Good question--is Genesis merely a rip-off of other ANE lit?

[Series Index: gilgymess.html // Last update: to this piece: March 22 2005]

Part3: Sumerian Narrative Texts in the Nippur tradition (gilgy01.html)

Scholars divide the ANE literature into Sumerian (earlier) and Akkadian (subsequent) bodies of literature. The Sumerian traditions are further divided into Nippur and Eridu traditions, loosely based around the cities of the same names. Clifford points out that we don't have any stand-alone cosmogonies in this material:

No ex professo Sumerian treatise on how the world began has yet been found. Descriptions and allusions to creation are found in god lists, introductions to rituals and prayers, and myths. Altogether, the texts do not yield a standard cosmogony. Ancient Near Easterners apparently did not expect a single coherent account, tolerating instead different versions of the beginning of the world.” [OT:CAANEB, 15]

This doesn't rule this material out, of course, since the cosmogonies in Genesis 1 and 2 are not stand-alone either--they are preamble and background to the Flood, Rise of Humanity, and Rise of the Patriarchs. But the 'no standard cosmogony' comment should bother us a little, because it complicates matters of comparison considerably. For example, if one Sumerian story ("Story A") has X in common with Genesis, but all the other Sumerian stories ("B, C, D, E") do NOT have the X component, then to assert that the biblical writer borrowed from Story A--while ignoring/rejecting Stories B through E--raises many more questions about the alleged borrowing. For example, if one assumes that borrowing is done because something was the "commonly accepted Sumerian heritage" (a common assertion of the Maximalists), then one has to explain why this "commonly accepted Sumerian heritage" was rejected by the other Stories...See what I mean?

With this in mind (and we will return to this later), let's look at the major cosmogonic-related texts of the Nippur tradition.

Clifford offers several texts, of various genres, which contain cosmogonic material. Let's look at each one for relevant material, and compare them with the Bible and with each other.

One. The cosmological introduction to the 300-line poem, Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Underworld.

The cosmological introduction is given in lines 1-26 (below are the lines allegedly dealing with creation, 1-14):

In primeval days, in distant primeval days,
in primeval nights, in far-off primeval nights,
in primeval years, in distant primeval years---
In ancient days when everything vital had been brought into existence,
In ancient days when everything vital had been nurtured,
When bread had been tasted in the shrines of the land [Sumer],
When bread had been baked in the ovens of the land—
When heaven had been moved away from the earth,
When earth had been separated from heaven,
When the name of man had been fixed—
When An had carried off heaven,
When Enlil had carried off earth,
When Ershkigal had been carried off into the kur as its prize— [OT:CAANEB, p23]

Another translation is given by Castellino [ISI, p.88]:

"After the Heaven had been separated from the Earth,
the Earth had been delimited by the Heaven,
the name of humanity had been established;
after An had carried away the Heaven,
after Enlil had carried away the Earth,
and (the Earth) had been given as a gift to Ereskigal in the underworld...

The only element remotely in common here is the 'separation' of Heaven from Earth, but this comparison evaporates under even the slightest inspection. In Genesis 1, Heaven (the abode of God) is never said to have been 'separated' from the Earth. Light is separated from darkness, waters-above-the-sky are separated from waters-below-the-sky, the day is separated from the night--but no 'heaven separated from the earth'. The very point of commonality does not exist in the text! Even the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden are not described as a 'separation' of Heaven from Earth--it's just not in our biblical texts.

That's enough to show that Genesis has no parallels to this piece (much less borrowed from it). But besides this we should note the rampant polytheism in this passage--gods carrying off the different spheres of existence--and the fact that there really is no description of the process of creation, of the earth or of humanity. It's just very vague and general, and surprisingly "non-cosmogonic". So, Castellino [ISI, 90]:

"The Sumerians and Babylonians had neither unique doctrine nor coherent traditions concerning the modality of the creation of humanity. Sometimes humanity's creation is announced with general expressions. Thus, the text of "Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Nether World" restricts itself to say: "After...the name of mankind was established."

Furthermore, Kramer and Clifford actually interpret this 'separation' language as 'marriage' terminology(!). They actually understand the passage to be referring to a marriage of Heaven and Earth (“The interdependence [of heaven and earth] was explained by a cosmogony: the universe arose through a cosmic marriage in which Heaven (An) fertilized Earth (Ki), and from their union arose gods, human, and vegetation.” [OT:CAANEB,15] and “Creation in the myth, though complex, is a single act: the union of heaven and earth with life and organization flowing from it.” [OT:CAANEB, p24]) which is even further away from the biblical text that 'separation'.

So, this text is not even a candidate...


Two. NBC 11108.

The text reads:

An, (being) Bel, made heaven resplendent,
earth was in darkness, the lower world was [invi] sible;
the waters did not flow through the opening (in the earth),
nothing was produced
, on the vast earth the furrow had not been made.
The high priest of Enlil did not exist, the rites of
Purification were not carried out,
The h[ierodul]e (?) of heaven was not adorned, she did not
Proclaim (the praises).
[Heaven (and) ea] rth were joined to each other (forming) a unity, they were not [married].
The moon did not sh[ine,] darkness spread;
Heaven showed its shining face in Dagan [=heavenly dwelling],
As it coursed, it could not reach the fields.
The rule of Enlil over the land had not yet come about,
The p[ure Lad]y? of E’anna had not yet [receiv]ed [offerings]?
The gr[eat gods], the Annunna, were not yet active,
The gods of heaven, the gods of ea[rth] were not yet there.” [OT:CAANEB,p.28]

This is said to describe the period before creation:

The text depicts the period before creation. Heaven and earth were undifferentiated; they had not yet separated so that they could come back together in marriage. Only heaven enjoyed light (lines 1,9); the underground waters did not yet flow up to the earth through an opening to fertilize the fields through rivers and canals (line 2).” [OT:CAANEBp.28]

Now, strictly speaking, this cannot refer to 'before creation', because the planet earth already exists here (e.g., it is dark, it has fields, it is unruled by Enlil). So, this would have to refer to the period of only Genesis 1.2a ("Now the earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep"...), because light is produced in the next verse.

So, where are the possible points of 'borrowing'? Well, maybe the (a) earth being dark initially; and (b) the subterranean water?

[A] This doesn't actually fit, because the two planet-scenes are completely different. In Genesis, the planet earth was dark because light had not even been created yet (and the land was actually still under water). In NBC, the earth is already ABOVE the waters (i.e., there are subterranean waters, and there are fields), and it is dark because already-existing light from heaven cannot somehow reach the earth. In Genesis, by the time the dry land surfaces, light is already all around--the sequence of events are backward to that of NBC 11108. [This is not to mention that this is a totally 'generic' 'parallel'--there are TONS of non-ANE myths which begin with darkness [Native American, MesoAmerican, Ocenic, etc]. This is just too general to be a weight-bearing parallel...]

[B] This seems difficult--given our uncertainty about the respective terms-- to correlate confidently with the biblical text. In NBC 11108, the waters might be subterranean, and might have to egress through a specific opening, but the word 'opening' [buru] is also translated 'depths' in the literature [i.e., "the waters did not flow in the depths of the earth", since the netherworld/lower-world was 'invisible' or 'non-existent']. Similarly, in Genesis, we just DO NOT KNOW what the moisture source (ed) was. Interpretations vary from springs [LXX, Vulgate], rain-clouds [Dahood], to mists (traditional translations, based on Job 36.27) or floods (Speiser). Overall the phenomena in Genesis fits what we know of the ANE:

"'But the fresh water ocean used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the land.' Here again a Mesopotamian background seems likely. In this area agriculture was totally dependent on controlling the annual floodwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates." [WBC, in loc, Wenham]

But beyond this we cannot go. If Genesis 'borrowed' this single point from NBC 11108 (in spite of the chronological/sequential problem with the timing of the scenes), only the ancients could have known for sure--we are simply working with too limited data to do more than conjecture here.

But, for the sake of argument, let's accept the identification of NBC 11108 as being the traditional oasis or spring water (with periodic or occasionally flooding) and the identification of Genesis 2.6 as being the same phenomena. Is this a strong enough, odd enough, pervasive enough, thematically-consistent, similarly-contextualized parallel? Hardly. In the arid ANE, springs were everywhere, and life and water were co-terminous! If vegetation was absent, it was because there was no water. If it was present, it was because there WAS water. In NBC 11108, the cause of 'no production' was 'no water'. In Genesis, the cause of 'no vegetation' (in the Orchard) was because there was no gardener to irrigate the land from the spring (2.5). Totally different reasons.

To assert that these two accounts paint a similar enough picture of a pre-humanity (but post-creation) world as to suspect/defend/prove 'borrowing' would be to do so without the parallels being anything more than expected-and-superficial (at best), "inconsequentially obvious" (i.e., "of COURSE, there would not be any springs in a pre-creation state, dude!"), or actually contradictory/opposites (at worst). This is simply not enough warrant to support the objection.


Three. Hymn to E'engura (the Enki Temple in Eridu).

There is a small section of this hymn which mentions the creation of humanity (not really much of a cosmogony--certainly not enough to be a pervasive enough force to 'encourage' borrowing, btw).

The relevant text reads:

When the destinies had been fixed for all that had been engendered (by An),
when An had engendered the year of abundance,
when humans broke through earth’s surface like plants…” [OT:CAANEB, 29f]

Notice how unlike Genesis 1 and 2 this is (the Potter molding the clay, versus, the (planted) seed sprouting through the surface of the earth)...No real reason to suspect borrowing.

[We should also remember here Castilleno's earlier comment about the Sumerians having 'no coherent traditions' about the creation of mankind]


Four. Praise of the Pickax.

Clifford describes the piece:

The most important Nippur text on the creation of man is the 108-line poem, Praise of the Pickax. Its manuscripts seem not to predate the Old Babylonian period, but the poem may date form the Early Dynastic period (ca. 2500 BC). Interpretation is made difficult by textual variants and abnormal spellings, word and sign plays, and perhaps deliberate obscurantism for a learned audience. The first part is mythological, containing a cosmogony in lines 1-24, followed by a description of the relationship of the pickax to various gods in lines 35-77. The second part consists of word plays on the word 'pickax,' and the third part is on the use of the pickax. A doxology concludes the poem. Claus Wilcke has analysed the very obscure cosmogony: separation of heaven and earth by Enlil with the pickax (1-11); description of the pickax (12-17); creation of humans by Enlil with the help of the pickax and brick mold (18-21); request of the Anunna gods for human workers (22-25); birth of humans by the agency of Ninmenna, Enlil’s giving of their names, the allotment of humans to the gods, and the bestowal of the pickax upon them (26-34). “ [OT:CAANEB, 30]

Here is the relevant cosmogonic text (as rendered in Clifford):

The lord brought into being the beginnings splendidly,
The lord, whose decisions cannot be changed,
Enlil, to make the seed of the kalam (=Sumer) sprout from the earth/the netherworld,
To separate heaven from earth he hastened,
To separate earth from heaven he hastened.
To make light shine in Uzumua (lit: ‘the place where flesh sprouts’),
He bound the pillar (of Heaven and earth) in Duranki.
He worked with the Pickax: the light of the sun came out.
He fixed (its) task: the work of hoeing.
The Lord chose the pickax and fixed its destiny,
Crowned it with a floral crown (?), a pure crown.
In order to create the first man in Uzumua with the pickax,
He put the first of mankind in the mold.
Before Enlil, (the people) of the kalam (=Sumer) broke through (the surface of) the earth.
He looked with favor on his black-headed people.
The Anunna (gods) came rushing to him,
In reverence brought their hands to their mouth,
Soothed (the heart of) Enlil with their prayer,
(and) distributed the pickax to the black-headed people” [OT:CAANEB,31]

And here is the translation by Farber in TCS1 (under the title Song of the Hoe):

Creation of the World (lines 1–7)
Not only did the lord who never *changes his promises for the future make the world appear in its correct form,
— Enlil who will make the seed of *mankind rise from the earth
not only did he hasten to separate heaven from earth,
( .... ) and earth from heaven,
but, in order to make it possible for humans to growwhere the flesh sprouts,”
he first affixed the axis of the world in Duranki.
Introducing the Hoe (lines 8–17)
He did this with the help of the *hoe and (as a result) daylight *broke forth.
By distributing the shares of duty he established daily tasks
and for the *hoe and the (carrying) basket even wages were *established.
Then Enlil praised his *hoe:
his *hoe, wrought in gold, with a top inlaid with lapis lazuli,
his *hoe whose blade was tied (to the handle) with a string, which was adorned with silver and gold,
whose blade was like a battering ram standing up against a *wall.
The lord evaluated the *hoe. ( .... )
Creation of Mankind (lines 18–27)
Here, “where the flesh sprouts,” he set this very *hoe to work:
he had it place the first model of mankind in the brickmold.
And (according to this model) his *people started to break through the soil towards Enlil,
and he looked approvingly at his “blackheaded people.”
Now the Anuna–gods stepped up to him: ( .... )
they wanted to demand the “blackheaded people” from him.
The lady who (once upon a time) had given birth to the ruler, who had given birth to the king,
Ninmena now *set the human reproduction going.
[TCS1, Hallo, W. W., & Younger, K. L. (1997). The context of Scripture (Page 511). Leiden; New York: Brill.]

Now, before we even get to the issues of parallels we should note the genre and likely 'tone' of this piece. According to Farber, this piece would hardly be considered a serious cosmogony (or even a serious myth, in the ANE sense of the word):

"The ancient scribe seemingly had a humorous purpose in mind when composing this text. It should probably be categorized as a satirical school text composed for use in the Edubba (= school) and for other learned people. The composition has no coherent topic or theme. The thread winding through the whole text is the syllable /al/ which is a Sumerian logogram meaning hoe but which also occurs as part of other words or as a grammatical element. Thus the text contains sections in which the hoe is the main topic: a mythological section on creation, a hymnical praise of the hoe, or the description of the hoe’s use in agriculture or when building temples. These sections are only loosely connected as if they had been examples of scholastic exercises. In addition to that, however, /al/ has been abstracted as a syllable and is used throughout the composition in quite imaginative alliterations and puns, some of which still resist all our attempts of understanding." [TCS1]

So, there is a strong possibility that anyone who could read this passage would also know that it was a 'joke' and NOT something to 'borrow from' for sacred and foundational literature! We are again at the problem of "if they could read it, they would not use it".

But even then--the anthropogony is still totally different from the Genesis account. In Genesis, there is no hoe, there is no brick-mold (making bricks in a mold is decidedly different from making pottery at a wheel), there is no breaking through the soil (like plants), there is no 'flesh sprouting'--the images are not even close. [We should also recognize that we have here the additional problem we noted earlier: there is no 'separation' of heaven from earth in Genesis.]

So, this piece doesn't offer any significant and compelling parallels (plus the genre and setting counts heavily against 'sacred borrowing'). If this is the 'most important Nippur text on the creation of man', then we will have to look elsewhere for any possible credible borrowing cases...


Five. Disputations.

Clifford introduces the Debate genre:

A third cosmogony appears in the genre of debateTree and Reed. In this widely attested genre, two beings, animate or inanimate, debate which the more noble and useful, each trumpeting his or her virtues. Most disputations begin with a cosmogony, which mention the origin of the debaters in the origin of the universe. When the debate concludes, the winner is declared, often a god announcing the decision. Such disputations were learned and witty and were intended, most probably, for the entertainment of the king and his court; in the case of Tree and Reed, the king was Shulgi (2046-1998 B.C.). Vanstiphout list ten extant Sumerian disputations...“ [OT:CAANEB,25]

I have access to five of these (one from Clifford, and four from TCS1). I will cite the cosmogonic section from each and then comment.

First, here is the relevant text from Clifford, from Tree and Reed:

The Great Foundation (ki-ur-gal-e) made herself resplendent, her body flowered joyously.
Vast Earth adorned her body with precious metal and lapis-lazuli.
She adorned herself with diorite, chalcedony, carnelian (and) elmeshu.
[Heaven] clothed the plants in beauty, stood by their majesty.
Pure [Ea]rth made herself verdant in a clean place for pure An.
An, high Heaven, consummated marriage with vast Earth,
He implanted the seed of the heroes Tree and Reed in (her womb).Earth, the good cow, received the good seed of An.
Earth gave herself to the happy birth of the plants of life. [OT:CAANEB, 26]

Obviously, there's not much to suggest as parallels to Gen 1-3, and much otherwise. In contrast to Genesis, (1) the earth--Ki--makes HERSELF resplendent and verdant, not God/Heaven doing the 'replendent-ing'; (2) Earth's adornment is mostly in precious metals--not even in view in Genesis 1-3; (3) there is a marriage between Heaven and Earth; (4) Heaven impregnates Earth through the image of bovine copulation; (5) there is some confusion in the text as to when plants are actually created--Heaven 'clothes' them BEFORE Earth gives birth to them? [but the plants of life COULD refer to the Tree and Reed, and this would argue that they were excepted from the 'general' creation by Heaven(?) earlier?] and (6) creation of plants is by a sex-act instead of by God's speech-act ("Let the earth bring forth..."). Is there anything in the way of strong parallels here?--apparently not... [Remember--before somebody brings it up (smile)--that Sjoberg showed that their was no 'tree of life' in this literature.]

Second, there is the Disputation between Ewe and Wheat [TCS1, 1.180]:

(1) When upon the Hill of Heaven and Earth
An had spawned the divine Godlings, —
Since godly Wheat had not been spawned or created with them,
Nor had the yarn of the godly Weaver been fashioned in the Land,
(5) Nor had the loom of the godly Weaver even been pegged out,
For Ewe had not yet appeared, nor were there numerous lambs,
And there was as yet no goat, nor numerous kids,
For Ewe did not drop her twin lambs
And Goat did not drop her triplet kids,

(10) The very names of Wheat, the holy blade, and of Ewe
Were yet unknown to the Godlings
and the greater Divinities.
There was no wheat–of–thirty–days;
There was no wheat–of–forty–days;
There was no wheat–of–fifty–days,
(15) Nor small wheat, nor mountain wheat, nor wheat of the goodly village;
Also there was no cloth to wear;
The godly Weaver not having been born, no royal cap was worn;
Lord herald, the precious lord, had not been born;
Shakan did not go out to the arid lands.
(20) The people of those distant days
Knew not bread to eat,
They knew not cloth to wear;
They went about in the Land with naked limbs
Eating grass with their mouths like sheep,
(25) And drinking water from the ditches.
At that time
, at the birthplace of the Gods,
In their home, the Holy Hill, they (the gods) fashioned Ewe and Wheat.
[TCS1, Hallo, W. W., & Younger, K. L. (1997). The context of Scripture (Page 575). Leiden; New York: Brill.]

Notice how this is so very, very different from Genesis 1-3: (1) the rampant polytheism and biological birth of 'godlings'!; (2) there are people of 'distant days' who exist BEFORE wheat, lambs, or goats exist; and (3) these people are more like animals than humans [they don't wear clothes, they graze grass like sheep, they drink water from ditches like livestock]. And if someone were to speculate that Genesis borrowed the idea of 'and they were naked and unashamed' (Gen 2.25) from this Disputation, they would be compelled to explain why the pictures of Adam and Eve are so much more mature, sophisticated, and 'human' than these creatures here. The reason for nakedness in Ewe and Wheat was because Ewe and Wheat (and Flax) did not exist at that point--and this is opposite to the story of Adam and Eve. There just is nothing here to go on, either.

Third, there is the Disputation between the Hoe and Plow [TCS1, 1. 181]:

This piece falls even farther away from 'serious myth', and it raises again the "if they could read it, they probably wouldn't use it..." point again. Note the TCS1 introduction by Vanstiphout:

"This piece is undoubtedly the finest example of the genre. It has long been recognized as one of the first poetic, if heavily rhetorical, statements of the case of the common man against the rich and mighty. But its most striking qualities are the sheer excellence of the argumentation (plow is deftly hoist with its own petard), the heavy satire on the pretenses of the mighty, the earthy but clever humor, and most of all the irreverent but highly effective “reworking” of the format: the traditional cosmogonic introduction is turned into a story the workmen tell at night, when resting and drinking!"

[TCS1, Hallo, W. W., & Younger, K. L. (1997). The context of Scripture (Page 578). Leiden; New York: Brill.]

But let's look at it anyway (the relevant lines):

(20) The Plow cries out to the Hoe
“I, I am Plow, I was fashioned by the great powers, assembled by noblest hands!
I am the mighty registrar of the god Enlil!
I am the faithful farmer of Mankind!" [TCS1; there does not seem to be a counterpart for the Hoe]

Nothing here, and again, humanity is seen as a plant (contra Genesis), farmed by the Pickax...

Fourth, there is the Disputation between Bird and Fish [TCS1, 1.182]:

(1) [In long gone, far off days], after the kind fate had been decreed,
[After An and Enlil] had set up the rules of heaven and earth,
[Nudimmud, noble prince], the lord of broad insight, —
[Lord Enki,] decreeing [the fates], their third one he surely is! —
(5) [The waters …] he collected, founded dwelling–places;
[Life–giving (waters)?] which beget fecund seed he held in hand;
[Tigris and] Euphrates he laid out side by side, and brought in them (the water of) the mountains;
[The smaller] streams he scoured, and put in ditches too.
[Father] Enki also made wide pens and stalls, and provided shepherd and herdsman;
(10) He founded cities and villages, and so made mankind thrive;
A king he gave them for shepherd, and raised him to sovereignty over them;
The king rose as daylight over the countries.
[Father] Enki tied up the marshes, growing there reeds young and old;
[In …] ponds and large lakes he made birds and fishes teem;
(15) [In the lagoons?] he gave all kinds of living creatures as their sustenance,
[…] and so placed the abundance of the gods in their charge.

Anything here? Well, one might suggest that the gathering of the waters in one place (Gen 1.10) might be parallel to verse 5 ("...collected waters, founded dwelling-places")? Unfortunately, the collection seems to be in Enki's "hands" (v6) instead of elsewhere on the planet, and 'dwelling places' refers to habitats/houses instead of to 'dry land'--nothing much here, then. [Plus, as we shall see later in the series, this theme occurs frequently in non-ANE cosnogonic literature.]

How about Gen 2.6--God making water come up to water the earth--and verses 7-8? Not very close, again: the 'collected waters' (for Genesis) seem to be oceans, whereas they are the rivers (Tigris and Euphrates) and the irrigation ditches in the Disputation. And the possibly-subterranean spring in Genesis has its water supply from underground and not from 'the mountains' (as here). Again, there are no specific points of commonality.

What about Enki making the ponds and lakes 'teeming' with fishes and birds? Sound like Genesis 1:20f? Not exactly--the sea DOES teem with something but that something is not birds (they 'teem' in the expanse of the heaven, and are not related to the sea, in the Genesis verse) and the 'teeming stuff' is not said to be 'fish', but rather 'all kinds of living creatures'. The specifics and patterns disagree again.

And we have here the chronology problem again: Bird and Fish seem to be made after 'wide pens and stalls', 'shepherd and herdsman' and even cities, villages, and royalty! Not only are the details, themes, and players different from Genesis, but so is the sequence and chronology. Nothing here---

Lastly, there is the Disputation between Summer and Winter [TCS1, I.183]:

(1) The Lord lifted his head in pride, bountiful days arrived.
Heaven and earth he regulated, and the population spread wide;
Enlil, like a mighty bull, placed his feet on the earth.
To make bountiful times of abundance,
(5) To make manifest … nights of splendor,
To make legumes grow, to make wheat spread out,
To make the carp–flood appear regularly at the quays,
To make the people lengthen their days in abundance,
To make Emesh [i.e., Summer] bind the dykes of heaven,
(10) To make Enten [i.e., Winter] show regularly the abundant waters at the quays,
This was what Enlil, king of the Mountainland, wanted to achieve.
With the great Hursag–hill he copulated, yes, gave that mountain her share;
He thus made her pregnant with Emesh and Enten
, welfare and life of the Nation;
Enlil, when he copulated, roared like a bull;
(15) Hursag spent the day at that place, and at night she opened her loins.
Emesh and Enten she bore as (smoothly as with) princely oil;
As great bulls (s)he made them eat pure plants in the enclosures of the hills;
(S)he reared them in the mountain meadows." [TCS1]

Contrast this sexual process with that of Genesis: "And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. " (Gen 1.14f)! The Parallels are simply AMAZING-- NOT!!! (smile). Can anyone really, really believe that the Genesis account was somehow borrowing from this Disputation??? [Besides, the sequence in the Disputation looks like people and vegetation already exist (verse 2) PRIOR TO the creation of the seasons--obviously in discontinuity with Genesis.]

Okay, where does this leave us?

This is an easy summary: there are no parallels of any substance, and there are TONS of anti-parallels, contradictions, and gross variances. This literature (unlike some other literature we will look at later) just is either too distant from the biblical document in tone, intent, themes, particulars, and sequences; or it is subject to the 'if they could read it, they would probably not use it' response.

[Note, by the way--and this will be important when we look at Tigay's methodological objection--that the issue here is not "a few strong parallels, overshadowed by massive differences" but rather "NO parallels at all, as well as massive differences". We don't have any "pro" data here to have to balance against the "con" data. This is important to understand, for this situation will show up in very important cases later.]


On to the next...(gilgy02.html),


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