unique only in chpts 2-3 of Genesis but the combination is used often throughout the rest of the Old Testament.

I'd be happy to change this to read "almost unigue within Genesis", meaning that, within Genesis, it's very rare.
how about this change that I made to the exact same footnote in the Book of Genesis article (just changing the last hald of the sentence): "Genesis uses the words YHWH and Elohim (and El) for God; the combined form in Gen.2 and 3,YHWH Elohim, usually translated as "LORD God," although used commonly throughout the Old Testament, is unique here in Genesis to these two chapters"

Footnote #9: It says, "Some modern translations alter the tense-sequence so that the garden is prepared before the man is set in it, but the Hebrew has the man created before the garden is planted." However this is incorrect -- no modern translation alters the tense sequence. And the second half of that statement is also true for modern translations! Conclusion: this footnote is nonsensical, unsourced, and should be deleted outright.

I'll get back on this.

Footnote #16, #27, #29, #37, and #38: These are linked to Barry Bandstra. The links are no longer valid and need to be updated or replaced.

The source seems to have been removed from the web and the link can be deleted. The idea expressed, however, is valid, and should stay. The aim now should be to find an alternative reference if it's felt this is needed.
I can provide alternative links for all of the Bandstra citations. Not a problem. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 13:29, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Thank-you again Silly Rabbit. That will take care of half of the footnotes :)

Footnote #20: appears to be some guys blog and personal opinion. Conclusion: This should be deleted outright (and since the statement that it sources is obscure, it too should be deleted!)

Agreed. Bear in mind that I didn't write everything, or even nearly everything, in this article - and I certainly didn't write that. The problem is that this is a very controversial article, and deleting things can lead to passionate responses - so it's fine by me to delete, but I'm not the final decision-taker.
If there are no protests then, it should be deleted per wikipedia WP:SPS

Footnote: 21: "Notes on the NJPS translation of the Torah." This links to some guys blog. There is nothing in the link that is relevant to the statement it claims to source. Conclusion: It should be fixed or (if no one can figure it out) deleted.

The link is incorrect - it should be to [1]. The blog is by a professor of Hebrew and bible, and includes Orlinski's commentary on the JPS translation of Genesis - Orlinsky, you will know, being the one who did the translation. In his notes he explains his choices, and several of the notes amount to miniature essays on the history of various concepts, including ruah and its role in the development of the (putative) Christian Trinity.
Good, we can redirect this link to the correct place.

Footnote #34: What is it?? It should be clarified or deleted. T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 14:45, 18 November 2008 (UTC) 17:22, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean by "what is it?" The footnote is a reference to page 17 of a book by a man named Stone, the book itself being called Names of God, published in 1944. I've never read it, so I can't say what Stone says, but it seems to be a well-referenced source within the meaning of Wiki's policy of verifiability. On the other hand, if you think you can express the thought better, go ahead and make a suggestion.
Good. We can add the rest of the info: Book title, date. I'm fine with it, just want to clean it up. Thanks T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 22:44, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Let's come to a consensus on these footnotes by the end of this week so that they can be fixed as is needed (then we can move on to the "many" weasel words in the article). T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 14:45, 18 November 2008 (UTC) 17:34, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Barry Bandstra Footnotes

All the changes to the current footnotes are made except for Barry Bandstra corrections which Silly Rabbit said he/she could fix. The footnote numbers are now: #15, #25, #27, #35, and #36. A dead link tage has been place on them for now. T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 18:19, 22 November 2008 (UTC)


OK. Now I suggest we work through the article. There should be 3 goals:

  1. Add sources to the many "fact" tags (some have been there a long while)
* This means deleting statements that simply are not being sourced, per Wikipedia rules: See here.

      2.   Balance POV statements (including the many weasel words), such as "many", "most", or "some".

* This means that if we can't find a source for the "many" then the statement or word can't be there
* This includes removing pejorative terms, (such as using "biblical literalists"), to describe the "other side" and using a more NPOV term.

      3.   Return and stick to Wikipedia guidelines in this article:

None of the views should be given undue weight or asserted as being judged as "the truth", in order that the various significant published viewpoints are made accessible to the reader, not just the most popular one. It should also not be asserted that the most popular view, or some sort of intermediate view among the different views, is the correct one to the extent that other views are mentioned only pejoratively. Readers should be allowed to form their own opinions.

"Neutral point of view" - WP:YESPOV

Cheers, T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 18:55, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

1st Change

"While modern biblical literalists believe that the Genesis account is an accurate record of the creation of the universe, the majority of scholars and believers view it as allegorical rather than literal." This sentence needs fixing and is dreadfully POV (ie. the majority of scholars and believers -- talk about trying too hard to get ones point across!) I think that the best way to word this, to not belittle one side or over stress the other side, is to write it this way:
There are two popular views of the Genesis account today with regards to how to interpret it, one which understands it to be an accurate record of the creation of the universe, and another which interprets it as being only allegorical.
This is NPOV (see here) and a good lead sentence: ie. It can be fleshed out later in the article (under Interpretive approaches), where each side can present its argument with sources. I will wait a couple of days to make this change in order to allow for discussion here. Cheers, T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 18:59, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Apologies, I've been away for a week. Can I suggest we skip the lead at this point? It's meant to be a summary of the article, so lets' do the article and then finish off by getting a lead that reflects whatever we end up saying. Incidentally, thanks for your very cooperative approach on this. PiCo (talk) 01:39, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
I disagree Pico. True, the lead has to sum up the article, but you need to have it written before you begin -- or else you don't know where you're going to! It it our thesis statement as it were. If needs be, you go back and re-evaluate after you're finished with the article and see if it lines up. Besides, my proposed statement is already a summary of what is in the article (although section 5 needs a little organizing of material). On top of that, it's also still part of the sources problem. T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 02:52, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

This might seem like an odd moment to announce this, but I'm retiring from Wikipedia. Since I work on the computer all day (I'm a writer), the temptation to take a short break with Wiki is always there, and the "short" always seems to turn into long, and those things which ought to get done, don't. So, in the interests of strengthening my always-weak willpower, I's swearing off. Tjbergsma, please carry on, I wish you good luck. PiCo (talk) 13:29, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Hey Tjbergsma, I'm happy to see everything working a little more cooperatively now. With respect to your latest version of the intro, An account of the creation of the universe isn't very precise. There is a lot of tradition and religious themes that are bundled together with creation according to genesis. It goes into a lot more detail than just the creation of the universe too (there are other creation myths that go into a lot less detail, with more general, separate, origin myths explaining other details, unlike creation according to genesis) and so I think we should use the term creation myth in the first sentence, not the second, to get as much of this information conveyed as possible. I think:

Creation according to Genesis is the creation myth found in the first two chapters of the Bible, Genesis 1-2.

does a good job of this. It's a bit more concise, it's clear and an easy read for a first sentence. Thoughts? Cheers, Ben (talk) 01:13, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

If you want to switch the two places and put the myth in the first, and then move the other one down I think would be fine, maybe even preferred. I like the phrase though as "creation myth" will be obscure to some just coming in to read, which is why I put it second. But I can switch it, that's not a bad idea. T Berg Drop a Line ޗ pls 01:22, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Hello, I saw this article in recent changes. I understand the rationale for using the term creation myth but I think that will likely offend readers who interpret "myth" as something untrue or invented. I suggest "creation story" for the first line, while keeping the link to creation myth. LovesMacs (talk) 07:39, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Whether it will offend or not is not a legitimate issue here, as Wikipedia is not censored; the question is whether the word is used accurately and the phrasing is clear. Since the linked article title is not unclear in this instance there is no reason to pipe another phrase alongside it. (Now as you can see, I piped the "Wikipedia is not censored" above, as just having the direct link would be unclear; otherwise the sentence would read Whether it will offend or not is not a legitimate issue here, as WP:CENSOR... That's a legitimate reason to pipe a wikilink, not for fear of offense. Aunt Entropy (talk) 08:33, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Sacred History

Hey, what if at the end of the 2nd paragraph in the lead (which reads: "Creation according to Genesis is similar to Mesopotamian creation myths, differing in that it presents the theological message of Yahwistic monotheism.") we add: "For Jews and Christians this creation account is considered sacred history." (sacred history is one of the categories on this page) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Buckelz (talkcontribs) 17:01, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

That change addresses the concerns I raised earlier about creation myths/creation stories, thank you for suggesting it. LovesMacs (talk) 04:47, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
You seem to be discussing the question of genre, which is important of course. I assume by "sacred history" you mean what I would call mythic history - a story preserving mythic elements (origins, in this case) in the form of narrative history? PiCo (talk) 08:21, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I guess so. I am not really familiar with the term... i just saw the category on the page and a number of edits here led me to the article on sacred history. thanks for your follow up edits in the last few days... :) Buckelz (talk) 01:03, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Myth vs. Account

The change to include the assertion that the Genesis account is a "creation myth", first made a part of the visible text in the opening description of the topic at 22:37 on 26 NOV 2008, is a dogmatic assertion of a non-neutral point of view. The fact that most scholars consider it to be mythical should be established in the body of the article, but not dogmatically asserted in the opening. There are many Bible scholars who consider the Genesis account of creation to be factual and not mythical. While they are clearly in the minority, they are not an insignificant or fringe group. To be sure, there are some scholars who consider anyone who believes the creation account of Genesis to be factual to be unworthy of recognition as scholar, but that is a point of view, too. The battle between those who consider Genesis 1&2 to be mythical and those who consider it to be factual is truly a war of words, with some on each side calling their opponents fools. I suggest that the opening be returned to a neutral description of the topic. WP ought not take sides.RDavS (talk) 15:50, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Just because it is what scholars call a myth doesn't mean it's false. See the definition of myth. Only in casual meaning does it imply a value judgment. It's rather like the difference between the scientific and casual meaning of the word "theory". In casual use, it means "guess" or "idea". In science, it means, solid and well-supported concept. Two totally different implications of the same word. Aunt Entropy (talk) 00:34, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
What if you changed the first sentence to read "Creation according to Genesis is the creation story or creation myth (in the academic sense)..."? LovesMacs (talk) 00:44, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Then we would be obligated to do this for every word that had different formal and colloquial usage, and let's face it, there are many such words in the English language. For all such words, context is important. This is an encyclopedia, and since it is generally assumed that an encyclopedia would be using words in a formal sense, this hardly seems warranted. Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:58, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Would we really have to do all that? I thought that this article was controversial enough to let it be the exception rather than the rule, in order to add some explanation that may not be needed with less hot-button topics. LovesMacs (talk) 01:08, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
The article isn't controversial, in fact it's not special in any way, so giving it special treatment just opens the floodgates as I explained above. I will admit the article is a POV pusher magnet though, and since you're likely still watching the Noah's Ark talk page, you know that's all RDavS is here for - he wants language that is sympathetic to his beliefs, not neutrality. Pandering to him/her isn't going to do the article any good. If, however, you genuinely want Wikipedia to avoid using the term or to have parentheticals explain what sense we use it in, then that is a discussion for WP:NPOV or WP:MOS or something, not one articles talk page. Cheers, Ben (talk) 01:30, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
(I just wanted to explain that when I said this article isn't controversial, I meant mainstream controversy - I don't tend to count fringe groups and pov pushers as adding controversy to a topic. Ben (talk))

Taken over from Talk:Creation#Creation myth vs. Creation account:

Summary of principal meanings of "Myth" as found on, with emphasis illustrating the neutrality of the word in the context of the first book of the Bible, Genesis:

  • from Unabridged (v 1.1):
"A traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, esp. one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature."
  • from American Heritage Dictionary:
"A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society: the myth of Eros and Psyche; a creation myth."
  • from Online Etymology Dictionary:
"Myths are "stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial ... the result is religious legend, not myth." (J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254)"
  • from Wordnet:
"A traditional story accepted as history; serves to explain the world view of a people"
  • from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:
"A story of great but unknown age which originally embodied a belief regarding some fact or phenomenon of experience, and in which often the forces of nature and of the soul are personified; an ancient legend of a god, a hero, the origin of a race, etc.; a wonder story of prehistoric origin; a popular fable which is, or has been, received as historical."

Looks like the word was specially created for this. - DVdm (talk) 07:41, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

  1. ^ Genesis 1:1-2:3
  2. ^ Genesis 2:4-25
  3. ^ Block, Daniel I. (2001). "Recovering the voice of Moses: the genesis of Deuteronomy" (PDF). Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 44 (3): 385–408. Retrieved 2008-02-15. As already noted, in pre-critical Jewish and Christian traditions the predominant interpretation ascribed the authorship of the Pentateuch as a whole and of Deuteronomy in particular to Moses. In fact, many maintained that the entire Torah was dictated by God to Moses, and this remains the position held by many preachers in evangelical churches, not to mention the lay people in the pews—though some would concede that a later writer (perhaps Joshua) may have added Deuteronomy 34. (page 387)  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  4. ^ For a comprehensive overview of the documentary hypothesis, see "Documentary Hypothesis" and "Development of the Documentary Hypothesis", both from the University of Maryland.
  5. ^ Isaac Asimov, In the Beginning...Science Faces God in The Book of Genesis, 1981
  6. ^ Stone 17