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A NEW GLIMPSE OF DAY ONE:
AN INTERTEXTUAL HISTORY OF GENESIS 1.1-5
IN HEBREW AND GREEK TEXTSUP TO 200 CE BY SAMUEL D. GIERE DEGREE
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYSUBMITTED 22 MAY 2006 ST MARY’S COLLEGE
UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS
This is achieved, at least in part, by identifying and tracing flags that may draw the reader from one text to another.
In this study these flags are called ‘intertextual markers’ and may be individual words, word-pairs, or small phrases that occur relatively infrequently within the corpus of texts being examined. The thesis first explores the intertextuality of Genesis 1.1-5 in the confines of the Hebrew Bible and the Septuagint. The second half of the thesis identifies and explores the intertexts of Day One in other Hebrew texts (e.g. the Dead Sea Scrolls, Sirach) and other Greek texts (e.g. Philo, the New Testament) up to c. 200 CE. The thesis concludes with a summation of some of the more prominent and surprising threads in this intertextual ‘tapestry’ of Day One. These summary threads include observations within the texts in a given language and acomparative look at the role of language in the intertextual history of Day One.
JBL Journal of Biblical Literature JECS Journal of Early Christian Studies JJS Journal of Jewish Studies JNES Journal of Near Eastern Studies JNSL Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages JQR Jewish Quarterly Review JSJ Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods JSJSup Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods: Supplement Series JSOT Journal for the Study of the Old Testament JSOTSup Journal for the Study of the Old Testament: Supplement Series JSP Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha JSS Journal of Semitic Studies JSSMS Journal of Semitic Studies Monograph Series JTS Journal of Theological Studies Judaism Judaism LCL Loeb Classical Library LDSS Literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls LEC Library of Early Christianity Liddell, H.G., R. Scott, and H.S. Jones, A Greek-English Lexicon. 9th edition with revised LSJ supplement. Oxford, 1996.
NCB New Century Bible NTS New Testament Studies Mils Milltown Studies OstSt Ostkirchlichen Studien OTL Old Testament Library OTP Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Edited by J. H. Charlesworth. 2 vols. New York, 1983.
OtSt Oudtestamentische Studiën PVTG Pseudepigrapha Veteris Testamenti Graece RB Revue Biblique RevQ Revue de Qumran RHR Revue de l'Histoire des Religions SBLDS Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series SBLMS Society of Biblical Literature Monograph Series SBLSCS Society of Biblical Literature Septuagint and Cognate Studies SBLTCS Society of Biblical Literature Text Critical Studies SBT Studies in Biblical Theology SDSSRL Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature – ix –
ABBREVIATIONSSemeia Semeia SJT Scottish Journal of Theology STDJ Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah StPB Studia post-biblica SVTP Studia in Veteris Testamenti pseudepigraphica Tarbiz Tarbiz Text Textus TSAJ Texte und Studien zum antiken Judentum TynBul Tyndale Bulletin VC Vigiliae christianae VD Verbum domini VT Vetus Testamentum VTSup Vetus Testamentum Supplements WBC Word Bible Commentary ZAW Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft OTHER
This thesis has grown out of my commitment to and interest in the on-going lives of texts in both Synagogue and Church. In 1997, I completed a Masters Thesis at Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, USA, that explored the possibility of a midrashic relationship between Leviticus 19 and the New Testament book of James. While the results of the thesis were not earth-shattering, during the process of writing I began thinking about the hermeneutical process of the engagement of scripture with scripture1 and engagement of the reader with scripture.2 This curiosity about the hermeneutical process was only further peaked during my experience as a parish pastor, in particular reading texts with parishioners and colleagues. To these, my fellow readers, I owe a great deal.
This current project grew out of my own interests in interpretation and conversations with my doctoral supervisor, Dr. James R. Davila, to whom I owe gratitude for his guidance throughout this project and for whom I have great admiration as a scholar who embodies integrity to both text and academy.
I have also benefited from the collegial relationships that I have enjoyed during the writing of this thesis.
Over the past two years, I have enjoyed the collegiality of and conversations with colleagues in the Religion Department of Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, USA, whose hospitality has been most appreciated. Also, my pub chats with the likes of Richard Goodrich, Tony Clark, Bruce Hansen, Tim Gombis, Ed Russell, Andrew Rawnsley, Don Collette and the like have borne some intellectual fruit and granted some intellectual release.
Throughout this process I have come to appreciate more fully the profound value of the librarian. The hospitality and helpfulness of Colin Bovaird and Lynda Kinloch at the King James Library, St Mary’s College, made work and life more enjoyable. Also, for nearly the past three years I have worked out of the Carl B. Ylvisaker Library, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, USA. While the Ylvisaker Library is not a research library, Leah Anderson by way of interlibrary loan has greatly helped the completion of this project, and for this deserves my thanks. And to those who make institutions work – Debbie Smith, Susan Millar, and Margot Clement at St Mary’s, and Mary Thornton at Concordia – many thanks.
I have also like to thank those who have encouraged and supported me and my family during this period of study. Financially, I would like to thank the Division for Education of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in particular the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Strandjord, the foundation of Elim Lutheran Church, Fargo, North Dakota, and Dennis and Sandy Giere, my father and step-mother, all for their financial support during our time in Scotland. As much, I would like to thank Dale and Ann Current, my in-laws, who by their help with childcare and general moral support have made the completion of this thesis possible and have lightened the trauma that these things can cause on families.
I owe my greatest gratitude to my wife, Amy Current, for her careful reading, helpful critique, and constant companionship, and to our children, Isaac Oban and Shonagh Josephine. They have endured long hours away, M. Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, (Oxford: Clarendon, 1985).
D. Boyarin, Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash, (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990).
uncertainty, and the general grind. To them I extend my heartfelt thankfulness and love, and it is to them that I dedicate this work.
Finally, while the work and ideas of many come together in this study, any and all errors are mine.
INTRODUCTION0.1 Some initial thoughts To say the least, Genesis 1.1-5 or Day One contains just a small slice of the vastness of language or langue (Saussure), though to say ‘contains’ is not altogether accurate. While words that occur inside the boundaries of Gen 1.1-5 are to a degree controlled by syntactical relationships therein, controls that help the reader understand, words are not solely limited to or by their context. Ontologically and epistemologically, words spill out of and into text, all within the mind of the reader – the interpreter.1 For as much as Gen 1.1-5 ‘contains’ a word, the reader of the word seeks to understand it within the expansive sea of words and texts available.2 Words, and the texts which they comprise, ‘live’ in this dynamic, multidimensional, infinite (?) conversation between (con)text, reader, and intertexts.3 This study explores the intertextuality of Genesis 1.1-5 in Hebrew and Greek texts up to c. 200 CE.
0.2 Intertextuality As exemplified by the epigraph from the pen of Timothy Beal,4 intertextuality and (especially) its implementation within a history of interpretation may elicit questions of validity and/or viability. What role can intertextuality play? Is intertextuality a method? How can intertextuality be useful without digressing ad infinitum?
What follows is an explanation of my understanding of intertextuality and an argument for its viability in such an
H.-G. Gadamer, Truth and Method, (trans. J. Weinsheimer and D.G. Marshall; 2nd revised ed.; New York:
Continuum, 1996), thinking about ‘word’ in the context of the relation of the divine and the human word, writes:
‘Whereas God expresses his nature and substance in the Word in pure immediacy, every thought that we think (and therefore every word in which the thought expresses itself) is a mere accident of the mind. The word of human thought is directed toward the thing, but it cannot contain it as a whole within itself. Thus thought constantly proceeds to new conceptions and is fundamentally incapable of being wholly realized in any. This incapacity for completeness has a positive side: it reveals the true infinity of the mind, which constantly surpasses itself in a new mental process and in doing so also finds the freedom for constantly new projects.’ (425-426) ‘Reading is an active organization of readers’ awareness of the various elements in the text. Readers use their entire corpus of knowledge (linguistic, cultural, and literary) constructed from previous readings and life experiences that formed the associations and connotations and serve as a basis for intertextual reading.’ I. ElkadLehman, “Spinning a Tale: Intertextuality and Intertextual Aptitude,” ESLL 5 (2005) 40.
‘…the text is never a complete “work” as such, with a clear unitary meaning implicit in its words. Instead, it always requires interpretation, in each individual encounter. Authorial intent may provide one set of meanings for the text, but these meanings – no matter how clearly they may be conveyed – are always susceptible to revision and reinterpretation, either by the author/editor(s) themselves, or by other redactors and interpreters. Audiences, in turn, may reshape and reconsider the potential meanings of the text, in light of their own needs and ideologies, providing interpretations of “the meaning” of a text that serve their own immediate and pressing concerns at different moments in the history of the text. The result of this sort of literary critical approach is an understanding of textual meaning as something that is fundamentally dynamic, and fundamentally contested, as well.’ M.L. Grossman, Reading for History in the Damascus Document: A Methodological Study, (STDJ 45; Leiden: Brill, 2002) 24.
T.K. Beal, “Intertextuality,” in Handbook of Postmodern Biblical Interpretation (ed. A.K.A. Adam; St Louis:
Chalice, 2000) 129.
historically bound literary study.5 I begin by offering a broad understanding of intertextuality, followed by my own proposal of a viable use of intertextuality within the history of interpretation.
0.2.1 Intertextuality: A Broad Understanding Intertextuality is an observation of relationships between texts that places the generation of meaning in the dynamic conversation between text/intertext/reader.6 What follows are a few remarks outlining an understanding of intertextuality.