This is part 2 in our live conversation from Milpitas California! Tim and Jon continue their discussion on design patterns in the Bible.
Tim outlines the layering of Adam and Eve’s story with Cain and Able’s story. In both stories, there is a change agent that tempts the humans. In the first story it is “the serpent”, in the second story it is “sin crouching at your door.” God calls out to both Adam and Eve and Cain saying “where are you?” and “what have you done?” Both of these stories mirror and reflect each other in many, many ways. The pattern that sets up in these first two stories becomes a template that other biblical stories use.
Tim shares another example of Eve mapping onto Sarah. Eve shared the fruit with her husband Adam, and later God reprimanded Adam saying “because you listened to your wife.” Similarly, at Sarah’s suggestion, Abraham “listened to his wife Sarah” and slept with Sarah’s servant Hagar. Tim says these stories are meant to mirror each other as well. Abraham is struggling with the same human condition, the same inclination to sin that Adam was.
Tim shares more examples of Israel at Mt Sinai and Israel at Jericho. Israel is told not to make any idols. The first story told after they are given this command is the story of the golden calf. This story is a combination of the earlier stories. Aaron listened to the people like Adam listened to Eve and Abraham listened to Sarah, Aaron shifted the blame like Adam shifted the blame.
Then in a later story, when Joshua leads Israel to overthrow Jericho, Achan takes and hides a “gold tongue” after having been explicitly told not to take any of the plunder. Joshua asks Achan, “What have you done?”
Why do the Biblical authors record this story? Because they want to continue to drive home the point that when humans listen to a voice that tempts them to “take” after they were explicitly told to not take, it leads to death.
Q1. (56:15) In light of word repetition do you recommend a particular translation?
Q2. (57:55) How would you approach reading the Bible with reluctant readers?
Q3. (1:00:25) How do you talk about the humanity of the Bible while still honoring the divine?
Q4. (1:05:55) How does a non Phd stay current with this topic? (Part of Tim’s answer was later recorded in studio)
Q5. (1:12:10) How do you know that any patterns you find are real? And that you’re not just seeing things and reading things into the text.
Robert Alter: The Art Of Biblical Narrative
John Sailhamer: The Pentatuch as Narrative
Seth Postell: Adam as Israel: Genesis 1-3 as Introduction to the Torah and Tanakh
Jerome Walsh: Style and Structure in Biblical Hebrew Narrative
Michael Fishbane: Text and Texture: A Literary Reading of Selected Texts