Plato and the Biblical Creation Accounts (Gmirkin)

1. Biblical Creation Accounts and Plato – 1 2022-09-25

In his opening chapter RG

      • explains how he will go about identifying the sources behind the Primordial History
      • gives an overview of the history of the scholarly views of Genesis 1-11 and where his own research fits(hint: it all started with the Copenhagen school of biblical criticism and includes reference to “the Elephant(ine) in the room”).


2. Genesis 1 “Amazing” “Unique” — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus – 2] 2022-09-30

Shows how unlike other Near Eastern creation accounts Genesis 1 is.


3. Genesis = Science + Myth + Theology — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus – 3a] 2022-10-02

Overview of Greek scientific ideas and the appearance of Greek cosmogonies that were a blend of science, myth and theology.


4. Why Genesis 1-3 is Different from Other Myths — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus – 3b] 2022-10-03

If the authors of Genesis were inspired by Plato’s discourse on the origins of the cosmos in Timaeus how can one explain the obvious contrast between Plato’s lengthy scientific and philosophical reasoning and the simple narrative in Genesis 1:1-2:3?


5. Genesis 1 as Philosophy — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus – 4] 2022-10-14

Demonstrates the extent and depth of the influence of Plato’s Timaeus into the Hellenistic era and beyond.


6. In the Beginning: Genesis 1 as Science — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus – 5a] 2022-10-26

In this chapter RG begins a verse by verse commentary on how the previous discussions are relevant to each part of Genesis 1.


7. In Six Days: Genesis 1 as Science — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus – 5b] 2022-11-11

Continuing the detailed analysis, noting how Genesis 1 is not a science text. It s primarily a theological myth but it is theology and myth wrapped around a contemporary scientific understanding of how the earth and heavens came into existence.


8. When God Created Humans, then Retired: Genesis 1 as Science — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus – 5c] 2022-11-19

Examines what it means, “Let us create man in our image” in the context of Greek thought. Also a study of what it means for God to have “rested the seventh day” — also in the Greek context.


9. The Second Creation Story in Genesis — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus – 6] 2023-01-03

Genesis 2 is generally seen as a “second creation account” yet this also coheres closely with Plato’s thought and Greek myth.

I have added a detour with observations of another scholar on the relationship between the Garden of Eden temptation story and Plato’s Symposium.

Includes a table of parallels between Timaeus and Genesis 2-3. (I add a sidebar note with a summary of RG’s view that our modern notion of God (formless, eternal, beyond space and time) originated with Plato.)


10. The Garden of Eden — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus-Critias – 7a] 2023-01-08

RG compares the Genesis narrative from Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden with both Plato’s thought and Greek myth as found in Homer, Hesiod and Pindar.


“Garden of Eden” : Mesopotamian Perspectives 2023-01-09

The Ambiguity of the Serpent: Greek versus Biblical 2023-01-12

In the above posts I digress from RG’s discussion to look a little more closely for contrast and comparison at other myths, Mesopotamian and Greek.


11. Primeval History from Cain to Noah — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus-Critias – 7b] 2023-01-23

The expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden read in the light of Hesiod’s Works and Days

The expulsion of Cain from the land of Eden read against Greek and Mesopotamian tropes

The genealogy of Genesis 5 (including inventors) is set against the work of Berossus

The pre-Flood state of the world (ethnic groups, sons of gods) compared with Plato’s narrative in Critias, the sequel to Timaeus.


12. Demigods, Violence and Flood in Plato and Genesis — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus-Critias – 7c] 2023-01-25

There is no question about the Genesis Flood narrative being influenced by the famous Mesopotamian myth. But equally there is no doubt that there are significant differences of episodic detail, motivations, and theological messages. RG studies these against Plato’s myth of Atlantis.


13. Sons of God, Daughters of Men … and “Giants” — Why are they in the Bible? 2023-02-03

Compares the pre-historical age where gods mated with mortals, heroes with great renown emerged, violence spread in both the world of Genesis and that of Plato and Hesiod.


14. Table of Nations and other Post Flood events — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus-Critias – 7d] 2023-02-09

How Greek ideas throw light on Genesis 10’s table of (70) nations, Araham at war, and the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah.


15. When Yahweh was at Peace with Other Gods — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus-Critias – 7e] 2023-02-11

A study of the several different names of a/the deity acknowledged in the Patriarchal narratives of Genesis and their relationship with early pre-biblical gods, but noting in particular how Yahweh worship was compatible with these practices. RG argues that the authors of Genesis were closer to Plato’s ideal principles than the authors of Exodus-Joshua.

I include a map from another scholar showing the diffuse extent of Yahweh worship in pre-biblical times. Yahweh, we know from archaeological finds, was originally part of a larger pantheon and even had a wife.


16. Two Covenants: Israel and Atlantis — [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus-Critias – 7f] 2023-02-12

RG expands on an observation first presented by Philippe Wajdenbaum in Argonauts of the Desert that there are striking similarities between the covenant ceremony depicted in Exodus and that of the leaders with their god Poseidon in Critias.


17. Where Did the God of the Bible Come From? – [Biblical Creation Accounts/Plato’s Timaeus-Critias – 8] 2023-02-20

RG explains how monotheism did not gradually evolve but was introduced “full born” from the mind of Plato into the ancient world of natural philosophy and then to theology. But the God of Exodus, a jealous god, is definitely not like Plato’s perfect and good God. RG compares the ideas found in Genesis with those in Exodus-Joshua to show that the authors of the latter failed to welcome the ideals that Plato had expressed. By combining their idea of a local jealous Yahweh with the perfectly good creator deity of Genesis 1 they created the “God of the Bible” with whom we are familiar.


Could Plato Really have Influenced Judaism and the Bible? 2023-02-21

This post is an addendum, having completed the series addressing RG’s analysis of Genesis with Greek thought, and selects extracts from the work of a classicist that illustrates the extent of Plato’s influence in the governments and societies of the world down to Hellenistic and Roman times.


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