Places Named in Genesis

In "Finding Eden", we examined how some people are attempting to locate Eden from clues in the Bible. Now we will broaden the subject to other place names in the early chapters of Genesis. It is not all that surprising that people will attempt to map out some locations despite the huge amount of years that has elapsed because some of the directions are very specific, such as the rivers in Eden. 

There is debate about the history of the locations in early chapters of Genesis.
Credit: Pixabay / Jeff Jacobs
The authors clearly intended readers to know that they were writing history, but considerable debate exists about this point. There have been attempts to understand what the writers were thinking, and also to make Genesis locations into a kind of hybrid of allegory and history, of both past and present. Some scholars seem to forget, or ignore, the fact of the Genesis Flood and how it would drastically alter the land.

I should pull in the reigns for a moment and let you know a view that I accept, but is not dealt with in the article linked below. Like other biblical creationists, I believe that Moses did not sit down and write the first five books all by his lonesome. Don't get me wrong. Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV), and Moses was not excluded from divine inspiration. Because of the structure of the early parts of Genesis, it is very possible that other authors were involved, including Adam, and Moses was the final editor. Do you follow that? Also, the narratives are often in present tense, and you will find the comment " this day", from the perspective of the authors.

Some of the references to locations in and around Eden were somewhat less specific, however. The historical references are called deixis, and require some explanation.
The debate about Genesis’s genre is influenced by the perceived historicity of Eden in Genesis 2. A method for examining the genre of the early chapters of Genesis is to identify the relative frequency of deixis indicators, in particular the author’s use of places. The distribution and type of place references suggests that the author intended an historical genre for Genesis 1–11, but that there is a discontinuity between old and new worlds as a result of the Flood. The use of place names associated with Eden is thought to be for etiological purposes.
To read the entire article, click on "Reading ‘places’ in Genesis 1–11".