Kennedy on why Genesis 1 is before Genesis 2

For those who look at the title of the post and scratch their head – I’ll help. Compilers and redactors placed together sections in the order in which they appear. Kennedy believes that the reason which the creation account in Genesis 1 has been chosen over the creation account in Genesis 2 is because of something very intrinsic to human nature:

Taking the Bible as we have it, the evidence begins with the first chapter of Genesis, where the creation is described not in terms of God’s actions, but of speech: “And God said, ‘Let their be light’; and there was light.” In contrast to this creation by enunciation, the second chapter records a different tradition in God acts, forming man, for example, out of the dust of the ground. Whoever put the first chapter first had a strong sense of the power of speech and in particular of the authoritative speech of God. (p121)

 

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3 Replies to “Kennedy on why Genesis 1 is before Genesis 2”

  1. This is interesting. How does Kennedy link this pre-eminent divine speech to the redactor’s own manipulation of collected traditions of God’s recorded words? I’m not being totally cynical here but in the 2nd temple Judaism there is the sense that the interpretation of divine speech/scripture is itself a divinely guided act.

    I also think that the sequence of the creation stories in Genesis is quite effective as the more cosmic P narrative evokes a sense of order, goodness, and regularity as a primary aspect of creation and nature. This, of course, goes off the rails in Gen. 2 but the essentially good creation is the underlying reality, the timeless “truth” of it all to which humanity (and God, perhaps) is struggling to regain.

    I’ve never been satisfied with the view that redactors and glossators were on the whole hacks who had no sense of rhetoric or literary insight. Some glosses might by ill-placed or interrupt things, but in many cases the results can be really quite powerful.

    1. I am learning that Kennedy has a lot to teach me. I am currently using his book as a backdrop into my view that Mark 5.1-20 was a memisis of an act by the Roman Emperor. You are correct, I think – the redactors, compilers and the such weren’t feeble-minded.

      As to your first question, I’m not really sure. I am still reading it.

      Do you think we’ll ever (re)gain it?

  2. I’m not sure it is there to regain, but as an ideal it is a very powerful conception.

    This is, I think, the strength of much of the Christian conception of the world and ethics: the ideal is there, people cannot attain it by themselves, but it is still worth the attempt. The impossibility of goal is no obstacle to the value in trying to attain it.

    What I think makes it work is that in a sense the goal can be reached down here in this dirty old world with its failed people through developing attitudes and social behaviour accordingly. I’m thinking here of the beatitudes, of course and the “kingdom of God.”
    I’m no historian of Christian theology and I don’t know the NT that well, but it seems to be the way an awful lot of Christians try to live, and I’m rather grateful to them for it.

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