chapter
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oflife.

The first option follows those codices of The Wisdom of Solomon that read:

This reading sees human immortality as a correlate of the image of God. The second possibility has been championed recently by Barr.61 Among his argu-

ments is the assumed cultural assumption of human mortality and the explicit explanation for the expulsion. Barr argues that the case for mortality like that of sexuality can be culturally assumed. Such an assumption is apparently based on the proposition that the characters in a narrative are like their readers unless otherwise noted. Although this literary assumption is probably generally true, it begs the question whether the first humans are meant to be like their readers. It is just as possible that the narrative aims to show how the first couple became like their readers. After all, much of the primeval narrative shows how the world created by God became the world as experienced by the reader. Barr's assumption of the sexuality of the first couple may be more valid precisely because of the many notices of male-female interaction, including the very rationale for constructing a distinct woman. Since there are no such notices with regard to mortality, nothing can be said on the subject based on cultural assumptions or reader expectations. Thus the reading of The Wisdom of Solomon (2:23) that correlates human immortality with the image of God may be as valid as the reverse. Barr's explanation for the expulsion is also questionable since it overemphasizes the fear expressed in 3:22 that man may take of the tree of life and go on living forever. Even Barr concedes the availability of another explanation for the expulsion, namely, to fulfill the punishment mentioned in 3:17-19. Thus, just as 3:22 and 3:24 correspond to each other as problem and solution, so 3:19 corresponds to 3:23. By bracketing 3:20-21, which deal with other issues, there emerges an abab structure with a = 19, b = 22, a = 23, b = 24. This structure shows, as the story now stands, that there are insufficient grounds for privileging one explanation for the expulsion over the other.