RE: [asa] Was Adam a real person?

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Tue Apr 08 2008 - 23:42:43 EDT

Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East
(New York: Parke, Austin, and Lipscomb, Inc., 1917), 26.
Dick Fischer. author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 9:45 PM
To: Dick Fischer
Subject: Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?
I affirm that the patriarchs were real people. The point was just that
there are historical difficulties with all of them as well as with other
OT characters. Not sure about Job and Jonah. Also, the historiography
of the events described with respect to the patriarchs is an interesting
question -- not fictive, it seems to me, but also not "plain" history.
Though I affirm Abraham as a historical person, I'm not sure the
Josephus reference helps. That's much later and it comes with its own
agenda. And my understanding (limited) is that Berossus didn't refer to
Abraham by name, but that Josephus made that identification based on
Berossus' general description. Cite for the Berossus quote?
On Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 8:17 PM, Dick Fischer <>
Hi David:
Job is one issue - who was there to witness the sons of God gathering
together and could have transcribed the conversation between Satan and
God? Jonah is another issue. There are two crumbling mounds in Mosul
(ancient Nineveh) today. One is called the "mound of repentance." The
other is called the mound of the nebi Yonas (prophet Jonah.) Plus,
there is a mosque erected over the supposed burial site.
Abraham rebuked his father Terah who was an idolator in Jubliees.
Josephus said, "In the tenth generation after the flood there was a man
among the Chaldeans who was just, great and knowledgeable about heavenly
phenomena." That would be Abraham. He was further described as ".a
person of great sagacity, both for understanding all things, and
persuading his hearers, and not mistaken in his inferences. So he began
to have higher notions of virtue than others had, and determined to
alter and change the opinion all men then had concerning God; for he was
the first that ventured to declare that there was but one God, the
Creator of the Universe; and that of other things whatever contributed
anything to the happiness of men, as only according to his appointment,
and not by its own power."
Berossus wrote: "... a man named Abraham, a man of noble race and
superior to all others in wisdom. Of him they relate that he was the
inventor of astrology and the Chaldean magic, and that on account of his
eminent piety he was esteemed by God. It is further said that under the
directions of God he removed and lived in Phenicia (sic), and there
taught the Phenicians the motions of the sun and moon, and all other
things; for which reason he was held in great reverence by their king."
One archaeologist, Hilprecht, from the University of Pennsylvania
visited the tomb of Daniel. I read his book and he described the
journey to the tomb. How can you question whether or not there was a
prophet Isaiah? Who wrote the book? Somebody had to write the book and
hand it to somebody else who would have known the authorship. Any
imposter would have been discovered immediately.
Joseph and Mary traveled to the city of David. For whom was the city
Dick Fischer. author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham <>
-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 4:18 PM
To: Dehler, Bernie
Subject: Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?
Bernie said: I think the prodigal son in no way presents itself as a
historical story

I respond: Fair enough. How about Job or Jonah? Even some
conservative scholars allow that these might not be "historical"
figures. There are historical problems, BTW, with just about every
major figure in the OT. Abraham -- no extrabiblical evidence. Joseph
-- nothing in archeological or historical records to indicate there was
ever a Hebraic governor of Egypt. Moses -- no evidence for a mass
exodus of Hebrew slaves from Egypt. David and Solomon -- many scholars
think them largely mythic. Esther, Daniel, Isaiah -- likewise. The
issue isn't really "affirm Adam as a real person or the dominoes fall".
The issue is more like "to what extent does scripture count as
testimonial evidence, however contextualized it may be" and/or "what is
the historiography of the OT?"

Bernie said: It looks like the abstract indicates it will answer this
question, but I have to pay $10 to find out. Does anyone know the free

I respond: if you could pay $10 for a clear answer to this question,
seems to me it'd be worth it. The free answer is that there is no clear
answer. (For $20, I'll give you a link that resolves the antinomy
between predestination and free will).

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology 
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Received on Tue Apr 8 23:45:51 2008

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