The Relative Dating of the Eden Narrative Gen *2-3

In: Vetus Testamentum
Walter Bührer Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

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The present study investigates the methodological presuppositions inherent in a relative dating of Old Testament texts. Using Gen 1-3 as a test case, this study examines one of the most crucial texts in classical Pentateuchal scholarship. Recently, European scholars have tended to assume a late dating for the non-Priestly Eden narrative, an evaluation yielded through comparison with Priestly, Deuteronomic-Deuteronomistic, and late wisdom texts. However, given the lack of distinct textual reference to Priestly texts, the investigation argues that Gen 2-3 constitutes a pre-Priestly composition. In addition, no conclusive evidence indicates either Deuteronomic-Deuteronomistic or late wisdom texts influenced Gen 2-3; in fact, the lexical comparisons commonly adduced are not as conclusive as often believed.

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