Re: Dick Fischer deserves a hearing

Date: Mon Dec 31 2001 - 07:02:04 EST

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Exegesis or Eisegesis?"

    Bob wrote,

    << All Dick is asking, as I understand him, is for his historical and
     anthropological research to be addressed in its own right. I agree with
      His two articles are available on the website given above. Why doesn't
     someone evaluate them in terms of the data and conclusions he presents
     than whether his research agrees with one's favored theological theories? >>

    Glenn has shown why most of the cultural items in Gen 4 cannot be used to
    date Adam as early as 5000 BC. The bronze and iron of Tubal-Cain is closer to
    Noah than to Adam; so, I would be slow to use that to date Adam.
    Nevertheless, Adam is presented as a farmer in a garden and is to continue in
    that role after the fall. His probably direct sons also are involved with
    domesticated crops and domesticated animals (the Hebrew word usually refers
    to sheep and goats). Neither domesticated agriculture nor domesticated sheep
    and goats appear in the archaeological record before c. 9000 to 10,000 BC.
    So, although I do not see anything in Gen which could be used to date Adam in
    any sure way to 5000 BC, he cannot be dated to before 10,000---if Gen 2-4 is
    a VCR account.

    Dick speculates about the relationship of Adam to the founders of Eridu
    (founded c. 5200 BC) but does not give a clear statement that can be
    answered. He seems to identify the earliest settlers at Eridu with the
    Adamites. But, it is all just a guess. That is, of course, all it can be;
    but, any other guess is just as good.

    To make some tie-in with Eridu, Dick speculates that Adam is the same person
    as Adapa, but the two men do not match all that well.

    1. Adapa was a baker by trade, but Adam was a farmer.

    2. Adapa is offered the "food and water of life" after he sins (by breaking
    the South Wind's wing), whereas Adam is offered the food of life only before
    he sins.

    3. Adapa's loss of the opportunity to eat the "food and water of life" which
    gives immortality was a result of his obeying the command of his god, Ea,
    whereas Adam's loss of the opportunity to eat the "food" which gives
    immortality was a result of his disobeying the command of his God.

    4. After Adapa's sin he is taken up to heaven to talk with the Highest God.
    After Adam's sin the Highest God comes down to earth to talk with Adam. And,
    in Genesis, of course, the Highest God is the only god, another contrast with
    Adapa's experience.

    5. Adapa's sin occurs after the kingship of Dumuzi, the fifth king in the
    Sumerian king list. But, Adam is first in his genealogy.

    The evangelical OT scholar, Gordon Wenham, in agreement with a number of
    other very capable biblical and ancient Near Eastern scholars points to the
    more likely connection between Adam and Adapa, when on p. 53 of his
    commentary on Genesis 1-15, after discussing Adapa, he says, "Rather the
    writer appears to be using and adapting earlier motifs in a free and creative
    way to express his vision of reality….Thus divine truths about man and his
    relationships with his Creator and his fellow creatures are presented in a
    vivid and memorable way."

    Similarly the idea that the Akkadian Semites are the descendants of Adam does
    not match the Bible in any sure way. It is true that the Semites had a god
    named El; but they also had other gods. To my knowledge none of these gods
    were Yahweh, but Yahweh is the god of Eve (Gen 4:1) and of Cain (Gen 4:3) and
    hence presumably of the Adamites. Why isn't Yahweh mentioned by the Akkadian

    There is much more that can be said, but this can serve as a beginning.


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