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Title: Genesis 1 and creation ex nihilo : a reconsideration
Author: Chambers, Nathan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 4744
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis addresses the question of the relationship between Genesis 1 and the doctrine of creation ex nihilo. Although creation ex nihilo was developed in the early church as a guide for reading Genesis 1, the consensus among modern historically-oriented biblical scholarship is that, as a post-biblical category, creation ex nihilo in fact obscures the original meaning of Genesis 1. By examining the various historical and theological contexts within which Genesis 1 has been read, I illustrate the differing purposes with which one can read the biblical text and the differing methods of study which relate to these purposes. Although one can read Genesis 1 as ancient history, it can also be read as part of the canonical Scripture of the church. I first examine the ancient Near Eastern background of Genesis, which forms the historical context within which Genesis 1 has been read in the modern period. Then I turn to an exposition of the doctrine of creation ex nihilo in its classic iteration within the Christian tradition. This leads naturally to an examination of the historical circumstances in which the early church developed this doctrine. Having examined some of the key historical and theological contexts within which Genesis 1 has been read, and having addressed various hermeneutical issues involved in negotiating these various contexts, I focus on the text of Genesis 1:1-3. The syntax of these verses has been a major interpretive crux in the modern period and so I offer a close philological examination of the various possible interpretations. I conclude by examining the narrative function of Genesis 1:1 within the chapter as a whole and its larger literary-canonical context, arguing that the verse can responsibly and plausibly be read as describing the first act in the process of creation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available