Transgression et initiation : tendances idéologiques et développement littéraire du récit de Genèse 2-3

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Collection
Publications
Title
Transgression et initiation : tendances idéologiques et développement littéraire du récit de Genèse 2-3
Title of the book
Tabou et transgressions
Author(s)
Hutzli J.
Publisher
Academic Press, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Address of publication
Fribourg, Göttingen
ISBN
978-3-7278-1771-7
Publication state
Published
Issued date
10/2015
Editor
Durand J.-M., Guichard M., Römer Th.
Volume
274
Series
Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis
Pages
113-133
Language
french
Abstract
Several questions about the story of Gen 2-3 remain unresolved in current scholarship. For instance, the implications and manifold consequences of the transgression act - the consumption of the forbidden fruit - are much debated. Interpreters generally agree that the story is connected to several "J" / "non-P" narratives of the primeval history. Besides the use of the tetragrammaton as the designation for God, a common characteristic of these stories is the strong opposition between Yhwh as a harsh deity on one hand and disobedient and transgressing humankind on the other.
This paper reconsiders several open questions as well as the aforementioned consensus. The analysis of important motifs in Gen 2-3 leads to the conclusion that this story differs in theologically important ways from the postulated "J"-narrative in Genesis. This indicates that it was not composed as an integral part of that narrative. There are, in Gen 2-3, ideological features and linguistic elements typical of the "J" stratum, but they are all found in the sections that present Yhwh God's investigation and punishment of the couple (3,8-19.24). Since these verses are in tension with or even contradict their immediate context, it should be assigned to a redactional ("J") layer.
According to this analysis, the transgression in Gen 2-3 should not be considered a sin. Rather, it is an important step in human evolution towards a self-conscious and autonomous being. The plot has a structure similar to some episodes in ancient Near Eastern myths. 'Initiation' functions as a central theme.
Finally, the article discusses the literary milieu of the story. Because of several linguistic and thematic similarities with Gen 1, with P-texts in general, and with the book of Ezekiel, the relationship of Gen 2-3 to these literary entities needs to be reconsidered.
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