Despite the fact that the Flood narrative originates in Mesopotamia, neither of the two principal motifs discussed in this paper—the representation of the Flood hero and his offspring as the progenitors of the nations (Genesis 10) and the planting of the first vineyard in the first post-diluvian generation (Gen 9:20-27)—occur in the Mesopotamian versions of the Flood story. Scholars have thus opined that these two units constitute original Israelite literary creations penned by the biblical authors. A similar juxtaposition of material does appear, however, in the early Greek genealogical writings, that began to be committed to writing during the Archaic period (C7-6 b.c.e.). The relationship this literature bears to the biblical texts has yet to be examined. This article analyzes the parallels between the Greek genealogical writings and the biblical texts regarding the Flood hero and his descendants in the first post-diluvian generations and the central place these hold in both sets of literature. The results possess great significance for the question of the genre and development of the literary threads in the opening chapters of Genesis, as also for our understanding of the literary patterns and motifs prevalent in the ancient eastern Mediterranean cultures during the first third of the first millennium b.c.e. and the interest the latter exhibit in issues relating to ethnic identity.
The literary unit Sir 42:1–8 opens with the instruction not to be ashamed of keeping the Torah and commandments (42:2), and proceeds to list a series of actions that one should perform without embarrassment. Oddly enough, the second half of 42:2 instructs not to be ashamed “of rendering judgment to acquit the wicked,” על משפט להצדיק רשע. While this verse cannot be explained by the hermeneutic maneuver of changing the simple meaning of the Hebrew term רשע or the syntactic function of the lamed in להצדיק, I propose employing a text-critical approach in order to resolve the difficulty it presents. The emendation suggested in this paper subsequently helps us identify the biblical verses that served as the source of inspiration for the verse in Sirach (Ps 82:2–3), and the midrashic interpretation this verse was given in a later text (Rom 4:5).