The Hebrew Bible

1371 WordsMay 1, 20176 Pages
In the course of human history, few books have fascinated scholars to the extent of the Hebrew Bible. This is not to say that biblical scholarship has been static. Instead, it has evolved over the course of many centuries of scrutiny, both of preceding scholarship and the Bible itself. Scholarship relating to the Hebrew Bible, then, is often grouped into two categories: the work of the ancient interpreters and that of modern scholarship. Operating from two very different sets of assumptions, there are many similarities and differences that can be found between the ways the ancient interpreters and modern scholars read and understand the Bible. The ancient interpreters, according to Kugel, were Jews and early Christians living and…show more content…
The text clearly states that if man eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, he will instantly die. However, according to Genesis 5:5, Adam lived a total of 930 years. Ancient interpreters viewed this not as a contradiction or error, but rather an instance which can be clarified by using other passages (such as Psalm 90:4, which equates 1 day to 1000 years in the sight of the Lord.) This is discussed in the book of Jubilees, an apocryphal work attributed to the ancient interpreters. Thus, the ancient interpreters did not view Genesis 2:15-17 as contradictory or troubling, but rather drew upon their foundational assumptions to aid their understanding of a text. Modern scholars, however, have very a different understanding of the same text. Since the Bible contains no cryptic meaning, the issue of Adam’s death cannot be explained using other biblical texts. This, then, must be an error which exists within the text. Modern scholars noticed something else, however, which caused them to closely examine the language used in Genesis 1-3. The portrayal of God in Genesis 1 differed greatly from the portrayal in Genesis 2-3. This led to another key difference
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