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New Creation? - Aitiological reception of the Genesis narrative in discourses on cosmos, humanity and gender in early Christian Literature

Subproject 3

Prof. Dr. Christine Gerber
Evangelische Theologie, Neues Testament, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Prof. Dr. Cilliers Breytenbach
Evangelische Theologie, Neues Testament, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The story of the creation of the world and humankind by God and the loss of paradise (Gen 1-3) is transmitted as the beginning of the Bible and of fundamental importance for understanding the world and humanity in Judaism and Christianity. The text and the idea it evokes have shaped Judeo-Christian thinking since antiquity as ontological truth: reality is such as it is because God made it as narrated. More precisely, Gen 1-3 in the interpretive translation into Greek is the basic text for early Christianity. On it, early Christian theology continues the "work on the beginning", convinced that God set a new beginning in Christ.

The project examines this reception of Gen 1-3LXX as an aitiology in early Christianity in two respects: it is necessary to reconstruct Gen 1-3LXX as the source text (joint research basis) and to analyze its receptions in early Christianity with focus on the Christological re-reading of the creation narrative (focus area I) and on its inclusion in the early Christian gender discourse, which, when read in the light of modern gender discourses, reveals the power of aitiological discourses to set reality (focus area II). In this way, the discursive potential of the initial text and its reception becomes visible by the interweaving of past and present, relevant for the future. On the one hand, the variety of receptions reveals the ambiguities and contradictions in the text of Gen 1-3LXX itself, on the other hand, the pragmatics of these receptions and thus the epistemic, reality-setting power of aitiologies comes to the fore.