The Formation of Genesis 1-11: Biblical and Other Precursors

November 1, 2020
The Formation of Genesis 1-11: Biblical and Other Precursors

There is general agreement in the field of Biblical studies thatstudy of the formation of the Pentateuch is in disarray. David M.Carr turns to the Genesis Primeval History, Genesis 1-11, to offermodels for the formation of Pentateuchal texts that may havetraction within this fractious context. Building on two centuriesof historical study of Genesis 1-11, this book provides new supportfor the older theory that the bulk of Genesis 1-11 was created outof a combination of two originally separate source strata: aPriestly source and an earlier non-Priestly source that was used tosupplement the Priestly framework. Though this overall approachcontradicts some recent attempts to replace such source models withtheories of post-Priestly scribal expansion, Carr does findevidence of multiple layers of scribal revision in the non-P and Psources, from the expansion of an early independent non-Priestlyprimeval history with a flood narrative and related materials to alimited set of identifiable layers of Priestly material thatculminate in the P-like redaction of the whole. This booksynthesizes prior scholarship to show how both the P andnon-Priestly strata of Genesis also emerged out of a complexinteraction by Judean scribes with non-biblical literarytraditions, particularly with Mesopotamian textual traditions aboutprimeval origins. The Formation of Genesis 1-11 makes a significantcontribution to scholarship on one of the most important texts inthe Hebrew Bible and will influence models for the formation of theHebrew Bible as a whole.