Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » February 2005 » Inna Gadda Da Vida, Honey

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02/07/2005: Inna Gadda Da Vida, Honey

PG at Half the Sins of Mankind wonders whether Adam and Eve had sex in the Garden of Eden. On the one hand, there's Genesis 1:28,

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

in which God seems to instruct his so far unnamed couple to start reproducing immediately. And then there's Genesis 4:1, which seems to suggest that Adam and Eve didn't have sex until after they were kicked out of the Garden:

And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

As it happens, I'm reading a book that explains this inconsistency, viz. Who Wrote the Bible?, by Richard Elliot Friedman. (I also studied this at the alma mater, in one of the mandatory Bible classes, but I had forgotten most of the details. There's really nothing quite as subversive as a scholarly Bible class.)

PG has stumbled on the fact that there are two separate creation stories in the first few chapters of Genesis. The first passage I quoted above was from a source that scholars call "P." This writer refers to the deity as "Elohim," which is usually translated "God." The second passage quoted above is from a source that scholars call "J," who characteristically refers to the deity as "Yahweh," which is usually translated "LORD."

There are also two versions of the Flood story, from the same two sources, with the same characteristic writing styles. There are two other sources in the Torah, known to scholars as "E" and "D." Read Friedman's book for more details.

Amber Taylor.)

Brock on 02.07.05 @ 06:29 PM CST

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Replies: 1 comment

on Tuesday, February 8th, 2005 at 4:20 AM CST, Karen McLauchlan said

Exactly my point...Now WHO (mortal men with an "agenda") wrote those books. You'da thought that Jesus, or Mohammed, would have had the precient forethought to write their OWN words down (to be later parsed, agonized over and debated for millenia.) And then there is Constantine...who "left books" and "left books out" in the "Offical Emperor Sanctioned Version of the Bible." Unfortunately, all of this leaves me unable to latch onto the "Biblical literalist" mentality. I can see the message...but as a matter of "Faith" not as a matter of "Facts."

February 2005

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