How we define the genre of Gen 1-11 is a secondary issue: our primary concern must be the interpretation of the stories and their application today. I simply disagree with this statement. How can you possibly begin to interpret something if you do not know the genre. If I know I am reading poetry then I will not force certain language beyond a certain scope. For example in the Scriptures we read that "God is my rock". Well I know this is in a poetic section and it cannot be referring to God as a literal rock. There is an analogy going on, that is, God is a strong immovable force on whom we can take rest knowing he is in control. But if I am reading history then I should not expect to allow the language to stretch but so far. Sure if the author reports 10,000 died in battle he might be estimating or giving a round number. But if he says that Cyrus is King of Persia I shouldn't take that as a mythological king with no historical basis.
To show that the primary purpose of genealogies is not to relate history but to provide a charter for landholding and expertise in various areas. But this can't be true. Genesis 4:16-22 reports a genealogy but all of these people died in the flood. So what possible landholding purpose can it produce when Moses wrote it?
There is a framework to the creation account in Genesis 1. It is not meant as literal history but rather to give us theological spectacles on how to read the rest of Genesis. Here is the framework: i. Day one light; Day four sun/moon; Day two sky/sea; Day five birds/fish; Day three land/plants; Day six animals/man; Day seven is the unique day. The Sabbath is presented as a unique day because the Jews were to rest on the Sabbath. This point is misleading. We call this a false dichotomy. He presents it as you either believe in a literal 6 day creation or a framework presentation of creation. But why can't I believe in both? Why can't I believe that God created the world in six 24 days but this was the real and historical account? God is omniscient and knew what sort of culture Moses would be writing to. Therefore, God created the world so that when Moses wrote it would be historical but also presented in this framework to show his sovereignty over creation and present the Sabbath theology.
Other Ancient historians exploited chronologically ordered lists, and expanded these with other traditions, myths, and stories to create portraits of the past. His point is that Moses did the same thing. That is, Moses took the genealogies and then expanded them with legends, myth, and other fictitious stories of Jewish tradition to create Genesis. I think Moses wrote in the literary framework of his day. That is, Moses framed the flow of Genesis to be akin to the normal writing style of the Ancient Near East. BUT BUT BUT he was guided by God to record accurate history.
Therefore, in the end I cannot accept this view for the following reasons.
- I am confused on what this author means by protohistory. If he can't define his view then its probably not a view worth having.
- I also find a few of his points hermeneutically false.
- When one removes his false dichotomies there is no issue with the points he presents
- He fails to understand that God can still inspire literal history to be written even if it is written in a style akin to other Ancient Near Eastern Texts.