Friday, March 06, 2015

Reanimated corpses

This will probably be my final reply to Bnonn:

But as I pointed out, if there were blatant syncretism between Genesis 7–8 and Greek mythological tales (which for all I know there is), we would hardly take that as impugning the traditional interpretation of Genesis 7–8. It would simply illustrate that the Jews believed the competing accounts were describing a common event.
It would certainly impugn the traditional interpretation if that's been polluted by Hellenistic syncretism.  
The question is simply how the Jews understood their own text. 
That's equivocal. On traditional dating, Genesis was written 1000+ years before these belatedly "traditional" interpretations arose in the Hellenistic era. That doesn't bear witness to how the original audience construed the text. 
It's like saying, "The question simply is how do Anglo-American high school students understand Beowulf?" It really isn't "their own text." 
This is question-begging. As I’ve said, we need to ask how the original readers would have understood these passages. Given how widely-known the book of Enoch was, it seems these passages obviously are allusions to Genesis 6:1-4. When we try to put ourselves in the shoes of a first century Jew, given what we know, that certainly looks like how he’d read it. 
As I've documented, Titanomachy was widely-known to Jews. In addition to what I've already presented, 1 Enoch 88:1-3 seems to be indebted to the Titanomachia in Hesiod's Theogony. Does that mean we should should view 2 Pet 2:4 and Jude 6 as a literary allusion to the War of the Titans? Or assume that was their interpretive filter?  
Moreover, Enoch is clearly on Jude’s mind in vv 14-15, so it’s not much of a stretch to think vv 5-7 are dealing with similar material.
i) That may indeed be why many commentators are misled into presuming an allusion to Gen 6:1-4 via 1 Enoch. However, that's methodologically unsound, and actually implies the opposite. 
We think Jude is referring to 1 Enoch in 14-15 because we have specific textual clues to that effect. Their absence in v6 tells against that identification. 
ii) This also raises the question of authorial intent. Let's grant for the sake of argument that Jude intends an allusion to Gen 6:1-4 via 1 Enoch. If Peter borrowed from Jude, does that mean Peter intends whatever Jude intends? Does that mean Peter intends an allusion to Gen 6:1-4 via 1 Enoch? Or is Peter merely seconding the truth of Jude 6 without intending anything else with respect to Jude's underlying sources? 
iii) I'm also puzzled by Bnonn's reference to similar material in 5-7. We don't need 1 Enoch to mediate OT allusions in v5 or v7. 
There’s also the problem of what Jude and Peter are talking about if it’s not Genesis 6. It could be something else—but what? Why discount the plausible explanation we have, when there’s nothing to replace it with?
Here's a good example of how a popular interpretation can so condition a reader that he can't even discern a more evident alternative. The text is referring to the fall of angels. It's nearly explicit in that regard. 
The fact is we just have no idea what the son of a demoniac would be like.
Given the prevalence of witchcraft and possession in many parts of the world, past and present, there'd be many examples of children fathered by demoniacs. 
When I suggested they could have taken pre-existent human bodies, I was actually thinking of recently deceased corpses.
Notice how far we've strayed from the wording of Gen 6:1-4. Nothing in that passage says or suggests that the "sons of god[s]" had union with women through the instrumentality of preexisting bodies which they commandeered or reanimated. There are no intermediaries or third-parties in v2. It's a direct transaction between two parties. That's how it's presented. 

1 comment:

  1. Genetic material of pre-existent human corpses would not be called enhanced.
    Would these "Larzarus" die again, even in the Flood?