Book of Genesis - 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:

    Why does philosophy use concepts and why does faith use symbols if both try to express the same ultimate? The answer, of course, is that the relation to the ultimate is not the same in each case. The philosophical relation is in principle a detached description of the basic structure in which the ultimate manifests itself. The relation of faith is in principle an involved expression of concern about the meaning of the ultimate for the faithful.
    Paul Tillich (1886–1965)

    In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government.
    James Madison (1751–1836)

    Agnosticism is a perfectly respectable and tenable philosophical position; it is not dogmatic and makes no pronouncements about the ultimate truths of the universe. It remains open to evidence and persuasion; lacking faith, it nevertheless does not deride faith. Atheism, on the other hand, is as unyielding and dogmatic about religious belief as true believers are about heathens. It tries to use reason to demolish a structure that is not built upon reason.
    Sydney J. Harris (1917–1986)