My Thesis “Reading Genesis 1-36 in Persian Yehud”
I’m sure that many of you are up late at night, unable to sleep, perturbed by the question, “I wonder how Scott’s thesis is coming along?” Well, not bad actually.
I wasn’t able to work on the project for a long time, but now I have the main labour done, and I’m currently in the editing process. Jim West was kind enough to add his editing expertise to an early draft of the project as well, and his keen eye caught some silly mistakes on my part! And so the project is ‘better’ because of some of his suggestions.
The working title of the study is “Reading Genesis 1-36 in Persian Yehud.” In a nutshell: the study utilizes a synchronic method for a literary-critical reading of Genesis, which identifies two narrative frameworks, Genesis 1-11 and Genesis 6-36, and argues how this material would have functioned in the social, political, and religious conflicts of Persian-era Yehud.
The list of scholars who I am indebted to and rely heavily upon for my study is too long to list here, but there are a few persons that without their work I would never have been able structure my argument the way I have.
James Trotter’s “Reading Hosea in Achaemenid Yehud” was a massive influence on my method. Another very important scholar who shaped my thinking and upon whom I rely heavily in the construction of my argument is R. Christopher Heard and his work on Genesis in “The dynamics of diselection: ambiguity in Genesis 12-36 and ethnic boundaries in post-exilic Judah.” The broad outlines of my argument also draw heavily on the works of E. Theodore Mullen Jr.’s “Ethnic myths and pentateuchal foundations: a new approach to the formation of the Pentateuch.” And this study was a good reason to re-read and be influenced all over again by one of my favourite scholars, Philip Davies.
It has been an interesting experience as I had to re-write the project a few times basically from the ground up, but now that I am nearing completion I am getting excited for the oral defense. Should be fun!