Chaldean account of genesis by George Adam Smith

By George Adam Smith

1876. Containing description of construction, fall of guy, deluge, tower of Babel, occasions of Patriarchs and Nimrod; Babylonian fables and legends of the gods from cuneiform inscriptions. Contents: discovery of Genesis legends; Babylonian and Assyrian literature; Chaldean legends; Babylonian mythology; Babylonian legend of construction; sin of the god Zu; exploits of Lubara; Babylonian fables; Izdubar legends; destruction of tyrant Humbaba; adventures of Ishtar; affliction and wanderings of Izdubar; tale of the flood and end.

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Against calling exegetical material in the Bible “midrash,” see Esther Menn, “Inner-Biblical Exegesis in the Tanak,” in A History of Biblical Interpretation (ed. A. J. Hauser and D. F. Watson; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 75. This is on the basis that there is a clear distinction in Rabbinic texts between biblical material itself and the commentary on it. On the other hand, the term is helpful because it expresses the new interpretation that arises for a new context of readers (see what follows here and in Yair Zakovitch, Inner-biblical and Extra-biblical Midrash and the Relationship between Them [Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 2009 (Hebrew)], 15–20).

29 Two episodes can each have a subtle allusion to a third passage or tradition elsewhere in biblical narrative, and, when the episodes are brought together, the allusion is corroborated and becomes more explicit. For example, in Josh 3–5 there are allusions to the Exodus in each pericope. Although the allusion may not be to the ¿nal form of the book of Exodus, it is certainly to the tradition of the 28. Morson and Emerson, Mikhail Bakhtin, 132. 29. This concept is also often known as “intertextuality,” but this term is problematic because of its lack of precise de¿nition.

However, he does not deny that there are two different reasons given in the adjacent passages for Jacob’s Àight to Laban. 1 3. 25 This contradicts the surrounding material, where God wants Moses very much alive so that he can perform the task he was commissioned to do. On an ideological level, these episodes are in a dialogue of contradiction about whether God is for or against Moses, and whether it is important to the mission that Moses (or his son depending on the reading)26 is circumcised. This tension is not one that is easily resolved.

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