Genesis Overview: Genealogies

a) The Table of Nations (10.1a,2-7,20,22-23,31-32 in P)

The P table is not racial nor religious but political and historical. In the second millennium BCE the dominant races were the Egyptians to the South and the Hittites to the North of Palestine. The former reached its zenith under Thutmose III (1490-1436) who undertook 17 expeditions against nations including Palestine; it declined and then revived under the nineteenth dynasty (1300-1200), cf. Canaan in the Egyptian circle in 10.6 (Cush is Nubia, Put is Libya). The Hittites reached their zenith c1390, inconclusively clashing with Rameses II in 1295; c1200 the Aegean "sea peoples" completely destroyed the Hittites. The resulting migration pushed the Philistines into Palestine and Egypt; the Hittite tradition, absent from our table, is represented by the detritus gathered under Japheth; it lists Etruscans and Ionians, Asians, Medes, Scythians and the people of Tarshish (South-West Spain).

The third great power is the Semitic Arameans who invaded from the East (1500-1200), represented by the youngest, Aram, in 10.22, and given the same status as older Semite nations.

b) Epilogue to the P Table

The Table i P  is not court literature but doctrine as it was transmitted and taught; it may correspond to Anaximander's (611-546 BCE) first map. It shows the fulfilment of God's promise to Noah in spite of Israel's absence! A radical break with Myth.

c) Fragments of J (10.1b,8-19,21,24-30)

P is based on earlier J which the redactor includes only in part. The mythical figure of Nimrod, the first to wield great power on the earth. Reference to Cretans (10.15, cf. 9.27).

KC V/14

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