Some time back, a person on Nick Norelli’s blog recommended that I read Henri Blocher’s In the Beginning. This commenter’s argument was that evangelical scholarship nowadays does not view Genesis 1 as literal history, but rather as poetry. I started Blocher’s book today. It will be my Saturday night book for a while!
I’m not in the mood to delve deeply into it right now, for I’m tired and want to watch a movie. But I want to get into the question of whether Genesis 1 is poetry. On pages 32-33, Blocher discusses this question. He says that Genesis 1 doesn’t have “the rhythms of Hebrew poetry, nor its more or less synonymous parallelism.” But we do find in Genesis 1 repetition, a “rhythm of the sentences”, alliteration, and a phrase that appears primarily in Hebrew poetry, “beast of the field.” We also see heptads, or groups of seven (seven times that certain phrases are used). Blocher refers to the view that Genesis 1 is a hymn, as well as a mixture of poetry and prose.