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The Genesis of Genesis. The Egyptian Influence on the Ancient Hebrew Creation Stories. The Genesis of Genesis. The Egyptians shared common ideas about the creation of the world In the beginning was a universal flood (Nun or Nu)

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the genesis of genesis

The Genesis of Genesis

The Egyptian Influence on the Ancient Hebrew Creation Stories

the genesis of genesis1
The Genesis of Genesis
  • The Egyptians shared common ideas about the creation of the world
    • In the beginning was a universal flood (Nun or Nu)
    • A single deity acts and a mountain is raised from the flood, upon which more creative acts will occur
  • The difference among Egyptian myths centered around who the deity was and how creation began
egypt four cult centers
Egypt: Four Cult Centers
  • Heliopolis
  • Memphis
  • Hermopolis
  • Thebes

Each city had its own local deity that they associated with the creative acts

heliopolis
Heliopolis
  • Atum
    • A solar deity
    • Was either the mountain or appeared on the mountain as a flaming serpent
    • Had both male and female traits
    • Gave birth to Shu and Tefnut, who gave birth to Geb and Nut, who gave birth to Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys
memphis
Memphis
  • Ptah, chief deity
    • Spoke to summon Atum from Nun
      • Gave birth to Shu and Tefnut, who gave birth to Geb and Nut, who gave birth to Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys
hermopolis
Hermopolis
  • The Ogdoad, eight deities, emerges from Nun and gives birth to Re, the Creator
  • Re then gives birth to the Ennead
hermopolis s ogdoad
Hermopolis’s Ogdoad

Universal Flood

Space or Infinity

Darkness

Invisible Winds

the ogdoad leads to the creation of the ennead
The Ogdoadleads to the Creation of the Ennead

Re

The eight deities of the Ogdoad give birth to Re.Re, then, creates the Ennead

thebes
Thebes
  • Amen, the creator
    • The other creator deities were just forms of Amen;
      • Amen appears first in the Hermopolitan Ogdoad,
      • Then as the Memphite Ptah,
      • Then as Heliopolitan Atum,
      • And then as Re
genesis 1 1 2
The Beginning 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Formless and empty are translated from the Hebrew tohu and bohu, an idiomatic expression for chaos and disorder

Spirit is translated from ruach, meaning wind or violent exhalation

Genesis 1:1-2
genesis 1 1 21
The two opening Hebrew verses describe the order of creation

An earth and heaven that take up space but have no form

Darkness

A watery deep

A wind moving over waters

Genesis 1:1-2
genesis 1 3
3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

Amen “speaks and what should come into being comes into being”

Ptah “thinks out and commands what he wishes [to exist]”

Atum “took Annunciation in his mouth”

Genesis 1:3
genesis 1 31
3And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

Amen “speaks and what should come into being comes into being”

Ptah “thinks out and commands what he wishes [to exist]”

Atum “took Annunciation in his mouth”

Genesis 1:3
slide15

Genesis 1:3

  • 3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day.
  • A hymn to Amen shows the same sequence: Amen-Re “opened [his] eyes to see with them and everybody became illuminated by means of the glances of [his] eyes, when the day had not yet come into being.”
genesis 1 4 5 1 16 19
4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning-the first day.

16 God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning--the fourth day.

Genesis 1:4-5 & 1: 16-19
genesis 1 6 8
6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning-the second day.

The firmament rising out of the waters is the primeval mountain that arises out of Nun, the primeval waters

Egyptians saw the sky as a waterway that Re sailed though on his solar barque.

Genesis 1: 6-8
genesis 1 20 2 19
120 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.“

219 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air.

“Teem” can also be translated as “bring forth,” changing the meaning to suggest that the birds are created out of the waters in the first passage, creating, then, a contradictory meaning as the second passage suggests that birds come from the ground.

Genesis 1: 20 & 2:19
genesis 1 27
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Hebrew man is ha-adam, which means “the adam,” a pun because the creature is formed from clay (adamah)

Genesis 1:27

The first “man”in the passage translates as humans or, more literally, earth creatures