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HUMA 1710 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Primeval History, Abeyance, Cultural Identity

Course Code
HUMA 1710
Carol Bigwood
Study Guide

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L4: Genesis 4-22
10:03 AM
October 4, 2010
Test Questions:
1. (10 marks) Describe two problematic issues in each of the following stories: Cain and Abel
; and Noah's drunkenness
2. (10 marks) Describe two problematic issues in each of the following stories : the Tower of
Babel; Abraham and his son Isaac.
The "Old Epic" (JE tradition)
1. Primeval History Genesis 2-11 : from creation to chaos and a new beginning
2. Ancestral History Genesis 12-50 founding fathers and mothers
3. People's History (Exodus to Joshua) oppression in Egypt to their entrance
into Canaan\
Emergence of Hebrew culture/ religion
Gradual emergence of monotheistic religion from polytheistic environment
Hebrews transitioning from semi-nomadic shepherds to farmers settled in
Canaan: super power (Assyria, Egypt, Hittites) in abeyance, but Hebrews fight
different local people (Philistines, Ammomtes, Moabities)
Cain and Abel
Just as parents disobeyed Yahweh, now one of the boys disobey (evil impulse
How did they find rules?
Why does God prefer Abel's pastoral gift of first of his flock over that of
farmer Cain's fruit of the ground?
Am I my brother's keeper? Asks Cain
Cain builds first city and is a murderer (metal and musicians are descendents)
Gods mercy? Mark of Cain on forehead to protect him
Cain is the oldest son-> given preference
Near East Tradition of Dispute Literature
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Dispute literature: describing struggle between major areas of specialization
(herding, agriculture, metallurgy)
Emesh (summer) : Enten : (winter) brings gifts to father. Enton: precious
metals, fish, trees; Emesh: animals, birds, plants
Dispute over position of Farmer of the Gods. Father : declares Enten winter
because he is in charge of water, Emesh bows before brother and dispute
ends happily.
Typical for stories except Hebrew ends in murder
Why look for historical literacy precedents/ parallels?
Cultural identity - doesn't evolve from a cultural vacuum
To help understand the ancient text in its conceptual world (then and now)
To mark out the differences of the Hebrews
Puzzling Passage
Sons of God have intercourse with human maidens (Gen.6. 1-4)
Who are "sons of God"?
Children become the heroes of old, men of renown
More evil deeds requiring punishment
Ancient Sumerian story parallels with Noah and Flood
God (s) decides to destroy humankind
Hero is advised to build a large boat (no rubber) and take seed of all living
Storm subsides on the 7th day, land on mountain; make sacrifice that smells
good to God
Hero sends out birds including a dove
God (s) feel bad
Offers a sacrifice which gods enjoy
Why isn't Noah helping others?
Flood is clearly punishment
No other people with Noah often than wife and sons and their wives
Noah is not granted immediately
1 God only and not connected to sun, moon, etc.
A covenant is made between God and Noah
A sign of the covenant is given
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