Cover image for The Eden Narrative: A Literary and Religio-Historical Study of Genesis 2-3 By Tryggve N. D. Mettinger

The Eden Narrative

A Literary and Religio-Historical Study of Genesis 2-3

Tryggve N. D. Mettinger

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$35.00 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-141-2

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The Eden Narrative

A Literary and Religio-Historical Study of Genesis 2-3

Tryggve N. D. Mettinger

In a book marked by unusually readable yet academic style, Mettinger transforms our knowledge of the story of Eden in Genesis. He shows us a story focused on a divine test of human obedience, with human disobedience and its consequences as its main theme. Both of the special trees in Eden had a function: the tree of knowledge as the test case, and the tree of life as the potential reward for obedience. Mettinger adopts a two-tiered approach. In a synchronic move, he understakes a literary analysis that yields striking observations on narratology, theme, and genre in the text studied. He defines the genre as myth and subjects the narrative to a functional analysis. He then applies a diachronic approach and presents a tradition-historical reconstruction of an Adamic myth in Ezekiel 28. The presence of both wisdom and immortality in this myth leads to a discussion of these divine prerogatives in Mesopotamian literature (remember Adapa and Gilgamesh). The two prerogatives demarcated an ontological boundary between the divine and human spheres. Nevertheless, the Eden Narrative does not evaluate the human desire to obtain knowledge or wisdom negatively. A piece of fresh, original scholarship in accessible form, this book is ideal for courses on creation, primeval history, the Bible and literature, and the Bible and the ancient Near East.

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
In a book marked by unusually readable yet academic style, Mettinger transforms our knowledge of the story of Eden in Genesis. He shows us a story focused on a divine test of human obedience, with human disobedience and its consequences as its main theme. Both of the special trees in Eden had a function: the tree of knowledge as the test case, and the tree of life as the potential reward for obedience. Mettinger adopts a two-tiered approach. In a synchronic move, he understakes a literary analysis that yields striking observations on narratology, theme, and genre in the text studied. He defines the genre as myth and subjects the narrative to a functional analysis. He then applies a diachronic approach and presents a tradition-historical reconstruction of an Adamic myth in Ezekiel 28. The presence of both wisdom and immortality in this myth leads to a discussion of these divine prerogatives in Mesopotamian literature (remember Adapa and Gilgamesh). The two prerogatives demarcated an ontological boundary between the divine and human spheres. Nevertheless, the Eden Narrative does not evaluate the human desire to obtain knowledge or wisdom negatively. A piece of fresh, original scholarship in accessible form, this book is ideal for courses on creation, primeval history, the Bible and literature, and the Bible and the ancient Near East.

Preface

Acknowledgements

Abbreviations

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 The Agenda of the Present Study 1.2 One or Two Trees? A Survey of Opinions

Chapter 2: A Narratological Analysis of the Eden Narrative

2.1 Unifying Elements

2.2 Time and Location

2.3 Scenes and Plot

Summary and Conclusions about the plot

2.4 Characters

2.5 Focalization (Point of View) and Voice

2.6 Narrators and Characters: Omniscience and Restricted Knowledge

Summary and Conclusions

Chapter 3: The Theme of the Eden Narrative

3.1 “Theme” in Literary Theory

3.2 The Theme of the Eden Narrative

Summary and Conclusions about the divine test

Chapter 4: The Genre and Function of the Eden Narrative

4.1 The Genre of the Eden Narrative

4.2 The Nature of Genre and How Genre Works

4.3 The Eden Narrative versus the Chaos Battle Drama of Creation

Summary and Conclusions

Chapter 5: Traces of a Tradition: The Adamic Myth in Ezekiel 28

5.1 The Contents of the Adamic Myth

5.2 Wisdom and Immortality in the Adamic Myth

5.3 The Innovations of the Eden Poet (Genesis 2–3)

Summary and Conclusions

Chapter 6: Wisdom and Immortality in Adapa and Gilgamesh

6.1 The Myth of Adapa and the South Wind

6.2 The Gilgamesh Epic

Chapter 7: Synthesis

7.1 The Two Main Traditions Alloyed

7.2 The Conceptual Framework

7.3 The Date and Literary Integrity

References

Indexes

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