What do you think? Was Genesis more like Harold Bloom’s literary canon, to which Collins may here allude? Or was it ‘authoritative’ in some further sense (as Collins still entertains, while also asking “in what sense” Genesis may be regarded as authoritative for the Book of Watchers)?I think the relationship between Genesis and the Book of the Watchers is complicated. On the one hand, the Book of the Watchers knows, and to some degree is responding to, the Pentateuch, including the book of Genesis. But on the other, the passage on the sons of god, the daughters of men, and the Nephilim in Genesis 6:1-4 looks very much as though it is reluctantly and rather incoherently summarizing an earlier story. That earlier story was presumably too well known to ignore, even though the writer of Genesis didn't like it much. And Genesis 6:1-4 sounds a lot like a summary of some version of the story of the watchers and the giants.
So my tentative understanding is that the story of the watchers and the giants existed before Genesis and was briefly summarized by Genesis. Later, the story of the watchers and the giants was retold in more detail, and probably with some elaboration, in the Book of the Watchers. But the Book of the Watchers also knew the story in Genesis and refers back to it as well. At that point Genesis was too well established to ignore, even though the Book of the Watchers was also working with material that was earlier than Genesis.
In other words, the watchers and giants story was in some sense "authoritative" for Genesis. Likewise, Genesis was in some sense "authoritative" for the Book of Watchers. But in both cases the authority rested in the fact that the earlier story was too well known to ignore. It had to be included even though the new author didn't care for it and tried to redirect it. We are far away from anything like "canonical" authority in this process.
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