The Livre of the Genesis (of the Greek Γένεσις, “birth”, “beginning”, “source”, “origin”, “cause”) is the first book of the Torah (Pentateuque), therefore Tanakh (the " Hebraic bible) and of the Christian Bible . In Hebrew, its heading is Bereshit (“at the beginning of…”) according to the first word of the first Parasha of the Book. The Jewish tradition considering that he was written by Moïse, one calls it sometimes the First Book of Brace .
The book of the Genesis wants to explain the origin of the man and the Hebrew people until his arrival in Egypt in the illuminant by the project of God. It contains presupposed and historical bases at the ideas and national and religious institutions of Israel, and is used as foreword, introduction or heading with its history, its laws and habits.
According to a rather current belief in the abrahamic religions , the Genesis divinement was divinement inspired (written by God, or rather dictated by Him with human), and is thus infallible. The assumption known as documentary however, tends to show that the composition of the book is the work not of a single writer but of a whole of writers, who told the traditions of the Jews, combining them in a uniform work, but preserving the textual and formal characteristics incidental with their differences dorigine and of mode of transmission. The documentary assumption was also considered by the religious exégètes, and of the coherent answers with the tradition could be proposées.
Ascription of the BookGenesis , as a work, does not mention any assignment to an author; it is a orthodoxe Jewish article of faith to believe that the book was dictated in its entirety by God with Moïse on the Mont the Sinai.
For many reasons, this assertion is not accepted any more for a long time by many academic biblists and Protesting S liberals. Those are based on the contrary on a theory, of which the roots are based on the cultural evolution and the philosophical naturalism, and who teaches that the text of the Book of the Genesis such as one knows it today was compiled in the neighborhoods of 440 AEC, starting from former sources drawing from the surrounding cultures, mainly of Sumer, from which the patriarchs are supposed besides to go down. See the documentary entry Assumption for more information.
See also: Summarized Book of the Genesis
Chapters 1 to 5 of the Genesis report the organization necessary to the appearance of the life on the Earth and the stages of the appearance of this life until the first time of humanity. The man discovers that disobedience generates the bad one, i.e. evil on the body (in Hebrew the word is bad and is relating to the body whereas into Greek that is translated by evil and is relating to morals). Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman eat the fruit of the defended tree, they are from now on free to define by them same the good of the evil and are driven out Jardin of Eden; Caïn, wire of Adam and Eve kills her Abel brother.
In the chapters according to, God, seeing the corruption of the men, causes the Déluge, which it makes survive only the family of Noah. God establishes an alliance (9 then: 9)
Chapter 10 speaks about the families which are at the origins of humanity.
Chapters 11 to 20 speak about Abraham and its family until the time of Isaac. Chapter 12 starts with the call of Abram (the future Abraham) and his wife Saraï (who will become Sarah), then sterile, and their departure since their native soil of Ur (probably in Babylonia) towards the Pays of Canaan. It implies that Abram accepted God and was accepted by him, and brings back the divine promise that all the people of the ground will be blessed by its descent (22: 3).
Chapters 21 to 35 follow the family of Isaac. Genèse reports then the facts of its descendants, Isaac, and Jacob (which will become Israel), and their family, like, to a lesser extent, the " autres" descendants, which will train large antagonistic people of Israel, namely Ismaël and Esaü (Edom). When the last verse finishes, the descendants of Jacob, the Israélites, came to Egypt, with the invitation of the one as of their, Joseph, become by a " extraordinary contest of circonstances" (that the Bible explains like " the finger divin") the most important minister near Pharaon.
The chapter 36 draft of Ésaü and its family.
Interpretations of the book of the Genesis
The interpretation of the book of the Genesis is a very delicate exercise, because, on the one hand, one should not confuse Genèse and Création (which is not that part of the book of the Genesis), on the other hand, the historicity of the accounts is very variable according to whether one is interested in Creation, the Déluge and Noah, or with the figures of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, which is real.
According to the cases, one will interpret these texts with the literal Sens or by employing the spiritual Sens.
Use of the literal reading to date creation
On the basis of Genealogy S ( toledot ) in the Book of the Genesis and the later parts of the Bible, the religious scholars Juif S and Christian independently estimated the dating of the Création of the world, by employing an interpretation with the literal Sens.
Cette approach would suggest that it was held with the neighborhoods of fourth millenium AEC after the six days during which God created the skies and the Ground (some suppose that it is about Jour S 24 hours, that Adam, Eve, and the Jardin of Eden existed, and that a complete trace of the events since Creation until a verifiable date historically is in the biblical report).
Others exégètes explain why the days would refer to the creative action on Earth and would last 7000 year. The account being intended for a terrestrial observer, the word skies having to be included/understood from the point of view of the observer. What makes compatible the account of the Genesis and the dating of the Earth.
Many academic biblists call in question the exactitude of the historical report of the Bible, and its use to recall the events presented in the Genèse and to date the human history was rejected by the large majority of the Historien S and Archéologue S. Moreover, the independent scientific evidence in fields as varied as the Cosmologie, the Géologie and the Biologie is entirely incompatible with the line of time described in Genèse (for example the age of the Earth is estimated at more than four billion years).
the subject will be approached more precisely in Bible and history and Créationnisme Jeune Ground.
Literal interpretations vs allegorical
The Book of the Genesis begins with one (or of) original Récit. As a literal reading of that or those can seem in conflict with the commonly allowed scientific theories, the Big Bang or the Théorie of the evolution, much of believers regard to it (S) account (S) of the Création according to Genesis as allegories.
However, interpretation, if not allegorical, at least nonliteral had not awaited Darwin. The Jewish tradition knew various ways of interpreting the crowned Textes, since it distinguished Four directions from the Writing. Later on, the Christian tradition, with Origène and Jean Cassien, took again these methods of interpretation for the reading (Lectio divina) of the Christian Holy Scriptures. The nonliteral interpretation of Creation started already with Augustin d' Hippone.
, The reconciliation carried out by the school scholastic between the Christian tradition and the philosophy of Aristote (Thomas d' Aquin), made it possible to make a parallel between the Genesis and the Main cause such as it was defined by Aristote.
Called into question by the scientific theories to the 17th century
As from the 17th century, the observations of Galileo called into question interpretations of the Bible, particularly the passages Cosmologique S of the First Will.
In 1623, the father Marine Mersenne, correspondent of Descartes, which was in the center of a philosophical and scientific network, published Questions about the Genesis , work in which he criticized the Christian Kabbale violently.
After the lawsuit of Galileo (1633), Descartes did not have of cease to criticize the “speculative philosophy” taught in the school scholastic, preferring a “practical” method to him making it possible to the men “to go as Masters and owners of nature” ( Discourse on Method , Sixth part, 1637). The Cogito of Descartes ( Meditations on philosophy first , 1641) is the demonstration of this doubt of a Main cause heard with the direction Religieux and traditional Métaphysique.
They were starting point of installation of Paradigm Mechanist (Michel Foucault speaks about épistémè), which discredited gradually the Philosophie first of Aristote, and the building Scolastique upset. The Positivism of Auguste Count, philosophies Scientistic S, and the Darwinisme gave up the principle even Main causes, and went until denying all Causalité phenomena heard in a direction other than purely physical.
For as much, even today, holding them of the literal interpretation of the first eleven chapters did not say their last word: they make the point that the style scripturaire first chapters share the characteristics of passages usually considered of historical nature, and that it is not nowhere made mention that it would not be about a literal narration (what is the case for prophecies of Balaam for example).
De such analyzes, basing on a strong tradition of biblical Infallibility (the fact of not giving the Bible in doubt, by principle), led many individuals and organizations, resulting from the scientific circles and religious, to reject the traditional scientific theories of the origin of the Vie and Univers for theories " alternatives" , like the creationnism Young person-Ground ( Young-Earth creationism , in summary YEC). Holding of the YEC use their thorough knowledge of the original account according to Genèse in order to provide answers to the questions which the evolution and the origin raise as well as the direction of the life, rather than to rationalize their positions within sight of the fallible theories of the men.
But these cases are minority today. The Controversy ptolemeo-copernician and the Théories of the evolution were an opportunity to re-examine in-depth the methods of Exégèse and Herméneutique. In addition to the fact that the crisis galiléenne was apparently a question of return to the original texts (in Hebrew), as well the Protestant tradition as the catholic tradition had in heart to renew the reading of the Scriptures, avoiding all literal interpretation excessive.
There exists thus a growing number of Jews and Christians who profess that the first chapters of Genèse do not report not the beginning of physical creation. Trying to read again the Writings the made-to-order of the first recipients of those (namely old the Israélite S), they think that these first chapters report the propagation of the order Divin on the physical level which existed before the beginning of the narration.
Some décrient even any attempt to interpret the texts like another thing that an organization of the universe.
Cette interpretation was already that of Augustin d' Hippone, which rejected however the suggestion that the Genèse is an allegory; according to him, the " lumière" mean " all the time; ordre" , illumination, higher plan of existence; " jour" is an unspecified time interval, which is defined only by a central Paradigme, as in the expression " paddle of new a jour". From this point of view, one can reject the first three days objection (which preceded attribution by the Lumière before the sun), in favor of an interpretation " littérale" that the universe was very created part, to progress of chaos to the light-" entendement" , and not the whole of the electromagnetic spectrum, then with the skies, etc
Actuellement, the Bible of Jerusalem indicates, in appendix, that the Genesis corresponds to one period starting approximately: 100,000 years (Homo habilis) before the period corresponding to the History and the appearance of the writing (Abraham).
It is nevertheless to note that the Book of the Genesis, very often quoted as well in the Hebraic Bible as in the New Testament, is it never in a metaphorical direction, allegorical or not-literal: when Moïse correlates the six days of Creation with the six workdays of the Semaine (Exodus 20:11), that David refers to Creation or the facts reported in chapters 1 to 11 in the Psaumes, or that Jesus and Pierre evokes them, it can be only with the literal Sens and " historique" term, without need for interpretation or interpolation.
ecological Crisis and Theology of Creation
The ecological Crise gives to the day order these fundamental questions. The scientists and the engineers wonder again about the report/ratio of the human being to the Nature. They wonder which is the position of the tradition Judéo-chrétienne on this subject.
Jean Bastaire estimates that the position exposed by Descartes in the Discourse on Method , according to which the men would have “to go as Masters and owners of nature”, is at the origin of a profound change of the behaviors and mentalities on the environment. According to him, in the tradition Judeo-Christian, the Divine order exposed in the chapter first, verse 28 of the Genèse (“Be fertile, multiply, fill the ground and subject it, and dominate over fish of the sea, the birds of the sky and any animal which is driven on the ground. ”) corresponds to a domination, but not to an exploitation. In the Christian vision , the man should not behave like an owner, but like a faithful intendant, according to the teaching of the Écritures.
Genesis in the Jewish traditionAlthough paradoxically low in contained legalistic for a Book of laws and regulations, the Sefer Bereshit is in the center of the historical conscience and political Jew and Jewish.
Un Sage of the name of Rabbi Itz' hak summarizes this idea perfectly when he teaches that, had not been the need for telling with Its people the account of His works so that they inherit the heritage of the nations, the Torah should not have started with Sefer Bereshit ( comment of Rachi on Gen. 1:1 ).
One will note that according to the comput of Maïmonide (one of the greatest rabbinical authorities of the Early middle ages) and the Sefer Hahinoukh, which is inspired some,
- the first regulation, " to bear fruit and multiplier" , addresses to the whole of humanity .
- the second, the Circumcision, is addressed to the whole of the ''' wire of Abraham '''.
- the third, not to eat the nerve sciatic nerve, is only addressed to the children of Jacob .
The prophets, in particular Dared, constantly refer to the accounts which are reported there, and Jérémie uses readily the language of its first verses (hurly-burly, darkness without lights, etc) to describe the disaster represented by the destruction of the First Temple.
Le first chapter determines the day of the Hebrews, corresponding to the remainder more with a lunar cycle solar: the day starts at the evening ( erev , i.e., according to the Rabbin and exégète Avraham ibn Ezra, the moment when the things mix, yit' arbou cf " the night, all the cats are gris").
Enfin, the descendants of the two large protagonists of the history of Joseph and his brothers, namely Joseph and Juda, will be illustrated in the episode of the explorers (Livre of the Numbers), the only ones drawing up a report/ratio encouraging of the Ground of Israel being Josué wire of Noun (descendant of Joseph) and Caleb Ben Yefouné (descendant of Juda). It is also of this history that the concept of both is resulting Messies, the Messie wire of David (descendant of Juda) and the Messie wire of Joseph .
Sefer Bereshit is also largely approached in the Mishna and the Talmud: the fifth chapter of the Traité Fathers is mainly devoted there, treating " Ten words by which God created the monde" , of the " ten creations in the twilight of the sixth jour" , of the " ten tests of Abraham " , etc
Le second chapter of the treaty 'Haguiga is also devoted to the secrecies of the Act of the Creation ( Ma' adze Bereshit ), which with the Act of the Carriage (Ma' HaMerkava adze - the " Chariot" being the Celestial Carriage described by Ézéchiel) form the core of a esoteric tradition which can be transmitted only in one certain secrecy, the Cabal.
The first chapters will be also discussed during the centuries during, at the base of ethics and Jewish morals. the philosophical will try to reconcile them (or to differentiate them) from the assumption aristotelician of the Main cause and the First Engine. Maïmonide will devote on this subject thirty chapters of sound Guide of Stray the -- its interpretation, although marking the later Jewish thought deeply, will bitterly be discussed with the length of the rabbinical Littérature.
Genesis in the Christian tradition
The New Testament contains many allusions and direct quotations to the Genesis, these references seeming to assign an author to him. This one is not explicitly named, but the Books of the Law being in several places (Marc 12:19, 26; Luc 24:27) allotted to Moïse, one assumes that it is the same.
The author of the Gospel according to Jean uses a language similar to that of the first chapter of Genesis, when he personifies the divine Verb like Logos eternal ( Greek: λογος " raison" , " verbe" , " langage" ), which is the origin of all things " with Dieu" , and " was Dieu" and " became flesh and resided among nous". Many Christians interpret this like an example of apostolic lesson of the doctrines of the Trinité and the divine character of Jesus; in the beginning, they is indeed while being based on the testimony of Jean that the Christians assign a personality with the creative verb of God, and identify this personality with Jesus (Hebrew 1:2,3, Colossiens 1:16,17 are other biblical sources for these beliefs).
In addition to these references to Genesis in New Testament, the Christian theologists (since the first Fathers of the Church to the current writers) did not cease interpreting and discussing stories and images of this Book, using a myriad of methods and prospects theological. In fact, the interpretation of the first three chapters of the Genesis remains a subject of high debates nowadays among the Christians.
Genesis in the academic studiesStarting truly with Spinoza, l'" study of the text by the texte" , in other words the critical Interpretation, doubt of the attribution of the Genèse to only Braces. Starting by raising of the post-mosaïca , it ends up estimating that the Book of the Genesis is not the work of only one author, but a written setting several oral traditions prédatant Moïse, altered and modified during the Temps, perhaps even completely distinct and artificially amalgamated with an aim of obtaining a national cohesion around " une" common history.
The traditional documentary theory of the 19th century distinguishes three layers from writing, which it entitled:
- the narration yahvist : God, always named YHWH, creates the Homme with his image, but the Man appears weak and misses with his Owe S. It follows then a succession of Alliance S and ruptures of Alliance between God and the men, until the appearance of the patriarch S.
- the narration elohist : probably written during difficult hours in Israel, the tone is more austere, less optimistic; one more insists on the Owe of obedience of the Homme. It is the term elohim which indicates God in this narration.
- the sacerdotal narration : probably written during the exile with Babylon, it is a question of giving to the text a more dogmatic religious dimension while insisting on the direction of the Alliance.
The modern documentary theory du20e century distinguishes nothing any more but two layers:
- the sacerdotal layer, called P, which begins again with some nuances close this category of the classical theory.
- the not-sacerdotal layer, called non-P. It is considered today that it is not possible to clearly determine a separation between Yahwiste and Elohiste.
It is it should be noted that aujourd' today good number of the academic studies on the Bible and the religion in general are carried out in Faculties of Theology, indifferently by believers or unbelievers (agnostic or atheistic).
Sets of themes
God created the world, calling all things and all to be S with the existence by Its Parole. The verb is creator. It should be stressed literary qualities of the first chapters of the Genesis. The repetition for each day of the creation of the same cycle: " God known as… God saw that was bon." give to this text a true poetic dimension.
the universe when it was created was, according to the judgment of God, good. Genèse expresses an optimistic satisfaction and a pleasure in the world.
God is personal, although the anthropomorphic terms and anthropopathic describing It are generally perceived like allegorical. God can appear and speak with the Humanité.
the Book of the Genesis does not give a philosophically rigorous definition of God. The description which it gives of Him on the contrary is located from the point of view " pratique" and " historique" , i.e. in reference to Its actions in the world and humanity.
the Humanité is the " couronne" creation, and was made with " the image of Dieu". Like all the accounts creationnists, the Genesis shows that the man is perceived different from the other living beings. The animals, the plants were created by the word. But the man is created starting from dust and of the divine breath. The singularity of the man comes from this divine breath that God put in him. It is this breath which enables him to think, to have a moral conscience.
All the people go down from Adam and Eve; the human race is precisely one and only one race.
- the ground has for the man a certain moral size; by respecting it, the man must respect the creatures which live there, by not exploiting them for egoistic needs.
- God is presented as being the only creator of the Nature, transcending it all while being within it.
- Certains historians thinks that this Monothéisme would be more recent than the Zoroastrianisme, interpreting the command " do not have other gods by Moi" front; like a trace of the primitive Hénothéisme of the company Jew. Nevertheless, Genèse describes the monotheism like the original faith, the Polythéisme being only one later error of humanity.
God as a whole carries out a alliance eternal and irrevocable with the Humanité at the time of Noah, and a second with Abraham and its descendants, by his/her son Isaac, thanks to whom their descendants will be selected to have a special destiny.
the people Jew is elected to be in a special alliance with God; God called to Abraham " I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless and make your name to you large; and you will be a source of blessings for the people. I will bless those which bless you and will curse those which curse you; and by you, all the families of the Earth will be bénies". God often repeats the promise that the descendants of Abraham will be numerous like stars in the sky and sand on the shore.
The topics of the Genesis were found in all the Moyen the East, in particular in Mésopotamie, where one finds accounts former to the drafting of the Genesis and working on the same topics (Creation of the Man by the Mardouk god with clay; creation of the woman starting from a coast of the man - a word game sumérien, because “coast” and “life” are homonymous in this Langue -- they are however not in Hebrew for it, " côte" is to be taken within the meaning of " côté" , man and woman were created " coast with côte" , i.e. undifferentiated, until God separates them); adventures of the hero Gilgamesh with the narration of a Flood; construction of the Babylonian towers…).
However, if an opinion wants that the authors of the Genesis took again these topics in their giving new a direction religious, they could be an alternative of common topics, proof that they emergent of a single regional account.
Fundamental account for the three large Monothéisme S with the figure of Abraham, it is often in the middle of controversies among which:
- the Créationnisme and the evolutionism,
- the nature of the couple,
- first social interdicts,
- the project of God.
Sources: Oecumenical TOB Translation of the Bible
Evocations in art
- fresco of Blessed Hassan: Semitic caravan entering in Egypt and reception by the Egyptian civils servant
- manufacture of bricks (tomb with Thèbes) Gen 11.3
- Cathedral of Chartres: northern gate
- Saint-Etienne Cathedral of Auxerre: canopy, Creation and original sin (bay 21)
- Cathedral of Cahors: plank of the Western solid mass
(to be supplemented)
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