Patai lecture to probe Genesis creation story

Mark S. Smith, a professor at New York University, will present the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies’ Raphael Patai Memorial Lecture, “The Priestly Vision of Genesis 1,” on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

The first words of creation have inspired and intrigued people for centuries, notes Smith. Because of the allusion to Shabbat in Genesis 2:3, as well as other features in Genesis 1:1-2:3, scholars over the past century have agreed that this so-called first creation account comes from the priestly tradition in ancient Israel. If this creation story is priestly, what is the vision of reality that this text describes and prescribes?

Smith is the Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University. He is the author of several books, including “The Memoirs of God: History, Memory, and the Experience of God in Ancient Israel” (2004); “God in

Translation: Deities in Cross-Cultural Discourse in the Biblical World” (2008); and most recently, “The Priestly Vision of Genesis 1” (2010).

For more information, contact Jeanne E. Davenport at 626-5758 or visit http://fp.arizona.edu/judaic/index.htm.