Genesis, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.
It is written in Hebrew and, according to the hypothesis most shared by the scholars, its definitive editorial work, by unknown authors, is located in the 6th-5th century BC. in Judea, based on previous oral and written traditions. In the first 11 of his 50 chapters he describes the so-called “biblical prehistory” (creation, original sin, universal flood), and in the rest the history of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel and Joseph whose lives are in the Near East of the 2nd millennium BC.
Genesis presents itself as an etiological work that begins with the creation of the world, and then tells how God created living beings, and ultimately man. It follows the story of the first human beings and hence of the origins of the people of Israel, beginning with the lives of its patriarchs.
Contains, therefore, the historical bases for religious and institutional ideas underlying the state of Israel, and serves as an introduction to its history and its laws, customs and legends.
According to Jewish and Christian tradition, before the spread of the critical method applied to the Bible, the book of Genesis was written by Moses in person in the desert and was completed in 1513 BC. This view is still maintained by some Christian religious confessions more closely linked to the literal interpretation of the Biblical text and the orthodox Judaism.
The book of Genesis is divided into two major sections. The first, corresponding to Chapters 1-11, includes the story of creation and the history of mankind. This story of origins includes six parts:
The story of the first creation uses the seven-day literary scheme. The tale assumes an informal initial state, where darkness and water prevailed.
The story of original sin
If the first two chapters of Genesis in various ways enhance the positiveness of man’s creation and life on earth, the third puts the typical note to every human experience: evil and sin.
Cain and Abel
The story is supposed to be an evolutionary civilization, a cult, other men who could kill Cain, a whole group that will protect him.
The descendant of Cain
After the account of Cain and Abel, Cain’s genealogy is inserted, which essentially expresses this idea: if Cain was the first murderer, he derives all forms of evil that spread on the Earth.
The before the floods patriarchs
The priestly source, which we had abandoned after the story of creation, is now back to describe Adam’s genealogy (the original sin and Abel’s murder is completely ignored) and thus link to Noah’s story at the time of the universal flood.
The universal flood
The essence of the tale remains this: teaching of God’s justice and mercy, of man’s malice and of the righteous salvation. God can not afford to hurt and must cast it down, but at the same time he is sorry for the right, even though he is one.
The tower of Babel
The tower is built according to the canons of the ancient sacred towers (Ziggurat) found in Mesopotamia. In particular, in Babylon the Etemenanki was considered the earthly seat of the supreme god Marduk and the “concierge” of the above heavenly seat. In ancient times, in fact, the kings gave a hearing to the palace or city gate.
The ascendants of Abraham
According to the priestly editor, the look is more and more concentrated: from the generic (Adam’s and Eve’s descendants) to the particular (ascendant of Abraham). Almost to say that God gradually builds up his favorite people, leaving other people’s in the background.
The story of Abraham
The patriarchal history that begins here is a family history: gathering memories of ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
The vocation of Abraham
By breaking down all of his earthly ties, Abraham departs for an unknown country with his sterile wife, for God has called him and promised him a posterity. It is the first act of the faith of Abraham, faith that will be found at the time of the renewal of the ” alliance and sacrifice of Isaac.
The renewal of the alliance
Abraham’s faith is put to the test, the promises are delayed to come to fruition. They are then renewed and sealed by an alliance. The promise of the earth is placed first.
The alliance and circumcision
The alliance this time imposes on man the obligations of moral perfection, a religious bond with God and a positive prescription, circumcision.
The appearance of Mamre and the destruction of Sodom
The appearance of Mamre, where the Lord descends to man in human forms, almost relying on his care, to offer him hope in an impossible believed good, wants to show that the covenant is a great act of love and trust towards ‘man. Notice the human traits with which God manifests, the familiarity of Abraham, his insistence to save Sodom and Gomorrah. The story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah takes perhaps the moves of ancient legends about the end of these cities. From a scientific point of view it can be assumed that cities have been destroyed and subsequently swallowed by the Dead Sea as a result of a greater opening of the fault that runs in those areas.
The birth of Isaac
It is the promise of the promise. He is called Isaac because Sara laughed when he was announced and why his birth was reason enough.
The sacrifice of Isaac
After the successes unexpectedly returns the test. The inexplicable fact is that God asks for the sacrifice of a son, but that he pretends the death of what had been a great reason for hope; so Abraham’s faith is more emphasized. The tale tends to justify why the Jewish people do not foresee human sacrifices. He also offers the explanation for the ransom and not the sacrifice of the firstborn, as all the first fruits were foreseen for the Lord. Instead of Isaac Abraham will sacrifice to God an animal.
The two sons of Isaac: Jacob and Esau
The struggle of the two children in the maternal breast presumes the hostility of the two people’s brothers: the descending idumees of Esau and the Israelite descendants of Jacob. The idumees will be assured by David and for a while they will remain under Jewish rule. It can be troubled by the dishonest fashion with which Jacob carps the birthright to his brother Esau. But one can see how the Lord also uses human deception to carry out his designs of salvation for the Jewish people.
Jacob carps the father’s blessing
It’s a story boasting Jacob’s cunning. In his final editorial, the pride for cunning is blurred by discreet reproach for Rebecca’s cunning and piety for Esau. The blessings that Jacob and Esau receive do not refer to them as much as to the people’s who have come out of them.
Jacob promises Abraham promises. The stairway rising to the sky reminds the Mesopotamian Ziqqurat. Stone locates the presence of God: it becomes a betel (house of God, or, more spiritually, a door of heaven). Raising the stone and pouring oil on top are ancient cultural gestures that later will be repudiated by Jewish tradition and will be considered idolaters.
The story of Joseph
This story takes place without God’s visible intervention, without new revelation, as opposed to all other parts of Genesis. It presents itself as whole as a teaching explicitly expressed at the end of the story.
Genesis, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.
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