Friday, January 7, 2011

Moses was maybe smarter than you think

It is common to hear that the writer of Genesis--Moses--was a doofus.   With our modern assumptions about how we would have written Genesis (e.g., we would have used the same name for God in Genesis 1 & 2), we look back with a chronological snobbery that insists the ancients were too primitive to have any sense.  [Of course, there are still some who cling to the JEPD theory of the composition of Genesis, but that's another story.]

At any rate, in prep for teaching on Genesis 6-9 (the account of Noah), I came across these examples of chiastic structures in the story.   A chiasm is a literary device used in ancient literature which highlights certain truths at the center of the structure.  A typical chiastic structure follows a pattern of ABC CBA.

Check out these chiasms, the first of which highlights how the story of Noah was carefully written to highlight God's covenant 'remembering' of Noah.

The second one is a chiasm within the above chiasm.

Moses a doofus?  Yeah right.

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