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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


SPANGENBERG, Sakkie. The spotlight on Genesis 1-3: A report on shifts in mind-set and beliefs. Old testam. essays [online]. 2014, vol.27, n.2, pp.612-636. ISSN 2312-3621.

The author narrates how his views concerning Gen 1-3 have changed over the past forty years. He enrolled for theological training at the University of Stellenbosch during the seventies of the previous century and had to study the book Hoe lezen wij Genesis 2 en 3? ("How should we read Genesis 2 and 3?"). The book had been written by B. J. Oosterhoff, a Dutch scholar who argued a case for a symbolic reading of the text. Since then the author has become acquainted with the paradigm change in the study of the OT (1880-1900) and he has accepted the view that the biblical documents were written by ordinary human beings whose worldview differs radically from people living in the 21st century. His understanding of Gen 1-3 has changed accordingly and he has taken leave of the grand narrative of Christianity, which can be summarized as Fall-Redemption-Judgement. Genesis 1-3 does not concern a perfect creation and a Fall from grace. It consists of two creation myths that reflect the ancient Israelites' understanding of their world and what it entails to be a human being. If scholars keep this in mind a stalemate between science and religion may be prevented and theology may even be able to contribute to the discussions concerning the current ecological crisis.

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