Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Who else?

At this point, we must inquire as to the nature of the author’s knowledge. Did the Eden author have only a general awareness of the manufacture of divine statues and of the ritual means by which they were created, or is there any indication in Gen 2:5–3:24 that he knew the mouth-washing and mouth-opening texts firsthand? The connections among the mīs pî pīt pî, the wpt-r, and Gen 2:5–3:24, discussed above (§§4.7, 4.8), do, I contend indicate a historical relationship. They suggest that the Eden author not only knew how divine statues were made but understood the ritual means by which they were activated. Unlike our analysis of the relationship between the mīs pî pīt pî and the wpt-r, in which we had no explicit evidence of contact between the two sources, there is one feature of Gen 2:5–3:24 in particular that indicates that the Eden author had personal knowledge of the pīt pî (and/or the wpt-r), as Dick argued for Second Isaiah (§1.3). As discussed already in §4.7.1, the creation and then placement of the first human in a sacred (temple-) garden is unparalleled among human creation stories from the ancient Near East. The Sumerian and Babylonian accounts set newly created humankind in the cities where they were assigned the tasks of building shrines and digging canals. Who, in the ancient Near East, was animated and fed in a sacred garden? Whose eyes were opened as a means to divinity? In other words, because Adam is animated, placed/installed and fed in a sacred garden, possibly crowned with glory, and through the opening of his eyes he becomes like God (ʾelōhîm), his creation seems to be more closely aligned with the creation of divine images in the mīs pî pīt pî than with the humans that we see, for example, in the Sumerian stories of “Enki and Ninma ” and the “Song of the Hoe,” and in the Babylonian Atraḫasis Epic and Enūma Eliš, despite Adam’s creation from the dust of the ground in Gen 2:7. When viewed in their current context and as a whole, Gen 2:8–14, 15, 25, and 3:5, 7, recall the rituals for the creation, animation, and installation of a divine image from Mesopotamia and Egypt. The fact that we do not have an overt reference to the mouth-washing or mouth-opening ceremonies in Gen 2:5–3:24 should not prevent us from asserting the possibility, although not the certainty, of an historic relationship among the texts.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, pages 175–76

<idle musing>
Yes! I agree! And it puts a whole new light on the imago dei, doesn't it? The author(s) knew what they were doing! We need a "thicker" theology of what it means to be in the image of God, and this helps. Now I just need time to read The Imago Dei as Human Identity. . .
</idle musing>

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