Alice Linsley on Genesis and the Indus Valley Civilization

I asked a “theological anthropologist” (a real thing) a question:

The Indus Valley Civilization arises early in history. It appears there was trade between Ancient Mesopotamia and them. Are there plausible references to them in, for example, Genesis? What are the implications for Theological Anthropology if the IVC was known to the author but exuded from the Table of Nations (Genesis 10-11)?

She responded with a wealth of info I want understand more deeply.

Wonderful questions to consider. Thanks, @Swamidass! All the people in the so-called “Table of Nations” (Gen. 10) spoke languages in the same family. They had "the same language, with the same vocabulary” (Gen.11:1). These languages are in the Afro-Asiatic group, the oldest language group. The lists found in the Table of Nations refer to later populations. Genesis 10 is an attempt to trace the dispersion of peoples after the flood. Mohenjo-daro had a population of about 40,000 during Noah’s time and afterwards (no evidence of destruction by inundation during Noah’s time). The civilizations of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro are connected to ancient Nilotic peoples. This has been shown through archaeological finds, linguistic research, and anthropology. We know from Genesis 10 that Nimrod was a Kushite who built his kingdom in the Euphrates Valley. Nimrod is respresentative of the dispersion of peoples out of Africa. There were chiefs and clan heads who moved out of Africa even earlier. They were mainly cattle-herding peoples who we refer to as “Sumerians.” These peoples settled along major water systems like the Indus River. During the Neolithic period (ca. 7000-5500 BC) Indus River valley peoples grew food and domesticated animals. They had large ceremonial baths for ritual cleansing, wells, and reservoirs. There is evidence of a centralized government as early as 2800 B.C. at Harappa. The Indus peoples had kings, royal priests, and specialized elders such as traditional healers, astronomers, and prophets. There were farmers, metal workers, and brick makers. The author doesn’t exclude them. He simply focuses more narrowly on the immediate ancestors of Abraham who is a descendant of Nimrod, the Kushite.

Have you thought of that exclusion before @jongarvey? How widely is this discussed? Does it help your case for people outside the garden?

e word Harappa is interesting. Har refers to Horus and “appa” is the Dravidian word meaning father. The origin of Dravidian religion was apparently ancient Nubia and Kush. The Indian historian and anthropologist Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has written: “We have to begin with the Negroid or Negrito people of prehistoric India who were the first human inhabitants. Originally they would appear to have come from Africa through Arabia and the coastlands of Iran and Baluchistan.” According to the Matsya, an ancient book from India, the world belonged to the Kushites (Saka) for 7000 years. The Indian archaeologist, B. B. Lal contends that the Dravidians came from the Upper Nile and Sudan (Nubia/Kush). Lal writes: “At Timos the Indian team dug up several megalithic sites of ancient Nubians which bear an uncanny resemblance to the cemeteries of early Dravidians which are found all over Western India from Kathiawar to Cape Comorin. The intriguing similarity extends from the subterranean structure found near them. Even the earthenware ring-stands used by the Dravidians and Nubians to hold pots were identical.”

So, also, I have Dravidian blood. I remember reading Genesis as a Child, and eagerly looking to find how Adam’s offspring colonized India. I was puzzled. No mention of India, Australia, or America. I remember being unsettled, and uncertain what to make of that. What an overly pensive kid I was.

I hope Alice can join the conversation here. I have some more questions about Indus, and I’m hoping she can introduce us to Theological Anthropology too.


It seems this blog might have some real gold to mine @jongarvey.

Just Genesis presents the latest research on the book of Genesis drawing on the disciplines of cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, molecular genetics, and climate studies. Just Genesis began on 22 March 2007. This INDEX is an archive of most of the research published here.

Alice Linsley’s blog is really interesting too, see her Bio:

I have been pioneering the field of Biblical Anthropology for over 30 years. I teach Philosophy and Ethics, and I am a member of the American Scientific Affiliation and Christian Women in Science.

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Thanks in spades for this, @swamidass . Does she have other books or resources she recommends for “theological anthropology?” What does she make of Dick Fischer’s stuff, like his book “The Origins Solution?” Who does she see as outstanding in this field? Let’s invite them aboard, as well!

She is very active in running a Facebook page. It seems she care about serving the common good with her professional expertise as much as possible. I really respect that.

I hope she will spend a little time with us here.


I did a post or two on the table of Nations linked to the archaeological and genetic evidence, designed to bolster my idea that “Moses” (or rather whoever founded the older Adam tradition) would, in the natural course of events, have been well aware of people beyond the table of nations.

Alice confirms it in spades (I’m assuming she takes a “Neolithic” view of the Semitic peoples)… though I think her name is familiar from some reading. It’s important both for Genetic Adam (as per your question - why would an author leave out peoples with whom there were trade links from the Table of Adam’s descendants except for the reason that his account was solely about Adam’s line) and for my “universalist” view of the Bible’s metanarrative. Of course, it will also help some ogf the other “models” represented here.

There’s a book in it for someone, or a section in yours. Will chase the links in the light of day


My field is Biblical Anthropology. As an anthropologist, I read the Bible for anthropologically significant data. I then check the data against findings in numerous sciences: archaeology, linguistics, DNA studies, climate studies, hydrologic studies, astronomy, navigation science, materials science, etc. My unique contribution is analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Horite Hebrew, Abraham’s people. I would be glad to join the conversation.


@Alice_Linsley thank you so much for joining us here. You have knowledge and experience that will be embraced by everyone here. Many of us are really curious about human origins, both through the lens of science, and of Scripture.


My original question relates to the article that @jongarvey wrote a while back on the Table of Nations. Hope you can take a quick look at it.

I’m trying to honestly understand if the original author(s) of Genesis, and its original readers knew that there were people alongside Adam that did not descend from him. One type of evidence might be clear knowledge of people groups they had to know of, but did not include in the Table. Of course, if you have other suggestions on how to make sense of this, I’m all ears.

What “Noah’s time”? What timeline are you using?

Are you saying Indus Civilization descends from Sumerians?

Can you expand on this? Aren’t you describing “excluding” them from the list?

Appa is one of the only Dravidian words I know :smile:.

Anything more you can tell me about all this, I’d love to learn about. Feel free to link to articles on your blog if that would be easier.

This is the chronology I have worked out and find it helpful.

There are many linguistic connections between languages of India,Turkey, Serbia, and Egypt. This appears to be because early populations in these areas had common linguistic heritage. There are many connections between ancient Nilotic words and those found in Anatolia, Northern India, and Serbia were the Kushite Saka ruled for many thousands of years. Vad means “to speak” in Sanskrit. The root VD also refers to seeing (video in Latin). In Ancient Egyptian, vidjet refers to the Eye of Horus, the son of the Creator. In Serbian, vidjet means “to see.” The Sanskrit svah = sky or heaven, corresponds to the Semitic svam or samyim = sky or heavens. The Semitic resembles the Proto-Dravidian word van = heaven. The Spanish word “desvan” (attic or upper room) is of Arabic origin and is related to the root SVN.

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Just out of curiosity (no judgment hear) do you think Adam was a real person? Or not?

Yes. The word Adam in Hebrew refers to a red man. I believe the historical Adam is the progenitor of the red Horite Hebrew of Edom from whom are descended many of the great kings of Israel, including David and Herod the Great. You will recall that Esau of Edom and David are both described in the Bible has being red.

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So, for you, when do you see Adam in history? Any other scholars that agree with you? Why did you reject the mythical Adam so often presented by theistic evolutionists?

Jeff Benner is a leading Hebrew scholar. See what he wrote here about the word Adam.

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I’m familiar with this claim:

Name of the Month - Adam
By: Jeff A. Benner

We are all familiar with the name “Adam” as found in the book of Genesis, but what does it really mean? Let us begin by looking at its roots. This word/name is a child root derived from the parent דם meaning, “blood”. By placing the letter א in front of the parent root, the child rootאדם is formed and is related in meaning to דם (blood).

By examing a few other words derived from the child root אדם we can see a common meaning in them all. The Hebrew word אדמה (adamah) is the feminine form of אדם meaning “ground” (see Genesis 2:7). The word/name אדום (Edom) means “red”. Each of these words have the common meaning of “red”. Dam is the “red” blood, adamah is the “red” ground, edom is the color “red” and adam is the “red” man. There is one other connection between “adam” and “adamah” as seen in Genesis 2:7 which states that “the adam” was formed out of the “adamah”.

In the ancient Hebrew world, a person’s name was not simply an identifier but descriptive of one’s character. As Adam was formed out of the ground, his name identifies his origins.

Adam is presented two ways in Scripture. Neither allows for a mythical Adam. The historical Adam is the founder of the lines of ruler-priests who were known in the ancient world as 'Apiru or Habiru (Hebrew). This places Adam in relatively recent history. He would be in Haplogroup R1b. The range of R1b is from Lake Chad (Noah’s homeland) to Southern Europe where we find the ancient populations of the Hittites, Elamites, Saka, Scythians, etc. St. Paul speaks of Adam using an analogy where he contrasts Adam and Jesus in Romans 5:12-21.

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How do you respond to the objection that Genesis is clearly a borrowed myth, and was understood as fiction by its original readers? (not saying I agree with this.) I"m sure you’ve heard things like this from ASA, as this view seems ascendant there: e.g. Dennis Venema and Denis Lamoureux.

Can Alice’s anthropology provide anchor points to the Ancient DNA extracted from 8,000 year old skeletons from the region?

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Wondering whether Alice has interacted with “tablet theory,” and feels conversant in the differing implications of a “recapitulatory” versus a “sequential” reading of the first two pericopes in Genesis.
This, combined with the implications of GA theory, opens up all kinds of coherent vistas. Welcome aboard, Alice!

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I’m late to this discussion because of time zones, but though I’ve yet to read links to your original stuff, I have a couple of relevant questions.

(1) I’ve suggested previously that “adam” was, as you say, originally a tribal designation, along the lines of the Sumerian “black-headed people”, and the tendency of many tribes to call only themselves “people.” But since in the Bible, “adam” becomes a generic term for “human”, I speculate that the word has a history rather like the English “Folk”, which was originally the name of the Anglian tribes for themselves, but became generalised to mean “just plain folk”. Does that seem plausible to you - it would seem to account for some of the ambiguities in the Bible on the matter.

(2) I assume that the Table of Nations, taken not as “all the peoples of the world”, but as “a specific group of related peoples/languages/culture”, corresponds to the usage of a particular time. Does that give us clues as to the most likely time for its composition, eg at the dawn of history, or at the time of Moses, or after the Exile, etc? I don’t think it would alter the argument, in that at all those times there were contacts with the Eastern peoples not on the list, but it does help understand the way Genesis was written, and hence its purpose.

Nor Ireland either!

I have listened to both Dennis and Denis and I don’t agree with them. Here is my respond to Denis’s view: