Book of Genesis - Structure

Structure

Genesis appears to be structured around the recurring phrase elleh toledot, meaning "these are the generations," with the first use of the phrase referring to the "generations of heaven and earth" and the remainder marking individuals—Noah, the "sons of Noah", Shem, etc., down to Jacob. It is not clear, however, what this meant to the original authors, and most modern commentators divide it into two parts based on subject matter, a "primeval history" (chapters 1–11) and a "patriarchal history" (chapters 12–50). While the first is far shorter than the second, it sets out the basic themes and provides an interpretive key for understanding the entire book. The "primeval history" has a symmetrical structure hinged around chapter 6–9, the flood story, with the events before the flood mirrored by the events after. The "patriarchal history" recounts the events of the major patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom God reveals himself and to whom the promise of descendants and land is made, while the story of Joseph serves to take the Israelites into Egypt in preparation for the next book, Exodus.

Read more about this topic:  Book Of Genesis

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Famous quotes containing the word structure:

    The structure was designed by an old sea captain who believed that the world would end in a flood. He built a home in the traditional shape of the Ark, inverted, with the roof forming the hull of the proposed vessel. The builder expected that the deluge would cause the house to topple and then reverse itself, floating away on its roof until it should land on some new Ararat.
    —For the State of New Jersey, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)

    One theme links together these new proposals for family policy—the idea that the family is exceedingly durable. Changes in structure and function and individual roles are not to be confused with the collapse of the family. Families remain more important in the lives of children than other institutions. Family ties are stronger and more vital than many of us imagine in the perennial atmosphere of crisis surrounding the subject.
    Joseph Featherstone (20th century)

    The syntactic component of a grammar must specify, for each sentence, a deep structure that determines its semantic interpretation and a surface structure that determines its phonetic interpretation.
    Noam Chomsky (b. 1928)