3.4 Discussion: Humanís Decision in Following Godís Command as the Main Theme





In the progress of the exegesis, the beauty of the artful composition of the story should be appreciated. The five narrative techniques and observations mentioned in the introduction of this chapter have been gone through. It is expected these are what the original author wants to convey. The remaining work is identifying the main theme. The main theme can only be identified through trials and errors. The theme considered as the most appropriate one should have no conflicts with the three criteria of literary orientated, readersí involvement and harmony within a boarder context. In the following, the process of identifying the main theme will be demonstrated step by step.

According to criterion one, the theme should be derived from the literature. In the following, there is an attempt to identify the main theme with the hints revealed from the five techniques. First of all, the central part of the story in the parallel/mirror structure (introversio) can be recognized as the most important part. Therefore, the theme intended by the author should be the humanís decision in following Godís command or fulfilling oneís desire of being independent. As readers are involved the process of determining the theme (criterion two), the Ďhumaní in the decision in the garden is representing the individual first-person decisive moment of contemporary readers as well. In fact, the suggestion of involvement of readers and representation of humankind has no conflict with the original intention of the author. It has been discussed that the author has used different narrative techniques to draw the first-person involvement of readers. It seems that the author use the mode of third-person narrative (technique of the narrative mode) in scene four to create an atmosphere of silence for this serious decisive moment for us. Human (may be understood as ĎIí as the first-person involvement is required) is under the internal conflict to choose if to follow Godís command but living within oneís limit, or fulfilling oneís desire to be independent. This suggestion theme can encompass the findings revealed from other techniques as well. The suggested theme can be considered as the cause leading to changing status from not ashamed to shamed (norms of judgement). Moreover, it can be considered that human need to continue the struggling of decision making if following Godís command or not in living (conclusion of scene 7, norms of judgement). Furthermore, it can be considered as the causes of the broken relationship(plot). In other words, the decision of human leads to authorís using the five techniques to deliver the message including judgement and plot. Therefore, the suggested theme of manís decision has no conflict with the findings revealed from the narrative techniques. Thus, the suggested theme of manís decision can be adopted tentatively until it has conflict with other findings. It should be noted that the theme is derived from the literary work but not a guess, thus it meets the requirement of criterion one. Moreover, this theme involves readersí participation that meets the requirement of criterion two as well.

It has been demonstrated that the suggested main theme can meet the requirement of criteria one and two. The remaining work of this paper is to investigate if this suggested theme have any conflicts in a boarder text (criterion three) and previous studies.

3.4.1 No Conflict with the Teaching of the Pentateuch

In accordance with criterion three, the suggested main theme should be noted in a Ďboarder textí. However, the Ďboarder contextsí of the story are numerous. It can includes the relationship with Genesis chapter one, four, the whole book of Genesis, the Pentateuch, the Hexateuch, the Old Testament and even the whole Bible. It is impossible to discuss all of them. In this paper, the Pentateuch will be considered as the boarder text as the Pentateuch is always considered as a unit and it may be board enough for the study but not to be too board. It should be noted that the following is only a tentative attempt to investigate if the suggested theme is in consistent with the teaching of the Pentateuch. As there are numerous suggested teachings for the Pentateuch and there is no common agreement on it, only one of the representative teaching will be used in this study due to the limitation of length. Due to these limits, the consistence between the suggested theme and the teaching of the Pentateuch is not a direct supporting evidence for the theme of the story.

Two questions needed to be answered before the study of consistent is conducted. Firstly, it is necessary to identify if there is any possible relationship between the story and the Pentateuch. Secondly, the possible teaching of the Pentateuch should be worked out. Literary study will continue to be used in order to have a consistent methodology throughout this study.

Regarding the possible relationship between the story and the Pentateuch, the structure of the composition of the Canon should be noted. John H. Sailhamer mentions that there is a Canonical redaction of the Jewish Tanakh. In other words, the composition of any text in the Cannon is not arbitrary. Thus, the position of the story studied should serve certain purposes. When we studied the episode of the Deuteronomy beginning from chapter 33, we can find that it can be serve as the prelude of the prophecy and writing. Then, there is a question if there is any relationship among the chapters in the Pentateuch. It is a valid expectation that the ending of a book will have a review and summary of the beginning of the book. In fact, Wenham and Brugemann have mentioned the comparison between the Deuteronomy 30:1~19 about the offer of life and death and the story of Adam and Eve. It has a high probabilities that there is a corresponding relationship between these two passages recognized by scholars.

The Offer of Life and Death

11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.

12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"

13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"

14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.

16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them,

18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

In according to the teaching of the Pentateuch, literary study is used. In the literary study of the introversio structure of the Pentateuch, it is found that the climax is the Godís presence in Sinai. In implies the religious edification. It seems that the advice of decisive making given by Moses in Deuteronomy 30 is consistent with this suggested teaching of the Pentateuch. It is because Moses lays the life and death, blessing and cursing to the audience. It may be corresponding to the teaching of choosing to be a religious man or not.

At this stage, it can be expected that there is a reasonable hypothesis that there is certain relationship. The comparison between them is summarized in the following table:

 

Genesis 2:4b~3:24

Deuteronomy 30:1~19

Mode of Narration:

Third-person narration and first person dialogue are sued

Exhortation of Moses

Message Delivered:

Command from God

Exhortation of Moses

Focus of the Message

Not eating the fruit/ Obeying the command

Loving God (v.16)

Consequences of Following/ not Following the Message

Living in the Garden/ Out of the Garden and death

Live in the land (v.16)(blessed)/ Out of the land and death (v.18) (cruised)

Consistence with the teaching of the Pentateuch: Godís Presence/ Religious Edification

Consistent: choose to obey Godís command and have the presence of God (in the Garden)

Consistent: choose to obey Godís command and have the presence of God (in the land)

There are many similar ideologies between these two narrations. It may even considered that Moses may make a footnote corresponding to the story of Adam and Eve. On the other hand, there are differences between the two choices, but both narrations create a tension for readers to make a decision in following Godís command. In other words, both of them ask readers to choose if to live religiously with the presence of God. Thus, the suggested theme of humanís decision in following Godís command does not have any conflict in the boarder context of the Pentateuch.

The suggested theme of the story has been checked against with the three criteria stated in the section 1.2. It has no conflicts with the criteria. In the following, the theme will be checked against with the previous work.

3.4.2 No Conflict with Previous Studies

Through the study of the consistence between the suggested theme and previous studies, it does not only show the consistence but also the contribution of this study.

The suggestions of the theme related to original sin/ sin, human maturation and losing chance of gaining life may be weak in argument and will not be discussed here. The previous work on the theme proposed by the scholars adopting the literacy approach reviewed includes troublesome relationship human limitation, existentialism problems and changing relationship. They will be discussed below.

Basically, the suggested theme of manís decision has no conflict with such previous studies. Humanís decision can be considered as the cause of the troublesome relationship between God and human. Human/ Readers/ I need to have the first-person involvement in the reading of the text. Human need to choose if to follow Godís command but living within oneís limits or fulfill oneís desire to be independent. Humanís decision in a wrong way can be considered as the cause of the existentialism problem and the changing relationship.

There may be a weakness of this suggested theme. It can be criticized if the suggested theme can be comprehensive enough to cover the whole context of the story (von Rad). The suggested theme highlights the critical moment for the causes of the existentalism problems. As this decisive moment is in the central point of the story, readers are involved to think over the preceding and postceding of this moment. Therefore, this suggested theme can be considered cover the whole story to certain senses.

Regarding the contribution of this study, the element of readersí involvement may be emphasized appropriately in this study. From the reviews of scholarsí recognizing the human limitation/ existentialism problems, it can be found that these conclusions are informing the readers about Ďwhyí leading to such conditions and Ďwhatí the conditions are. It seems that involvement of the readers is only a third-person. However, criterion two stated in section 1.2 informing us that the involvement of readers in the process of identifying the theme will lead to a more concrete one. Thus, it will be better if there is adequate consideration of the involvement of readers. In fact, the suggested theme implies Ďhowí one should make a decision. The first-person role of readers is involved in the theme. This is a contribution of this paper.

3.5 Conclusion

Literary study is adopted in exegesis in this paper. Five narrative techniques (variations in the narrative, norms of judgement point of view, dynamics of the relationship distant among the characters, plot and introversio) are observed in the interpretation of the seven scenes of the story of Adam and Eve. The literary study fulfill criterion one in identifying a theme. After the exegesis, it is concluded that Ďhumanís decision in following Godís commandí can be considered as the main theme of the story. This theme is derived from the narrative technique of introversio mainly but it can encompass the rest of the four techniques. The suggested theme fulfills criterion two of readersí involvement as well. Moreover, the theme has no conflict within a boarder context of the Pentateuch. The story of Adam and Eve and the exhortation of Mosses (Deuteronomy 30:19~25) are decisive moments concerning whether to be a religious man with Godís presence or not. The theme can fulfill the last criterion. Comparing with previous studies, this suggested theme has no conflict with each other. Furthermore, it is shown that there is a first-person involvement of readers of the suggested theme, which is a contribution of this study.







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