Genesis is an an “etiological narrative (a story about origins) concerning the rise of civilization in the late Neolithic period” according to Mennonite theologian Ched Myers, and I concur.
After being dechurched 20+ years, and getting into reading anthropology textbooks* trying to figure out this crazy whirled, this discovery is what got me to dust off my Bible two years ago. I no longer regard the Bible the wrong two ways, i.e., “one that insists upon its putative historico-scientific content, and the other that views it as legend/folktale with no historical value.”
* My library includes:
• Marshall Sahlins (1973) The Original Affluent Society: Stone Age Economics • Paul Shepard (1973) The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game • Elman Service (1975) Origins of the State and Civilization: The Process of Cultural Evolution • Richard Lee (1976) Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers: Studies of the !Kung San and Their Neighbors • Marvin Harris (1977) Kings and Cannibals: Origins of Culture • James Axtell (1986) The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America • Jack Weatherford (1988) Indian Givers: How Native Americans Transformed the World • Mark Nathan Cohen (1989) Health and the Rise of Civilization • Jack Weatherford (1992) Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America • Paul Shepard (1998) Coming Home to the Pleistocene • E. Fuller Torrey (2002) The Invisible Plague: The Rise of mental Illness from 1750 to the Present • John Gray (2003) Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals • Richard Lee (2004) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers • Kirkpatrick Sale (2006) After Eden: The Evolution of Human Domination • Charles C. Mann (2006) 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus • E. Fuller Torrey (2008) Schizophrenia and Civilization • Jared Diamond (2011) Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed