John Walton presents comparative studies of ancient texts and their cosmologies. The first half of the book focuses on the ancient texts that inform our understanding of Near Eastern cosmology. Egyptian, Sumerian, and Akkadian texts are the primary focus, but occasionally Ugaritic and Hittite are included as appropriate. Walton posits that functional ontology was pervasive in ancient writing because bringing about order and functionality was the very essence of creative activity.
The second half of the book is devoted to a fresh analysis of Genesis 1:1–2:4. Walton studies significant Hebrew terms and shows that, like the rest of the ancient Near East, the Israelite texts use a functional cosmology that is constructed with temple ideology in mind. He contends that Genesis 1 was never an account of material origins but that, as in the rest of the ancient world, the purpose of this “creation text” was to outline functions for the components of the cosmos. All of this demonstrates that, when we read Genesis 1 as the ancient document it is rather than trying to read it in light of our current world view, the text recovers the energy it had in its original context. At the same time, it provides a new perspective on Genesis 1 in relation to what have long been controversial issues.
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
Interested in more? Be sure to check out the Eisenbrauns Old Testament Studies Collection (3 vols.).
John H. Walton is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School. Before teaching at Wheaton, Walton taught at Moody Bible Institute for 20 years.