Genesis creation is intended to be the beginning or opening of history. The genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 contribute to the progression of time in scripture. They trace humankind in time and through time forward to two heroes, Noah and Terah.
It is important to consider Genesis 5 and 11 in view of: 1) their unique nature and function in the book of Genesis and in relation to other genealogies, 2) their textual history, and 3) their interpretation. It shall be the purpose of this paper to reflect on the first two of these areas of importance.
Since the nineteenth century, OT scholars have generally expressed the opinion that the genealogies in Gen 5 and 11 contain generational and chronological gaps and thus cannot be used, as James Ussher did, for chronological purposes. Such a view, however, is troubling to some scholars, mostly young-earth creationists, who insist that Gen 5 and 11 clearly present a continuous and no-gap genealogy.
The age of the earth and the antiquity of man are of no particular theological import in and of themselves, though theologians have become interested in the subject because of the purported discrepancy between the biblical view of these periods and that now held by most modern scientists.
With the discovery in the early 1870's of the Babylonian flood account, which was recognized to be closely related to the flood story in Genesis, there was opened a new chapter of comparative studies relating the various aspects of the book of Genesis to materials uncovered from ancient Near Eastern civilizations.
I maintain that there is no biblical basis for any date in the B. C. scale for a biblical event preceding the birth of Abraham.
The prepaternal data of Gen 5 and 11b were found to be artificial and unilaterally derivative; LXXA contained data which SP rearranged and the highly schematized MT later drew upon both LXXA and SP for its arrangement.
Thiele discovered an underlying harmony in the Biblical records that is not only internal but external as well. Once he solved these apparent discrepancies in the Biblical data, he found that the reigns of the Jewish kings matched the Assyrian chronology perfectly.
Since the recovery and publication of texts from the Ancient Near East is a continuing endeavor, the materials already published need to be reexamined from time to time in the light of more recent information.
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