The Creation in the Hebraic and Babylonian Traditions Essay

The Creation in the Hebraic and Babylonian Traditions Essay

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Keeping Wellhousen's Documentary Hypothesis in mind, it seems clear that although the Hebraic understanding of the cosmology of creation was very similar to that of other Ancient Near East societies, they had very different theories about the theological and anthropological significance of that creation. The creation accounts in Genesis were compiled at very important periods in Jewish history. This account reflects prevailing sentiments of unity, and a personal relationship between God and humanity, as reflected in the intimacy of creation.
The first difference between the creation accounts of the Enuma Elish and Genesis is the creation of the world as stemming from Chaos, rather than creation of the world as an ordering of Chaos. This difference in the nature of the Creation is theologically significant because it shows a divergence in the nature of the respective Creators. In the Enuma, creation itself stems from strife and chaos, which give the reader an insight into the nature of the Babylonian gods. Marduk is a god of battle, war, and bloodshed, and this is exemplified in Creation by the way he battles with Tiamat. In contrast, Genesis is the ordering of Chaos, rather than its propagation. The nature of the God of Genesis is also revealed though his creation as one who loves his creation (“it is good”).
Another difference between Genesis and the Enuma centers around the respective Creators. In the Enuma Elish, there are both male and female gods, and Marduk established himself as king (and creator) by defeating the seven-headed serpent monster Tiamat in battle. Marduk is only one of many bickering and jealous divinities. But the God of Genesis creates with his word, which re-enforces the conception of his absolute power...

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...standing of the original sense of Genesis 1. Because the Jews were so concerned about the vanishing of their culture and their worship, this account of creation focuses heavily on the proper way to worship - it is even an etiological explanation of the Sabbath day (“And on the 7th day, he rested from his labors”).
Therefore, taking into account both the differences and similarities between the two accounts, the time periods in which both were compiled, it seems clear that there is a significant insight to be gained into Jewish culture.

Works Cited

Bratcher, Dennis. "Enuma Elish: "When on High . . ." The Mesopotamian/Babylonian Creation Myth" The Voice, 25 Mar. 2013. Web.

Osiek, Carolyn. Anselm Academic Study Bible. Winona: Anselm Academic, 2013. Print.
Boadt, Lawrence. Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction. Mahwah: Paulist, 2012. Print.

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