Thursday, November 17, 2011

The solid sky

“For the Israelites, as with everyone else in the ancient world, the solid sky is a material piece of the cosmos, though the Egyptian portrayal of it as a god (Nut) and the Babylonian portrayal of it as part of the divided body of Tiamat warn us against a view that is too material. Instead of objectifying this water barrier, we should focus on the important, twofold cosmic function that it played. The first role of the rāqīʿa was to create the space in which people could live; the second, and more relevant function for the context of Genesis 1, was to be a mechanism by which precipitation was controlled—the means by which rain and precipitation operated. Order in the cosmos (for people especially) depended on the right amount of precipitation. Too little, and starvation resulted; too much, and damaging flooding occurred. The cosmic waters posed a continual threat, and the rāqīʿa was created to establish cosmic order.”— Genesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology, pages 160-161

<idle musing>
While you are reading this, I am likely flying through that solid sky on my way to San Francisco and AAR/SBL. Hopefully, we won't hit anything solid :)
</idle musing>

No comments: