Genesis Lecture 1

The Theology of the Pentateuch
Lecture 1
The theology of the pentateuch
Lecture #1
A theology of the Pentateuch, or any part or book of the Bible must give careful
consideration to the setting of the original composition:
o time;
o place;
o situation;
o author and
o final canonical form and function.
This is especially true of the Pentateuch. Why?
o regarded by both Jews and Christians as containing the theological foundation of
both the Old and New Testaments;
o these five books contain the fountainhead of theological inquiry
Historical Background (Ancient Near East)
The Creation Story
o Babylonian and Ugaritic texts have creation stories. (Enuma Elish)
 The god Marduk’s victory over the sea monster Tiamat and forms the
heaven and earth from her dead body.
 Humans are formed from the blood of her consort, Qinqu, and the clay of
the earth
o The polemic of Genesis 1-2 is clearly demonstrated when compared with the
Babylonian creation myth.
Creation is a result of divine sexual
God is sovereign, self-sufficient, and
activity and conflict.
Creation comes from preexistent stuff
Creation is from nothing
The Flood Story (Gilgamesh Epic)
o Similarities
 divine anger leads to global destruction by means of a flood;
 one human being and his family escape by building an ark;
 animals are brought into the ark;
 after the waters recede the ark comes to rest upon a mountain;
 birds are released to determine if it is safe to leave the ark;
 a sacrifice is given after leaving the ark.
o Contrasts
 the conflict of the gods regarding the flood;
 the fear of the gods when the flood waters rise;
BIB2303 Pentateuch – Genesis
Page 1
The Theology of the Pentateuch
Lecture 1
the “second guessing” of the gods because of their dependence upon
human sacrifices for food.
Patriarchal Narratives
o Contemporary Nuzi and Mari tablets which shed light on the customs and laws of
the time period of the patriarchs.
o Genesis 15:16
 Ugaritic texts document that the gods the Amorites worshipped degraded
themselves in violent atrocities and sexual promiscuity.
 The problem? People emulate what they worship!
o Genesis 15:17
 A clause from an ancient Assyrian text1:
“This head is not the head of a lamb, it is the head of Mati’lu [his sons,
officials and people]. If Mati’lu sins against this treaty, so may, just as the
head of this spring lamb is torn off….the head of Mati’lu be torn off, and
his sons.”
 The one making the covenant could expect the same fate as the animal if
he broke the covenant.
in the strictest sense the Torah is anonymous – no where do these five books explicitly
claim that Moses is the author
however the Bible affirms Mosaic authorship:
o Ex. 17:14; 24:4
o Num. 33:1-2
o Deut. 31:9
o Josh. 1:8
o 2 Kings 21:8
o Nehemiah 13:1
o Matt. 19:7; 22:24
o Mark 7:10; 12:26
o John 1:17; 5:46; 7:23
Documentary Hypothesis (JEDP Theory)
o J – Use of the covenant name Jehovah
 relationship between God in heaven and man on earth
 the use of anthropomorphisms for God
 begins in Genesis 2 and found throughout Pentateuch though not found
often in Deuteronomy
“Treaty Between Ashurnirari V of Assyria and Mati’ilu of Arphad,” Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old
Testament. Edited by J. B. Pritchard, 3d ed. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1969), 532.
BIB2303 Pentateuch – Genesis
Page 2
The Theology of the Pentateuch
Lecture 1
o E – Use of the more generic name for God, “elohim”
 focuses more on religious and moralistic concerns
 more fragmentary
 occurs in Genesis 15 through Numbers 12
 a few passages in Deuteronomy
o D – Deuteronomic
 identified as the document found in the temple during the reign of Josiah
(2 Kings 22-23)
 portrays what an ideal Israel would be
o P – Priestly source
 concerns include chronology, genealogy, ritual, worship, and law
 material is believed to be post-exilic
 emphasizes obedience to the law
 extensive throughout Genesis through Numbers
 a few portions in Deuteronomy
o “P” is considered the most important redactor (editor). J was first joined with E
followed by D and finally P in the post-exilic period. This view, in its original
form, is no longer held by the majority of liberal scholars. While its popularity
lasted nearly 200 years, it does demonstrated how humanity will do intellectual
gymnastics to explain away God.
o Certainly the Pentateuch had redactors which constituted the final product (see Dt.
34), however based upon the testimony of the Scriptures, and Jesus himself, the
Pentateuch was written by Moses.
The Pentateuch as Literature
the term “Pentateuch” reflects the size of the composition – consists of five scrolls
more accurate and informative term is “Torah”
o means “instruction”
o the purpose of the Pentateuch was to educate Israel regarding:
 the general meaning of creation and history
 Israel’s specific function in the world
o the Pentateuch answers these questions for the people of Israel:
 Where did we come from?
 Why were we called by Yahweh?
 What was the meaning of the covenant?
 What were God’s requirements for His redeemed people in civil, moral,
and cultic (worship) regulations?
 What does their future entail?
a collection of diverse writings
o story, poetry, narrative, prescription, and exhortation
BIB2303 Pentateuch – Genesis
Page 3
The Theology of the Pentateuch
Lecture 1
 Genesis – narrative and genealogy
 Exodus – narrative and legal prescription and regulation
 Leviticus – cultic instruction (regulations for worship)
 Numbers – mixed genre but clearly narrative
 Deuteronomy – Moses’ farewell speech
o diverse writings with one objective: that Israel might be instructed as to her
meaning and purpose
The Theological Center
Genesis 1:26-28
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have
dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and
over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God
created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female
created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the
sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
“as our image” / “according to our likeness”
man is not in the image of God, he is the image of God
not what man is like but what he is to be and do
it is a functional statement
includes both genders
man/woman as the image of God was created to represent God Himself as the
sovereign over all creation
Support Texts
o Genesis 2:19-20 – the naming of the animals
o Psalm 8
BIB2303 Pentateuch – Genesis
Page 4