Volume 52, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268
  • oa The Origins of Society in the Creation Myths of Genesis

    1Preliminary versions of this paper were presented at a philosophical seminar in Münster, September 26, 1995, and a theological Ph.D. seminar in the Hague, March 29, 1996. I started the study of the creation myths in the mid-seventies in collaboration with my friend and colleague David Moyer (D.S. Moyer & J.G. Oosten, ‘The Ambivalent Gardener: The animal and vegetable codes of Gen. 2.4 to 9.29’, 135.1 (1979), 118-127; and J.G. Oosten & D.S. Moyer, ‘De mythische omkering: Een analyse van de sociale code van de scheppingsmythen van Genesis 1.4b-ll’, 1.1 (1982), 75-91. I wish to thank Jos Platenkamp and Karel van der Toom for their invitations to present the paper at these seminars and their valuable and stimulating comments.

    An Anthropological Perspective

  • By Jarich Oosten
  • Source: NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion, Volume 52, Issue 2, Apr 1998, p. 107 - 123
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.5117/NTT1998.52.002.OOST
  • Language: Dutch
    • Published online: 01 Apr 1998



The narratives of Genesis 1-11 are examined from an anthropological perspective focusing on the origin and development of human society. The actions of ancestors give rise to cultural institutions which deny or inverse those actions. A social world requires the existence of cultural rules and ancestors who precede it. The world is created and recreated so that society can take shape. The development of society is a gradual process requiring an increasing differentiation in terms of image, name, social hierarchy and language.


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