Anachronisms in Genesis

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Peter Kirby
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Re: Anachronisms in Genesis

Post by Peter Kirby » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:36 pm

Tommy wrote:Do you folks think the following details are anachronistic?

1) According to Gen 4:22 Tubalcain (who shared a father with Noah) was working iron a mere eight generations after creation. In older and more literal translations he is described as "an instructor in every artificer...in iron" and thus the source of all iron-working knowledge. However, archeological evidence indicates that the iron age didn't begin in the Near East until 1300 BCE. This seems to place the writing of Genesis to at least a millenium after the events it purports to record.
Good point, I think.
Tommy wrote:2) Genesis 2:5-6 tells us that it hadn't yet rained and a mist/stream from the earth watered the ground. A few verses later - with no mention of rain in the interim - we are told that a river flew out of Eden and split into four, one of which was the Euphrates. The modern Euphrates which flows from the Turkish highlands couldn't possibly follow the same course as a river fed from the ground. Even if it had rained by then surely the tectonic and topographic upheaval associated with the fountains of the deep breaking up would have meant that rivers pre- and post-deluge couldn't have followed the same courses and thus be known by the same name.

3) Genesis 3:24 tells us the Lord God placed Cherubims to bar the way to the Tree of Life. Cherubims guard doors in Babylonian and Assyrian mythology - mythologies that do not specify Adam, Eve or Eden. Either the Babylonians were privy to one detail of the creation of the world or the authors of Genesis borrowed the concept from the Babylonians.

Points 2 and 3 would make you think that the composition of Genesis occurred during the Babylonian captivity. Are there any other likely anachronisms in Genesis? Seem to recall something about camels.
Interesting stuff. Of course, knowledge about the difficulty of assigning the Torah to Moses goes back to the medieval era (maybe the ancient era too).
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Re: Anachronisms in Genesis

Post by Tommsky » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:29 am

A couple of other anachronisms:

4) In Genesis 7:2 God tells pre-flood Noah to discriminate between clean and unclean animals and the author does not record God explaining the distinction to Noah. It is not until Genesis 9:3-6 that post-flood humans are permitted to eat meat at all and the law specifying clean/unclean is not imparted to the chosen people until later books. The reference to clean/unclean in Genesis 7 would thus not seem to be a concept relevant to the times it purports to describe.

5). In Genesis 36:31(KJV) the chronicler lists "the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel". At this point in the narrative Israel and his children are still alive. There is no king of the Israelites until Abimelech and no hereditary monarchy until Saul. Either the author had foresight of many centuries in the future or the text was written many centuries after the times it purports to describe.

The Tubalcain, Euphrates and king of Israel verses seem to me to be clear anachronisms.

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Re: Anachronisms in Genesis

Post by stephan happy huller » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:48 am

There is also the use of Aramaic in Genesis which was already noted in Ibn Ezra.
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Re: Anachronisms in Genesis

Post by Tommsky » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:43 pm

stephan happy huller wrote:There is also the use of Aramaic in Genesis which was already noted in Ibn Ezra.
In Genesis 31:47? Anywhere else?

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Re: Anachronisms in Genesis

Post by stephan happy huller » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:51 pm

the Zohar (I:88b) says Genesis 15:1 – במחזה "in a vision" is Aramaic, as the usual Hebrew word would be במראה
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Re: Anachronisms in Genesis

Post by stephan happy huller » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:54 pm

also Ibn Ezra notes:

Genesis 12:6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the oak of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land = the addition of "then" in the land would indicate that it was added at a time that the Canaanite were no longer in the land.

Genesis 22:14 Abraham called the place Adonai Yir’eh, as it is said to this day, “On the mountain Adonai is Yir’eh.” That the addition of "as it is said to this day" was added later.

Deuteronomy 3:11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man. = the first part of Og remaining is referring to the time of Moses, the location where his bedstead stood was added later.
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Re: Anachronisms in Genesis

Post by Tommsky » Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:20 pm

stephan happy huller wrote:
Deuteronomy 3:11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man. = the first part of Og remaining is referring to the time of Moses, the location where his bedstead stood was added later.
If Wiki is to be believed a town at the site of modern Amman was known as Rabbath from the 13th Century BCE. According to chronologies based on the masoretic text the events in Deuteronomy 3 would have taken place in the 15th century BCE. This reference to Rabbath seems to be an interpolation from centuries later and, in the absence of any version without it, casts doubt on the reliability of the account, book, author(s) etc.

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Re: Anachronisms in Genesis

Post by Tommsky » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:36 pm

Question for big-brained ancient language people: would i be right in assuming that the occurrences of aramaic discussed are present both in the Leningrad Codex and the Dead Sea Scrolls?

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Re: Anachronisms in Genesis

Post by spin » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:05 pm

Tommsky wrote:Question for big-brained ancient language people: would i be right in assuming that the occurrences of aramaic discussed are present both in the Leningrad Codex and the Dead Sea Scrolls?
I don't know if big-headed and big-brained are synonymous, but on the DSS the fragments of Genesis found there leave a lot of holes when they are all compiled to show how much of the text is represented. Both the phrases Stephan refers to fall in those holes.

However, despite what the Zohar says, מחזה ("vision") is used three times elsewhere in the Hebrew bible, Num 24:4, 16, & Ezek 13:7. Perhaps the Zohar is not tenable in this case.
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Re: Anachronisms in Genesis

Post by stephan happy huller » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:29 pm

You know that there is a box of the most important DSS fragments sitting in a Swiss deposit box somewhere. The Bedouin are holding out for big bucks for those ones.
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