By Claus Westermann
The introductions from Westermann's three-volume statement on Genesis in a single quantity.
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Extra info for Genesis: An Introduction
It is even more important to note that the great epic Enuma Elish begins with a genealogy of the gods (ANET pp. 60-61): When on high the heaven had not been named, firm ground below had not been called by name, naught but primordial Apsu, their begetter, 27 (and) Mummu-Tiamat, she who bore them all, their waters co-mingling as a single body. . ) A detailed genealogy of the gods resuming all the traditions precedes the drama of the disturbance of the older gods by the younger and the consequent decision to destroy the source of the trouble.
Sumerian Mythology — A Review Article," JNES 5 (1946), 128-152. Kramer's explanation rests on a series of conjectures which cannot be sustained. A motif of a struggle with Chaos or of a struggle with a dragon has not yet been attested in Sumerian mythology. Jacobsen's article must be quoted as a steadying corrective to Kramer's book. We can conclude as follows: the motif of the struggle with the dragon or with Chaos did not belong originally to the creation theme. We can be certain of this because none of the Sumerian descriptions of creation know of a creation which had its origin in a struggle or which was based on a struggle.
However, Gunkel's study marked a decisive turning point in the exegesis of Gen 1 beyond which there can be no return. "Gen 1 is not a free construction of the author"; "Gen 1 goes back to a very ancient tradition"; "Gen 1 is not an isolated unit . . it is a link in a long chain" (p. 117). It is this last sentence that shows most clearly the perspective of the history of tradition. If Gunkel's conclusion is valid then two questions must be asked: What is the significance of the three-fold context in which Gen 1 occurs: the context of the Pentateuch, of the Priestly writing and of the primeval story?