In 1895 Hermann Gunkel published his Schöpfung und Chaos in Urzeit und Endzeit (translation: Creation and Chaos in Primeval Time and End Time) proposing that ancient near eastern myths formed the background for the biblical accounts of creation, chaos, conflict, and eschatology. Creation and Chaos: A Reconsideration of Hermann Gunkel’s Chaoskampf Hypothesis (Eisenbrauns, 2013) presents the work of current scholars who have found it more prudent to modify Gunkel’s hypothesis on the basis of a more thorough analysis of the extant data. This volume’s essays contradict the ongoing claim by some evangelical scholars who insist on associating tehom with Tiamat and represent Genesis 1 creation as a battle against hostile elements. Töyräänvuori’s essay raises a significant question: Shouldn’t the biblical account of creation (written by Egyptian-trained Moses) contain more associations to Egyptian mythology than to Babylonian? Perhaps the Egyptians borrowed from the Hebrews’ western Asiatic narratives instead of the other way around. Feinman’s essay makes the point that it is high time scholars cease treating the early chapters of Genesis as a “free-floating, immature, hazy, primitive, oral geographic tradition” (184), rather than with the real world. Evangelical references to and identifications of Chaoskampf in the Genesis record need serious reconsideration, if not outright correction. An overall evaluation of this volume reveals (1) the absence of serious consideration of the role of divine revelation in regard to the biblical record and (2) the potential that all of the ancient near eastern myths might represent independent flawed and skewed memories of either the original divine revelation of creation or of the original events of the Flood and the tower of Babel. Still, this volume needs to be read and Chaoskampf needs to be eradicated from evangelical commentaries (other than to identify the error of seeing such primordial conflict in the Scriptures).
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