Curious what theologians throughout history made of Genesis 10

Translating, no. Interpreting, yes. “Thousands of Hebrew Scholars” doesn’t assure correctness. They’re all still human and therefore fallible.

Plus, we have the benefit of modern knowledge that they were not privy to for many, many centuries.

But yes, I take issue with the fact that it seems so many great minds could have focused so much attention on these texts yet apparently didn’t recognize that what the text says in several cases completely contradicts the interpretation that the flood was global.

Hence these two topics I started asking that very question.

I understand how that sounds to you. I should have been more clear.

By saying the interpretation isn’t consistent with the text, I’m not saying they’re misinterpreting the text. I mean the interpretation of the specifics of the story are not contextually consistent with the other parts of the story.

Reading about the flood in particular, it is totally understandable that they’re interpreting that as meaning the flood was global. But a closer look at Genesis 4 and 10 it becomes pretty obvious that what’s being described is not consistent with the interpretation of the flood being global and wiping out all of humanity except Noah and his family.

For example, the statement in Genesis 10 that Noah’s grandson (2 generations later) was the leader of 4 cities. 2 generations after all but 8 humans were wiped off the planet there are 4 cities?

That’s what I mean. Interpreting this story as saying the flood was global is inconsistent within the context of the rest of the story.


As I’ve already said… there are ways of framing the questions you are framing … without swinging sledge hammers and throwing grenades.

Hebrew scholars have seen lots and lots of clever writing in Hebrew… word play abounds.
There is even the Atbash code that was used to write some parts of the Old Testament. And
translators dutifully interpret, footnote and accommodate these moments of mysterious brilliance!

Some scholars talk about a “hidden religion”.
Some scholars talk about conventional religion, but with “hidden” or “veiled” elements.
Some scholars talk about a Kabbalistic projection of a reality that is as real to God as our own perceptions are real to us.

But to say that Jewish scholars don’t know how to read the Hebrew is a non-starter.
No Hebrew scholar would accept that.
The closest you can come to it is to propose something you’ve been avoiding:
that the Hebrew scholars don’t want to translate it the way you say it should be translated.
But you really ought to take a Hebrew class or two before you start throwing that accusation around…

Look, I’m sorry, but the kids gloves are off as far as I’m concerned.

These experts are the ones society looks to for answers and understanding. We lean on and defer to their knowledge and experience. No matter the reason or flimsy excuse, the ball was obviously dropped here. Which has led to centuries of misunderstanding and even to this day is causing friction between believers and our modern science-based society. They had One Job!

So I’m not going to put any extra effort into making sure the wording of my statements doesn’t offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities. As far as I’m concerned there’s a lot of experts that have some explaining to do.

Please, you or anyone else, correct me if I’m wrong. I’m waiting.

You are wrong. There. An expert corrected you.

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Okay, despite all the evidence to the contrary, guess I’ll just take your word for it.

You are not gonna get anywhere with agressiveness. Better to understand what is going on and why.

Do you really think I’m wrong? Being a proponent yourself of an alternate interpretation of these biblical stories?

I mean, there’s no requirement of having modern knowledge or anything of the like in the two examples I’ve given. It’s basic reading comprehension. Am I really wrong?

When it comes to historical theology, I think we are the blind leading the blind. Maybe it wasn’t missed, but appraoched in a way we would not have imagined. I’m unwilling to call a whole field incompetent when I’m clealry ignorant of even the basics here.

I understand what you’re saying. And like I said in the first post of this thread, “I’m not looking to criticize theologians. I just want to understand.”

I don’t understand “maybe it wasn’t missed, but approached in a way we would not have imagined”.


Gen10, Nimrod, Ham’s grandson. Second generation from the 4 mating pairs who survived the flood. It says 3 cities were the center of Nimrod’s “kingdom”.

I understand you want to be professional. Respectful. But you probably know better than most the problems we face that in a lot of ways stem from this kind of thing right here.

I’m not looking to lynch anyone. I’m looking to understand how this can happen. I don’t think it’s hyperbole or an overstatement to say… this is a big miss.

You’re right, I’m no expert. But I’ve been on this crusade for a decade and maybe in that time my soft edges have worn a bit, admittedly. But can you honestly say I’m wrong?

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Actually, I think we are waiting on you. Which of your alternate scenarios do you think is the strongest?

And I’ll show you why it is not. Please restrict yourself to one or two… that way it is simpler… and if I can’t upset the cart you are driving, I’ll admit it.

Now… as for criteria… let’s look at your complaint about Nimrod:

@Jeremy_Christian, This isn’t enough. You can’t just take pot shots… I can do that all day. You have to propose an alternative that you think is MORE TRUE.

For example, I have demonstrated that Simeon could not have been one of the 12 sons of Israel, or - - at the very least - - it could not have been one of the 12 tribes of Israel… because if it is one of the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom, what’s it doing south of Judah?

As a Unitarian, I rely on these mis-matches to show that the Bible was not assembled on reality, but on perceived plausibility. And sometimes the scribes just didn’t think of all the inconsistencies that needed to be addressed. So when you say that there appears to be survivors of the Flood, I would agree with you. That’s because the Flood story was co-opted from the Sumerian matrix and INSERTED into the Biblical narrative. They tried to fix everything … but they just couldn’t.

You, however, try to turn this into evidence that there WAS a flood that killed all of Noah’s relatives. But I can show you that the big flood you think it refers to only wiped out one city … not multiple Mesopotamian cities.


I have and I do. There’s only the one. Those articles I sent you the link to, I wrote those 10 years ago, and they say the same things I’m saying now.

This can be difficult to get information on because these archaeological sites are in modern day Iraq. No real excavation work has been done there since the 20’s. But in the 20’s, the 11 foot silt deposit flood evidence found at the Ur site was sandwiched between the Ubaid and Uruk cultures of southern Mesopotamia. So, at least in that city, not only did the city end, a whole culture did.