1110 Exodus 1-24, Psalms 78, 136 17 October 2012
Recreation: Flood Stories in Genesis, EG, Exodus, and Psalms
Unit 1: Recreation: Flood Stories
and Law Codes: Exodus and Code of Hammurabi
Please read chapters 1-24 in Exodus.
Psalm 78 and 136 in Tanakh (Bible)
Two Preliminary Points:
1. Review of Flood Stories in Genesis
1. There are two ﬂood stories in Genesis.
2. The stories are different: in one story, Noah takes one pair of each kind
of animal and bird, clean and unclean; in the other story, Noah takes seven
pairs of clean animals, and one pair of unclean animals.
3. The Documentary Hypothesis identiﬁes the two stories as the two
documents, P and J, which the editors of Genesis combined by interlacing
4. These two stories are inconsistent in this respect.
5. This difference is an important difference because it determines the
different conclusions, and the different purposes of the stories. One story
concludes with Noah offering a sacriﬁce of each kind of clean animal; the
other story concludes with God placing the rainbow as the sign of his
covenant not to ﬂood the world again.
6. The editors of Genesis used both stories: it is more probable that the editors did not worry about the inconsistency than that they did not notice the
7. The Priestly (P) ﬂood story has the detail that the dove brought back an
olive twig, showing the malleability of myth, and, that the P ﬂood story is
derived from another ﬂood story; namely, a version of the Mesopotamian
ﬂood story. The ﬂood stories in Genesis show literary dependence on the
written Mesopotamian ﬂood stories.
8. Historians worry about inconsistency. Consistency, however, is not
enough for the historian: genre is determinative. Consistency is required in a
detective story, but detective stories are not 'true crime.'
9. The malleability of the Mesopotamian ﬂood story, and the further
adaptation as two distinct ﬂood stories in Genesis makes it more probable
that this cluster of stories belongs to the genre of myth than to historiography.
10. If the ﬂood stories in Genesis are historiographical, their literary
afﬁnity with the Mesopotamian ﬂood stories implies that the Mesopotamian
ﬂood stories are historiographical, too, as well as all the other stories we have
been reading, Sedna, the Inuit girl who became the goddess of the sea.
2. Why Atrahasis is not the source for the Flood Story in Epic of
1. Atrahasis is an Old Babylonian text: 3500 to 4000 years ago.
There is an OBV of Gilgamesh, 3500-4000 years ago.
The Judean Exile to Babylon took place in the Neo-Babylonian Period, and
ended with the Persian Conquest under Cyrus in 539 bce (2551 years ago) 2. The Wisdom Saying in the Bible (Ecclesiastes) ‘Athree-fold cord is not
easily broken’does not appear in the OBV of Gilgamesh. The elders give him
advice: ‘Do not rely, Gilgamesh, on your own strength’(Tablet iii).
The Cedar Forest Expedition is not an episode in Atrahasis. Consequently,
this Wisdom Saying does not appear in that text because there is no context
for it to occur. Therefore, the Judean authors/editors of the Bible worked with
a Babylonian text that did have that Wisdom Saying, namely, the Standard
Babylonian Version of Gilgamesh. There is no reason to multiply sources
Lecture Two: What problems do the ﬂood stories present to critical
Thesis: Flood myths are the basis for creation myths because ﬂood myths
are grounded in real events; no one was around for creation.
1 Problem Is Exodus a redacted (edited) text?
1.1 Method: Close reading; editorial (redaction) criticism
1.2 Solution: Yes.
1.3.1 Imperfect editing of origins of Moses.
18.104.22.168 6:20AndAmram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife;
and she bore himAaron and Moses. And the years of the life ofAmram were
a hundred and thirty and seven years.
22.214.171.124 6:26 These are thatAaron and Moses, to whom the LORD
said: 'Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts.' 27 These are they that spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring
out the children of Israel from Egypt. These are that Moses andAaron.
126.96.36.199 7:7And Moses was fourscore years old, andAaron fourscore
and three years old, when they spoke unto Pharaoh.
188.8.131.52 2:1And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to
wife a daughter of Levi. 2And the woman conceived, and bore a son; 2:4
And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.
1.3.2 Comments: (1) Parents not named; (2) sister not named; (3) no
mention of a brother; (4) the child, named Moses, is the ﬁrst born of parents
from the tribe of Levi.
2 Problem Is the Israelite population of a plausible size for the exit
2.1 Method:Anthropological criticism
2.2 Solution: No.
3 Problem Does the Exodus myth follow Flood stories in Genesis
3.1 Method: Close reading.
3.2 Solution: Yes.
3.2.1 Exodus 14:21 'And Moses stretched out his hand over t