Sunday, December 6, 2009

David Plotz on Genesis One

David Plotz, writing for Slate Magazine, blogs on the Bible.  His comments on Genesis are often hilarious. Here's a sample:

You'd think God would know exactly what He's doing, but He doesn't. He's a tinkerer. He tries something out—what if I move all the water around so dry land can appear? He checks it out. He sees "that it was good." Then He moves on to the next experiment—how about plants? Let's try plants. 
This haphazardness may be why Creation seems so out of order. If God made light on the first day, what was giving the light, since the sun doesn't appear until the fourth day? And God tackles the major geological and astronomical features during the first two days—light, sky, water, earth. But Day 3 is a curious interruption—plant creation—that is followed by a return to massive universe-shaping projects on Day 4 with the sun, moon, and stars. The plant venture is a tangent—like putting a refrigerator into a house before you've put the roof on.

Does the Lord love insects best? They're so nice He made them twice: On Day 5 He makes "the living creatures of every kind that creep." Three verses, and 24 hours later, He makes "all kinds of creeping things of the earth." 
"Creeping" is all over these last few verses of Creation. God tells His newly minted man and woman that they rule over world and its creatures, including, as the King James puts it—"every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." What a superb phrase! It's perfect for insects, terrorists, and children.

Now that's funny!


Osmund Kilrule said...

That's funny indeed. Reminds me of some rabbinical discussion.

Btw, what do you think of the Talmudic interpretation of Scipture. Does it have any relevance to a Christian, and moreover, an Orthodox Christian who uses the Septuagint?

I've always been attracted to the Talmud for precisely this detailed transcription of discussion on questions of hermemeutics, legal issues, festival observances, etc.

And then you have the Hassidus, and the mystical revival of Rabbinical theology.

I'd like to know your opinions on the Christian reading of these texts.

(also, your blog has inspired me a method of Scripture reading: i single out a Biblical figure(currently, Abraham) and try to write some sort of summary of his or her story and then link up with other Books of the Bible- and most importantly to Jesus.
What do you think about it?> What would you kindly suggest?


Alice C. Linsley said...

There is much of value in the Rabbinic authorities, especially to gain an understanding of Judaism. However, an authority is only as authoritative as his/her source. The Talmudic interpretation is authoritative only to the degree that it stays close to the canonical text.

There are points of contact certainly between Jewish mysticism and biblical eschatology, especially in the number symbolism. The least authoritative mystical intepretations are those that try overly hard to cover up the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whose sign is written in all the numbers and in the created order.

Your method of study sounds fascinating and I believe it will be productive!

Best wishes to you.