Saturday, March 6, 2010

Genesis vs. the Theogony

 Genesis and Creation-Sheva Apelbaum  Hesiod and Creation-Sheva Apelbaum
                       Genesis                                        Hesiod

Today, my mom read a part of Hesiod’s Theogony out loud to us.  It describes the creation of the world according to Greek mythology. Hesiod tells of the origin of the universe saying that “first of all, the Void came into being, next broad–bosomed Earth.” Earth then created the Starry Sky, Mountains and Sea. She later had relations with Starry Sky and gave birth to more offspring, among them Ocean, the Muses, the Cyclopes, Cronus and the three big, strong and horrible children Cottus, Briareus and Gyes, whom their father, Starry Sky, hated from the beginning.

Starry Sky tries to prevent Cottus, Briareus and Gyes from being born by pushing them into the bowels of the Earth. To avenge his cruelty, Earth creates a new metal (grey steel) and makes a huge sickle from it. Then she asks her children to use it to fight their father saying “My children, you have a savage father; if you will listen to me, we may be able to take vengeance for his evil outrage: he was the one who started using violence.” Cronus, the boldest, agrees to carry out the attack.

In Hesiod’s version, we are told that Void and Earth “come into being.” but there is no explanation as to how. Hesiod’s creation story  is full of intrigue, treachery, betrayal, hatred, and violence.  In a way, it reads like a soap opera rather than a description of the origin of the universe and of life.

In the Biblical story of creation on the other hand, God creates the universe in 7 days by simply issuing commands (“Let there be light”). After each thing he creates, God says it is “good” and on the last day of creation he sums it up by saying that it is “very good.”  God doesn’t fight or ague with any of his creations and is independent of creation itself.  The biblical story is well organized and reads like a matter-of-fact description of the sequential events.

It is interesting how two stories describing the same event, creation, can be be so different.


  1. What a horrible story this is!!! But also full of drama and action!
    I found this interesting site at the Internet about stories of creation of the earth in many cultures around the world. It is obvious that they have many things in common - I liked the one with the turtle diving down the ocean and bringing a piece of earth up and then from this piece the Universe was created!

    You are a girl full of interests with parents constantly feeding those - kol ha kavod (thumbs up!)

    XOXOXO Yael.

  2. That is a very interesting website. Of all of the stories, which story do you like the most? I like the biblical story because it seems so orderly, and free from drama. It also covers everything that universe is made up of like light, matter, plants, and animals. Strangely, it just makes sense. The other stories are also very nice and very interesting, but they seem like fantasy fairytales, something that you would read to a child as a bedtime story.

    Thanks again for the interesting link


    Sheva :-)

  3. I go with story #2. I have trouble with the idea of stars are full of interesting information Sheva...