Re: [asa] Ages of the Patriarchs

From: Randy Isaac <>
Date: Sat Feb 17 2007 - 08:41:32 EST

I have several questions on this topic.

First, for Dick Fischer:

You wrote "Evidence for long life is scant at best, but personally, I take the ages at face value" by which I take it you mean the stated numbers in Gen. 1-11 are the physical years of life of the patriarchs. I've long admired your work, and that of Carol Hill, Conrad Hyers, etc. in the sense that a deep understanding of the mesopotamian culture is vital to understanding Genesis. Given the indications that numbers had a great symbolic value in that culture, why do you feel that these numbers represent chronology instead of symbolism? Or at least would you have an openness to the possibility that they might be?

To any paleontologists or similar expertise:

How is the longevity of a pre-historic species determined? esp. of mammals?
Is there any evidence for enhanced longevity in Homo Sapiens at any time in the past? (assuming the longevity wasn't limited to a small number of special cases)
If not, is it simply that there is no evidence of it? or is there evidence that there was no enhanced longevity?

To biologists:

What is the latest research thinking on aging? How big a factor is radiation considered to be?
What is the role of telomeres in aging? Can you help explain telomeres?
Is there any reason to believe that Homo Sapiens could have had, from a biological point of view, enhanced longevity in the past?
Is there reason to believe it couldn't have had it?
Is the increase in life expectancy over the last couple of centuries entirely due to the shift in distribution of life spans? or is there also an element of increasing longevity?
(assuming I'm using the terms longevity and life expectancy correctly to mean, respectively, the inherent 'early disease-free' life of an average individual, vs the actuarial expectation)


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Received on Sat Feb 17 08:42:07 2007

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