By Michael Fishbane
An exploration of key texts representing using 3 specific literary components within the Hebrew Bible: narrative textual content; sermons; prayers and speeches.
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Additional info for Biblical Text and Texture: A Literary Reading of Selected Texts
Given the thematic-structural fact that in both Genesis 3 and Genesis 11:l-9 (the Tower of Babel) the concern is the testing of divine-human limits, it would seem that in Genesis 6:l-4 the crime is also one of testing and transgressing limits due to the intercourse between human and divine beings. 3, wherein man's mortality is stressed and his life span restricted to 120 years. 5-8). 5-7 underscores the real danger: that humankind might circumvent the curse of Eden and "live forever" (Genesis 3:22).
The two texts are independent, yet interrelated by theme and language. Genesis 4 opens with a brief genealogy noting the birth of Cain and Abel. In itself, this witness to the progeneration of life links back to the curses of the preceding chapter (3:16): that humans would be mortal and give birth in pain ('etxev). The language of this birth notice-"then the man knew [yada'] his wife, Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain [who]. . 14) from His presence. 24) from His paradise. 24). This repetition of phrases and features links Genesis 3 and 4 and provides access to the latter's meaning.
The serpent is with us in the world, without us in the world, and within us in the world. = By this double exposure, the narrative of Genesis 3 ci-ystallizes a paradox: on the one hand man receives a gracious earth which, by his willfulness, he perverts; on the other hand, that perversion or evil seems inherent in the created world itself, as symbolized by the serpent. This paradox is brought to consciousness by the narrative but is not resolved. These issues of evil, will and choice are reconsidered from a broader interpersonal perspective in Genesis 4.
Biblical Text and Texture: A Literary Reading of Selected Texts by Michael Fishbane