Adam - Genesis Narrative

Genesis Narrative

In the first five chapters of Genesis the word אָדָם ( 'adam ) is used in all of its senses: collectively ("mankind"), individually (a "man"), gender nonspecific, ("man and woman") and male.

In Genesis 1:27 "adam" is used in the collective sense, whereby not only the individual Adam, but all humans, are created on the sixth day. The interplay between the individual "Adam" and the collective “humankind” is a main literary component to the events that occur in the Garden of Eden, the ambiguous meanings embedded throughout the moral, sexual, and spiritual terms of the narrative reflecting the complexity of the human condition. Genesis 2:7 is the first verse where "Adam" takes on the sense of an individual man (the first man): the context of sex and gender, prior to these verses, is absent. The gender distinction of "adam" is then reiterated in Genesis 5:1-2 by defining "male and female".

A recurring literary motif that occurs in Gen. 1-8, is the bond between Adam and the earth ("adamah"). Adam is made from the earth, and it is from this "adamah" that Adam gets his name. God's cursing of Adam also results in the earth being cursed, and Adam returns to the earth from which he was taken. This “earthly” aspect is a component of Adam’s identity, and Adam’s curse of estrangement from the earth seems to render humankind’s divided identity of being earthly yet separated from nature.

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Famous quotes containing the words narrative and/or genesis:

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