A Skeptic Asks about The Compositional Approach

There are so many threads and so many messages that I do have trouble keeping track of them all, but I do remember that list, now that you remind me. Still wouldn’t know how to find it again.

The ones you mention above seem to have nothing to do with contradictions. The first potentially resolves a problem between the Genesis text and reality, which was not in contention. The second isan assertion, but it seems to me that the explanation of the word “adam” offers no support for that assertion. If anything, it would argue against your interpretation, since the lineage of Adam would be understood, given the etymology, as the lineage of mankind. There is also no support in the text of Genesis 1 for the 6 days being anything other than actual days, so evolution seems out unless we abandon a natural reading. I would encourage that abandonment. Derive all the spiritual message you like, but don’t try to turn it into a description of history.

I’m linking to it repeatedly here: Literal Interpretations and the Genealogical Adam.

Yeah, I looked. It doesn’t seem to me as if anything on that list actually speaks to the point. Not a one of them involves “tensions”, and not a one of them would be likely to confuse a reader in the translation except for “after their kind”, which I have never been able to interpret.

Well, how about this. I’m writing a book at the moment, and should focus on that. When it is mature enough, you are welcome to give me your comments on it. It addresses these questions more than I’ll be able to do in a forum.

I would be happy to. What is the particular focus of your book? Could you provide an abstract of sorts?

This is adapting a paper I presented at Dabar into a book. It includes this article: https://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2018/PSCF3-18Swamidass.pdf, and discussed here: Ken Keathley: Notes from Dabar and a Baptist's Hope.

Here is the general topic:

Ah, so it’s all about the genealogical Adam? I presume it includes an analysis of the biblical text that shows genealogical Adam to be a natural reading.


What seems to be a natural reading is that Genesis 1 and 2 are too different to be considered two sides of a single story.

So the dilemma of Cain’s wife becomes a natural puzzle to solve.

Not according to @Alice_Linsley You’re too aligned to one branch of science - genetics and genealogy. Anthropology is another branch of science that you must be aligned with also.


Nothing contradictory about what @Patrick and @gbrooks9 are saying.

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Simple solution: Cain is a third story.

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That is “a” solution… but not the simplest. The simplest is that there are humans other than those in Adam’s immediate family!


I don’t see that as simplest, since the intent of the Adam story is clearly that he’s the sole male parent (and Eve the sole female parent) of all humanity (that natural reading again).

Yes, just like what has been shown by biblical anthropology and science.

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That Cain was a son of Adam and Eve among a large population of other people.

Right. And how have anthropology and science shown that?

Some biblical scholars (notably, E.A. Speiser) note that what Eve says when she gives birth is not a reference to Kain/Cain, the father of Enoch in Genesis 4. In Genesis 4:1, in Proto-Hebrew Cain’s mother declares, “Ka-niti (or Qanitti); I have gotten a man, as has YHWH.” Instead, this is a Messianic reference about giving birth to a line of kings. Qanyty or Qanitti comes from Nilo-Saharan languages like Luo, Oromo and ancient Egyptian. These languages share many phonemes with ancient Akkadian, the language of Nimrod’s kingdom. Nimrod was the son of Kush according to Genesis 10. The Akkadian itti, as in itti šarrim , means “with the king” or “for the king.” It is attached to the names of royalty. Even today the Oromo and the Luo attach itti to names: Onditi, Kaartuumitti, Finfinneetti and Dimashqitti. That itti is associated with Nilotic rulers is evident in the name of the great Egyptian queen Nefertitti.

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What Eve declared in so-called proto-Hebrew is speculative. What we have is the text (written in Classical Hebrew), which itself is difficult: “I have acquired a man ['et: ‘with’ or direct-object indicator] YHWH.” There’s a clear wordplay between the name Qayin (= Cain) and the verb qaniti (“I acquired”). If one takes the particle 'et as direct-object indicator, then a messianic reading is possible (harking back to Gen 3:15). This is how Walt Kaiser takes it in his Toward an Old Testament Theology. I’m not sure if my comments assist or are just sideline commentary.

The Bible itself supports this view. Cain is presented as the archetype of ancient rulers.

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