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0.3 History, Tapestry, and Lacunae History This thesis attempts to contribute to the body of work that can be called the history of interpretation of biblical texts. 34 In defense of this attempt at history via intertextuality, I look to Maxine Grossman. In response to

Philip Davies’ assertion that reader response approaches35 ‘do not produce history,’36 Grossman asserts:

It is [sic] possible to ‘produce history’ while working from a literary critical perspective. A history of this sort may look unfamiliar, but its very difference will provide insights that are not revealed by a more standard historical analysis…37 Indeed, this study is an attempt at history that does not look familiar. It sketches intertextual relationships between texts based on common vocabulary in an attempt to see wider interpretive matrices, to gain new glimpses of old material. It is not interested in wading into the questions of agency, influence, causality, allusion, etc…, but it is From among the many works in this corner of the academy, two pioneering works are J.P. Lewis, A Study of the Interpretation of Noah and the Flood in Jewish and Christian Literature, (Leiden: Brill, 1968); and S.D. Fraade, Enosh and His Generation: Pre-Israelite Hero and History in Postbiblical Interpretation, vol. 30, (SBL Monograph Series; Chico, CA: Scholars, 1984); and from a post-modern perspective Y. Sherwood, The Biblical Text and its Afterlives: The Survival of Jonah in Western Culture, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) explores the interpretation within tradition, ‘science,’ art, and culture.

Intertextuality is related to reader response criticism in that intertexts are intertexts not because of their juxtaposition on paper but because of their (potential) juxtaposition within the mind of the reader.

P.R. Davies, Behind the Essenes: History and Ideology in the Dead Sea Scrolls, (BJS 94; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1987) 11.

Grossman, Reading for History, ix.

–8–

INTRODUCTION

interested in relationship. Few of the texts examined are deliberate re-tellings of Gen 1.1-5. The vast majority of texts are held together by the commonality of words or intertextual markers. As a result, the reality of this intertextual history is that it is both messy and modest. There are many loose ends – texts that are obvious inclusions are viewed together with texts barely connected with the larger whole.

The scope of this study is necessarily limited. For this study the words come from the bounds of the Hebrew and Greek versions of Gen 1.1-5, a.k.a. Day One in the First Creation Story. While it is with Day One that this study begins and to which it returns again and again, it is the intertextuality of Day One that is of primary interest. What are the intertextual relationships of Day One? How does Day One spill over into the intertextual vastness and vice versa? The texts in this study are also limited in that they all share a creation theme, a common denominator organic with Gen 1.1-5. Finally, all of the texts in this study were produced prior to 200 CE. As with any specific date on the sea of global history, this date could likely be abandoned in favor of a more important and/or meaningful date. The reasons for using 200 CE as a cutoff are (1) that this is the approximate date of the compilation of the Mishnah, and (2) that it draws an historical line before Origen and his Hexapla come into play.

Tapestry The primary objective of this study is to gather a glimpse of the intertextual tapestry of Gen 1.1-5. The hand-woven textile art known as a ‘tapestry’ is used throughout this thesis as an image for the broader intertextuality of Gen 1.1-5. The image in mind is a tapestry in an incomplete state still tied to the loom.38 That is, it is an image of threads woven together, with the boundaries not entirely clear. It is an image with spindles of thread hanging off the edge and loose threads not completely tied in. Some threads are bright and distinct, others are dull and common.

Some threads appear at one spot and another with no trace of the thread that runs beneath the surface linking the two. Some threads come together to provide a certain picture in one corner of the whole, while another corner may look completely different – though they are ultimately of the same work. While the employment of any image brings with it its own limitations, the image of tapestry-in-progress provides a metaphorical conception of the intertextuality of Gen 1.1-5.

Lacunae The fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls that are examined in chapter three, important pieces of the intertextual history of Gen 1.1-5 as they are, are as much illustrative of text and the project as a whole. In their present state, these fragments are broken and partial. Barring some future discovery of a complete or more complete manuscript, these fragments are all we have, their lacunae fertile ground for the scholarly imagination. While only a portion of the texts covered in this study are physically broken, our knowledge and understanding of all of them is fragmentary and partial. Given the historical, cultural, linguistic distance with ancient texts, the danger with having a full manuscript is to assume that it is completely accessible or monolithic, absent any lacunae. In addition, the I myself am not a weaver. I draw this image from trips to Stirling Castle in 2002-2003, during which I observed the slow and careful progress of the weaving of a recreation of ‘The Unicorn in Captivity,’ a South Netherlandish tapestry woven from 1495-1505, now part of the collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters, New York. [http://www.metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/department.asp?dep=7] –9–

INTRODUCTION





corpus of texts available to study is limited by the accidents of history. Were it not for the arid climate and lack of a curious canine in search of a play-thing, the Masada fragments of Ben Sira could be forever unknown. One must wonder what other texts remain hidden to us by the accidents of time. Finally, I must also mention the accidents of the author. Two eyes helped by spectacles, a certain set of ideological assumptions (some conscious, others not) about text, history, current scholarship, etc… Needless to say but important to note, the results of this study are limited by the limitations of its author.

All of this is to say that as the texts (some more than others) of this study are fragmentary so are the results.

But lest limitation lead to apathy, let the weaving begin.

–  –  –

1.1 Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to sketch a portion of the intertextual tapestry or débordement of Gen 1.1-51 within the corpus of the Hebrew Bible / Tanakh. Chapter two is a parallel exploration of the Greek equivalents.

These first two chapters provide images of the tapestries to and upon which subsequent interpretations are woven.

Again, the long view of this thesis is that the boundaries between text and tradition are semi-permeable and that language plays a central role in the afterlives of a biblical text, in this case the first five verses of Genesis.2 This chapter begins with a discussion of the criteria used for establishing intertextuality, followed by an examination of the primary text, MT Gen 1.1-5, both as a structural whole and by verse. The largest portion of the chapter follows with a text-by-text look at the intertexts of MT Gen 1.1-5. Finally, the chapter concludes with a sketch of some of the more prominent threads in the broader intertextual tapestry of MT Gen 1.1-5 by analyzing some common thematic threads.

1.1.2 Considering Commonality: Criteria for Establishing Intertextuality In order to achieve a level of commonality upon which to build the claim of intertextuality, certain parts of the whole are identified as words that, when read/heard in another (con)text, may indicate or trigger an intertextual link between texts – in this case between the primary text (Gen 1.1-5) and its intertexts. I call these individual parts intertextual markers. Ideally, intertextual markers occur with relative infrequency within the larger corpus.3 The likelihood that the occurrence of an intertextual marker might signal an intertextual relationship increases with the presence of a creation context and additional words from the primary text in proximity.4 The intertextual markers

for this examination of Gen 1.1-5 are:

Given that in these first two chapters I am looking at two different, though very similar texts, I distinguish between MT Gen 1.1-5 and LXX Gen 1.1-5, following this distinction through to all the intertexts I examine.

Y. Hoffman, “The First Creation Story: Canonical and Diachronic Aspects,” in Creation in Jewish and Christian Tradition (ed. H.G. Reventlow and Y. Hoffman; JSOTSup 319; London: Sheffield, 2002) has taken a similar look at the whole of Gen 1.1-2.3 (First Creation Story) within the Hebrew Bible. The aim of his study is to contrast the central status placed upon the First Creation Story by generations of readers in comparison to its place among the 100+ creation texts within the Hebrew Bible. He explores this relationship with searches for citation, reference, and allusion of the First Creation Story in these other biblical texts. His search yields strikingly little evidence. (32-53) While Hoffman's method is similar to my own appropriation of intertextuality, his trajectory differs from that of this examination in that Hoffman is testing the tradition of interpretation in light of the biblical witness, whereas this study examines the intertextuality of Gen 1.1-5.

For example, rm), which in MT Gen 1.3 is central to the first creative action of the First Creation Story, occurs 4300+ times in the Hebrew Bible and thus impractical and of little use in identifying intertexts of MT Gen 1.1-5.

An abundantly clear example of intertextuality and an exception to this idea about the context of an intertextual marker is m.Hul 5.5, in which the infrequently occuring dx) {wy in Lev 22.28, a text with no creation theme, sparks a connection with MT Gen 1.5 in the interpretation of the rabbis.

–  –  –

words – |e$ox,Uhob,Uhot,)rb,tyi$)"r, ldb,tepexar:m,axUr,{Oh:T

minor phrases5 – {yiholE) ahUr, bO+-yiK, dfxe) {Oy word-pairs6 – jr) and {ym$, Uhot and Uhob, \$x and rw), hlyl and {wy As noted above, these intertextual markers serve as a control group of ‘flags’ for identifying texts with a significant intertextual commonality with Gen 1.1-5. For these first two chapters, there are appendices that explore the occurrences of the intertextual markers throughout the whole of the Hebrew Bible7 and the Greek equivalents.8 In addition to a commonality of intertextual markers, a second basic criterion for identifying an intertext is that it has a creation or creation-related theme. Both of these controls, intertextual markers and creation theme, facilitate a viable use of intertextuality.

1.2 A Look at MT Gen 1.1-5 The interest of this chapter is the intertextual tapestry that MT Gen 1.1-5 and its intertexts comprise. In this section my goal is two-fold: first, to make a few observations about the structure of MT Gen 1.1-5; and second, to look at MT Gen 1.1-5 by verse, paying attention to the use of the intertextual markers in their primary context.

;jerf)fh t"):w {iyamfah t") {yiholE) )frfB tyi$)"r:B ;{iyfMah y"n:P-l( tepexfr:m {yiholE) axUr:W {Oh:t y"n:P-la( |e$ ox:w Uhobfw Uhot hft:yfh jerf)fh:w ;rO)-yih:yaw rO) yih:y {yiholE) rem)oYaw ;|e$oxah }y"bU rO)fh }y"B {yiholE) l"D:baYaw bO+-yiK rO)fh-te) {yiholE) ):raYaw ;dfxe) {Oy reqob-yih:yaw bere(-yih:yaw hfl:yfl )frfq |e$oxal:w {Oy rO)fl {yiholE) )fr:qiYaw When God began to create the heavens and the earth, The earth being formless and void, darkness upon the face of the deep, and the breath of God hovering upon the face of the waters, God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light.

The minor phrase functions like an individual word in that the words are intimately and grammatically connected in the primary text. These pairs function as an independent reality, i.e., when combined the way they are in the primary text they take on a grammatical unity. Conversely, the individual parts of these word pairs have little if no weight as intertextual markers by themselves, e.g. yiK carries little intertextual interest when separated from bO+. The same criteria apply when looking at the intertexts of LXX Gen 1.1-5.

A word-pair functions as a unit within the primary text as a circumlocution for a larger whole, e.g. heaven and earth comprise the larger cosmos. [See the discussion of heaven and earth in Gen 1.1 by U. Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis; Part 1 - From Adam to Noah, (trans. I. Abrahams; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1961), 20] A word-pair is admittedly more subjective than individual words and minor phrases as their relationship to one another in the secondary text must be evaluated before their relationship with the primary text can be considered. Take for example, {ym$ and jr). In MT Gen 1.1 these two words function as a pair, two hemispheres of the same cosmos.

Their appearance in a secondary text alone, however, is not sufficient to determine intertextuality. Other parameters must be taken into consideration. The first (1) is that the pair ought to be functioning as a pair. This can mean that the two words are separated by a conjunction functioning as a collective subject/object/etc. (e.g. MT Gen 2.4, 2 Kgs 19.15) or a slightly wider separation in parallel ideas (e.g. MT 2 Sam 22.8, Jer 4.23). This parameter rules out occurrences that, while in close proximity to one another, do not function as a pair (e.g. MT Exod 10.22, 32.12). A second parameter (2) is that the pair occurs in a creation context. This rules out occurrences that have a locative function (e.g. MT Gen 9.2, Jer 7.32) and occurrences that represent or personify the cosmic framework of heaven and earth (e.g. MT Deut 30.19, Isa 1.2). A third (3) parameter is that the pair occurs in close proximity to other Gen 1.1-5 vocabulary, further substantiating the possibility of intertextuality. Finally, (4) when a word-pair occurs verbatim from the primary text theoretically it carries more intertextual weight (e.g. MT Exod 20.11).

Cf. Appendix A Cf. Appendix B

–  –  –



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