Genesis and Theogony…Plagiarism?
The Book of Genesis is a compilation, and like every compilation it has a wide variety of contributors who, in turn, have their individual influence upon the final work. It is no surprise, then, that there exist certain parallels between the Theogony, the cosmogony of the early Greeks, and the Book of Genesis, the first part of the Pentateuch section of the Bible. In fact, arguments may be made that the extent of this 'borrowing', as it were, is not limited to Genesis; the Theogony has its own roots in Greek mythology, predating the Book of Genesis by a thousand years. A superficial examination of this evidence would erroneously lead one to believe that Genesis is somewhat a collection of older mythology re-written specifically for the Semites. In fact, what develops is that the writers have addressed each myth as a separate issue, and what the writers say is that their God surpasses every other. Each myth or text that has a counterpart in Genesis only serves to further an important idea among the Hebrews: there is but one God, and He is omnipotent, omniscient, and other-worldly; He is not of this world, but outside it, apart from it. The idea of a monotheistic religion is first evinced in recorded history with Judaism, and it is vital to see that instead of being an example of plagiarism, the Book of Genesis is a meticulously composed document that will set apart the Hebrew God from the others before, and after.
If we trace back to the first appearance of Genesis in written form, in its earliest translation, we arrive at 444 B.C.; In order to fully comprehend the origin of the story we must venture further back in time. We can begin with the father of the Hebrew people, Abraham. We can deduce when he lived, and find that he lived around 1900 B.C. in ancient Mesopotamia. If we examine his world and its culture, we may find the reasons behind certain references in Genesis, and the mythologies of Theogony they resemble.
Abraham lived during a time of great prosperity and a remarkably advanced culture. Homes were comfortable, even luxurious. We can also deduce that it was a relatively stable and peaceful society; its art is characterized by the absence of any warlike activity, paintings or sculptures. Outside the cities the early nomadic tribes of Israel were, "taking with them the early traditions, and in varying latitudes modified them" according to the current external influences. The message remained constant, but the context would subtly change. There were tribes of Israel in Egypt during the Egyptian Middle Kingdom period, which certainly exposed these people to Egyptian culture as well as Babylonian culture as a result of trade between the two kingdoms. Having placed Abraham and certain early Semites in this time, we now understand the culture they knew and the impact it had on the creation of Genesis.
The book of Genesis is about the beginnings of creation and...