Talk:Genesis flood narrative

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Move to Genesis flood myth[edit]

This page is acknowledged to be a flood myth. As it is not different than any other flood myth on Wikipedia, we should move this page to Genesis flood myth.

jps (talk) 12:26, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Agree - - MrBill3 (talk) 20:16, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

  • Agree - Or at the very least, rename to "Abrahamic flood myth" and include material from the Book of Enoch, midrashim, the Quran, and other sources. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:20, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:COMMONNAME (1,070 Google Books hits to 10) and also oppose Ian Thomson's suggestion of changing the scope of the article to include other, conflicting, narratives. -- 101.117.56.15 (talk) 23:27, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
So oppose including more knowledge out of some idea that one narrative is some sort of scientific truth and the others aren't worth studying? Ian.thomson (talk) 00:12, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
Like in Noah in Islam and all the bluelinked entries here: List of flood myths?— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 13:50, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
How would that not be suggesting that Genesis's version of the extremely common flood myth is a known historical fact and the only authentic version? Ian.thomson (talk) 13:36, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you that it shouldn't be called that, but really, it wouldn't suggest that it's a known historical fact. Zondervan's dictionary can call it that because it's a bible dictionary, so all the entries are assumed by default to be in the bible. We're not a bible dictionary, so we don't have that luxury. But there's nothing about the words that suggest fact. We could (although I'm not suggesting this as the current title is better) call it "The flood in the Bible" without making any assertions of existence. That would be parallel to Zondervan for Wikipedia. Cf. Unicorn, rather than Unicorn (mythological animal).— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 13:46, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Opppose The article is about the narrative. See arguments ad infinitum in various locations.— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 13:28, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
No. It is about the narrative's content, which is the Genesis flood myth. ♆ CUSH ♆ 06:03, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Opppose I'd be okay with Flood of Noah, but I think the current title is best.

How about Genesis flood myth narrative? That will cover all elements fairly and clearly? Wdford (talk) 08:26, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

If you want to cover everything, it'd have to be Genesis flood myth story/narrative in Genesis. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 15:09, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Agree Nothing speaks against calling a myth a myth. Other flood stories are also titled myths on WP (or dare I say denigrated?), so why make an exception for this one? WP has to stop bowing to religionist editors. ♆ CUSH ♆ 13:25, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
That would suggest an actual flood. ♆ CUSH ♆ 04:50, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
@Cush: the way dragon and John Rambo suggest an actual things/people? Conciseness is one of our naming criteria. VQuakr (talk) 17:55, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
Given the number of religious nutjobs (including WP editors) who think there was an actual flood, removing the myth qualifier from the title is problematic. It is bad enough that we have the "narrative" crap instead of "myth" in the title. ♆ CUSH ♆ 18:55, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
Can you reframe your response in the context of our naming policy? "Nutjobs" does not appear in WP:NAMINGCRITERA. VQuakr (talk) 19:39, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Opppose There is nothing wrong with the current title. The story of Noah is indeed a narrative. We could instead change the other flood myths to narratives if we need to balance out the religions. Their capacity as "flood myths" are told within the first paragraph.68.100.116.118 (talk) 01:28, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Major revisions reverted, but, yes, the article does need work.[edit]

I've undone some edits by PiCo. I feel that the article Genesis flood narrative does need work, yes, but I don't support major rewriting without first discussing here. This is an important article, many people have contributed. Furthermore, some of the edits by PiCo also resulted in the removal of interesting and useful citations to source material. So, with this message, I would like to encourage discussion. Thanks, Isambard Kingdom (talk) 13:45, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

Thanks Isambard, for having the fortitude to call PiCo’s shots. I think you need to understand PiCo’s worldview regarding issues related to the Bible, and his seeming inability to address in an adequate manner views that differ from his own. Consider, for example, the dismissive comment that he gives when deleting the discussion of the chiasm of the Biblical Flood Account. This is, in my opinion, the most elegant chiasmus in all the Biblical literature, and one of the most sophisticated from any source in the ancient world. Just on this basis, therefore, it has every right to be included in a page dedicated to the Genesis Flood narrative. Why then censor it as something the general reader should not be allowed to see?
I think the answer to that question is because it does not fit the old JEDP theory. This was formulated in the 19th century before the literary conventions of the Ancient Near East were well understood. In particular, chiasmus in the Bible was not really appreciated until Lund’s work in 1942. Modern scholarship has gone on greatly since then, and there have been many, many studies analyzing chiasms in the Bible. Some authors seen chiasms where, in my opinion, they were not really the intent of the author, but nevertheless there have been many valid and helpful modern studies dealing with chiasmus in the Bible.
From what I have seen of PiCo’s edits, his viewpoint is locked into what agrees with the original version of the Documentary Hypothesis, which is now outdated even in the non-conservative literature. The repetitions in the Flood account have always been a major tenet of the Documentary Hypothesis. I asked PiCo on the Talk Page for “Darius the Mede” which conservative authors he has read regarding the issue under discussion; he has not answered this. When I put in views by respected conservative scholars he deleted them because it was not “Mainstream”, i.e. in accordance with his viewpoint. He put in the statement that there are no historical references to Daniel’s Darius (the Mede), even though I had put in previously two ancient references to such, along with citations of their discussion in conservative writers. He deleted all this; it is not mentioned in his ‘mainstream’ sources.
Notice also the method of stating something as a fact, and which the reader is meant to take as a fact, but then putting a reference on the end to ‘establish’ that fact. Example: “The Flood narrative is a composite of two different stories, or sources, which scholars call the Jahwist and the Priestly source. Two different reasons are given . . .” At the end of this is a reference to Coffer. But PiCo did not write “Coffer has the opinion, shared by many other scholars, that the Flood narrative is a composite . . .”. Instead, the composite nature from two different sources is presented as a fact; just because Cotter is cited at the end does not change this. It was intended to be read as a fact; otherwise Cotter’s statement would have been put in quotes. This is part of his agenda to present as ‘fact’ that the reader must accept what is instead only a scholarly opinion, while at the same time not allowing the expression of good scholarship that differs from this, and which the general reader has a right to see.
The same agenda is being carried out on other Wikipedia pages, including the pages for the books of the Pentateuch. Only one viewpoint is being presented as the “scholarly” or “mainstream” understanding. I could wish that Larry Sanger, who is an alumnus of Reed College like I am, were still on board at Wikipedia. If he were, I could then hope that the Wikipedia principles of fairness and the guidelines for conduct, that are really well written, would be enforced in an impartial manner. If they were, then there is enough evidence from what PiCo is currently doing to issue a warning and if it is not heeded, to ban him from further edits in the areas where his agenda prevents a fair presentation of scholarly opinion. But since nothing has been done, it looks like he has the sanction of the moderators, one of whom says that he knows more about the Bible than you or I do.
Thanks again, Isambard, for having the courage to do what you have done. I hope you aren’t banned because of it. But back to the issue of just one item, the chiastic structure of the whole Biblical flood narrative. The proper thing for PiCo to do, if more modern discoveries do not fit into his paradigm, is to cite an author who refutes Wenham’s presentation of the Flood chiasm. It’s obvious that it strikes at the heart of the JEDP theory, as do other more recent studies of ancient literature. I myself had thought of including Emerton’s attempt to answer Wenham. However, this boiled down to Emerton saying that if he had created the chiasm he would have done it in a different way than the author did. But maybe PiCo has found someone else who had a more reasoned answer than Emerton was capable of; let him present what they say, and not just say “Mainstream scholarship” does not agree with Wenham. And then I can quote more conservative scholarship that does agree with Wenham, and which establishes that here we have the most exquisite chiasm in all of the Biblical literature, and it’s just too bad if that disagrees with the very basis of JEDP (of course I’ll say it nicer than that).
I am also waiting for PiCo’s explanation of which conservative scholars he has read (before I asked him) on the issues where he is trying to marginalize views that do not agree with his own. For example, he has read Rowley, Collins and Newsom on the Book of Daniel, but which conservative commentaries had he read? Newsom is editor of Vetus Testamentum, and so any articles there will usually agree with her opinions. According to an investigation of a few years ago, Vetus Testamentum was distributed to 562 libraries worldwide. Compare that with the conservative journal Bibliotheca Sacra, the oldest theological journal in the Americas; it was distributed to 930 libraries worldwide. It is this kind of conservative scholarship which has made many important contributions, including that of Wenham, and which should not be excluded or censored, but should be given a fair hearing. If not, it will be clear that Wikipedia does not represent the even playing field envisioned by Sanger. PiCo, which conservative authors have you read, not just read as filtered through Collins etc.? How do you justify deleting sound scholarship like that of Wenham on this page, or (on the Darius the Mede page) that of Keil, Zockler, and Anderson? I hope you don’t consider it impolite to ask these two questions of you. I think their answer will help us to understand whether or not we are on a level playing field, and the moderator will not just say I am being too wordy. These are real concerns to me and others too.Chronic2 (talk) 18:59, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
Chronic2, I'm only one person who (because of his/her family upbringing) has (actually) read the Bible. My contributions, such as they have been, are based in that reading. More generally, I find the scholarly work surrounding the Bible to be very interesting, but I don't have strong opinions about any one particular scholarly interpretation of the texts. I can, however, look at this article on the Genesis flood narrative and see that it needs work. But since, I've previously edited the article, and since I just made some bold intervention, here, I'm hoping for discourse with other editors. Can you weigh in with specific suggestions regarding how this article might be improved? Thanks, Isambard Kingdom (talk) 20:42, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
Let's support sound scholarship that Chronic2 points out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.107.2.179 (talk) 03:52, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

I also just removed the voluminous and POV material, including New Testament material, on chiastic structures introduced by Chronic2. I can imagine that discussion of chiastic structure might find a place, in here, but I'm not sure. The early books of the Bible are quite a jumble of material. Anyway, if someone introduces encyclopedic material, then that would be great. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 12:46, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

I think it is a shame that the material added by Chronic2 was deleted. Anyone who knows biblical Hebrew and the structures that exist within the text of Genesis 1-11 is extremely well aware that there are chiastic structures used throughout, including separate chiasms for both the luminaries of Gen 1, the flood narrative, and the noahic covenant narrative, just to name a few. Chronic2's contribution should not be deleted; it should be expanded upon.99.225.250.138 (talk) 16:32, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
Of course there's a chiastic structure there, it's widely accepted. My objection isn't to that, it's to devoting so much space to it. The fact merely needs to be mentioned, and its significance noted. PiCo (talk) 03:07, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

Remove Islam and Yazidi sections[edit]

Can I suggest that these two be hived off as separate articles? This is called the GENESIS flood narrative, and there's no Book of Genesis in either of those two religions. (There are links, yes, but the differences are very great).PiCo (talk) 07:09, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

I see that we have the article Noah in Islam, and the material in Genesis flood narrative article is, I suppose, partially redundant with material in that article. I have no familiarity with Yazidi (I've "corrected" the spelling of the title of this talk page subsection!). Of course, the Genesis flood narrative is important for many reasons: obviously, as part of Jewish history and mythology, but also because the narrative has influenced other religions (including the art and literature associated with those religions). It has also influenced "science", but I know you are not, now, proposing that that material be removed. My point, however, is that the Genesis flood narrative does not exist in isolation, as just part of Genesis, but, rather, it exists in a greater context. I can imagine that many readers will come to this article because they are familiar with the Genesis flood narrative from their readings within those other contexts, including reading the subsequent depiction of the story in the Quran. Shouldn't we retain some of this greater context? If the Islam section is removed, then I think the cited material should be incorporated into Noah in Islam. I would not know what to do about Yazidi. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 13:14, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
Looking at them again I don't think there's enough there for either of them to become articles. I know where the material came from - both were in the old Noah's Ark article before it got split in two a few years ago. Prior to that, the source for the Muslim material is probably Cohen's book or else the Jewish Encyclopedia, but I have no idea where the Yazidi comes from. My inclination is to remove them as sections (they're too short) and assimilate them into the article - but only if it can be shown from sources that both or either are based on the Genesis story. (That's not necessarily a given - the Yazidi stuff could be from Babylonian sources, and the Koranic is almost certainly from Jewish legends circulating in Arabia in the 6th century rather than direct from Genesis).PiCo (talk) 15:11, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
I agree that there is not enough content in each paragraph to be a separate article. I think, however, a more encompassing section within this article, one that accommodates the general topic how what is the Genesis narrative came to be represented by other religions, might serve as a place for other editors to contribute additional content. Otherwise, how would you assimilate the Islam and Yazidi material into the rest of the article? Perhaps the Yazidi material might just be removed? Just asking, and thank you. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 18:13, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
To be frank I've never come across anything on that subject. I have come across some mentions of the formation of the Koran, but they tend to be very general. This is a very specialised area. I can have a look.PiCo (talk) 23:34, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
Let's let give it a week or so, allowing other editors a chance to weigh in. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 01:55, 15 October 2015 (UTC)