Genesis in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE 3. Structure

III. The Structure of the Individual Pericopes. In this division of the article, there is always to be found (under 1) a consideration of the unity of the Biblical text and (under 2) the rejection of the customary division into different sources. The conviction of the unity of the text of Genesis and of the impossibility of dividing it according to different sources is strongly confirmed and strengthened by the examination of the different pericopes. Here, too, we find the division on the basis of the typical numbers 4,7,10,12. It is true that in certain cases we should be able to divide in a different way; but at times the intention of the author to divide according to these numbers practically compels acceptance on our part, so that it would be almost impossible to ignore this matter without detriment, especially since we were compelled to accept the same fact in connection with the articles EXODUS (II); LEVITICUS (II, 2); DAY OF ATONEMENT (I, 2, 1), and aIso EZEKIEL (I, 2, 2). But more important than these numbers, concerning the importance or unimportance of which there could possibly be some controversy, are the fundamental religious and ethical ideas which run through and control the larger pericopes of the [toledhoth] of Terah, Isaac and Jacob in such a way that it is impossible to regard this as merely the work of a redactor, and we are compelled to consider the book as the product of a single writer. 1. The Structure of the Prooemium (Genesis 1 through 2:3): The structure of the proemium (Gen 1:1 through 2:3) is generally ascribed to P. Following the introduction (Gen 1:1,2; creation of chaos), we have the creation of the seven days with the Sabbath as a conclusion. The first and the second three days correspond to each other (1st day, the light; 4th day, the lights; 2nd day, the air and water by the separation of the waters above and the waters below; 5th day, the animals of the air and of the water; 3rd day, the dry land and the vegetation; 6th day, the land animals and man; compare also in this connection that there are two works on each day). We find Exodus also divided according to the number seven (see EXODUS, II, 1; compare also Ex 24:18b through 31:18; see EXODUS, II, 2, 5, where we have also the sevenfold reference to the Sabbath idea in Ex, and that, too, repeatedly at the close of different sections, just as we find this here in Genesis); and in Lev compare chapters 23; 25; 27; see LEVITICUS, II, 2, 2; the VIII, IX, and appendix; and in Gen 4:17 ff J; 5:1-24 P; 6:9 through 9:29; 36:1 through 37 I (see under 2, 1,2,3,1)...

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