Genesis 1:26-1:27, Creation of Humans in Near Eastern Myths And The Paleolithic Era

This article presents evidence to support the conclusion that Gods creation of Adam and Eve(1a) is a Near Eastern (Southwest Asian) myth. This conclusion is a premise in a linked argument spread out over a series of articles intended to debunk Genesis 1-11 and Romans 5.

This article is a collection of notes put together from sources that are represented by quick reference links to similar webpages to make it easy to get more information as quickly as possible. The original sources are listed at the end.

A LIST OF PREMISES AS ARTICLES REFUTING GENESIS 1-11 AND ROMANS 5 SO FAR
P1. The Interconnectedness of The Ancients - Demonstrates the robust ancient civilizations at the time and that Canaan, Israel and Judah were central to them. Discusses trade routes, seafaring, the link between whales and the Leviathans of Mythology and how long it would take to get from one civilization to another by sea.
P2. Genesis 1:1-25 Is An Amalgam of Near Eastern Creation Myths. Demonstrates the prior existence of key elements of the story of the creation of the Universe that appears in Genesis.
P3. Genesis 1:26-1:27, Creation of Humans in Near Eastern Myths And The Paleolithic Era. Demonstrates that the physical evidence contradicts the story of the making of the first humans in Genesis.

BACKGROUND
There are two versions of the Human Creation Story in Genesis(1b). The concept is the same but the details are different. That is consistent with the criteria for folklore(2) described in Alan Dundees book "Holy Writ as Oral Lit" which are "multiple existence and variation". The bible is full of stories with the same concept but different details. For example, compare Isaiah, Jeremiah and Micah. Here is a list of folklore characteristics I pulled down from a high school website.
* Generally part of the oral tradition of a group. Most stories are told rather than read
* Passed down from one generation to another
* Take on the characteristics of the time and place in which they are told, and the personality of the storyteller
* Speak to universal and timeless themes. The try to make sense of our existence, help humans cope with the world in which they live, or explain the origin of something.
* Often about the common person
* May contain supernatural elements
* Function to validate certain aspects of culture

Generally, myths are a subcategory of Folklore that contain supernatural or Religious components.

The famous Documentary Hypothesis(3) posits that the Torah (aka Pentateuch, first five books of the Old Testament) is a collection of writing from four sources over a period of about 500-600 hundred years. Genesis 1 is from "The Priestly" source(4) , and Genesis 2 is from "The Jawist" source(5) (Jawist being the German word for Yawist). Using this as our guide, that would make the first creation story from about 450 BCE and the second one from around 950 BCE. The characteristics of the Torah that support the Documentary Hypothesis are some of the same characteristics that are consistent with the definition of Folklore. Some bible scholars don't like the documentary hypothesis, but they seem to be in the minority, and I haven't seen any compelling arguments to refute it. In one of the courses I listened to the teacher try to pick apart the Documentary Hypothesis but he used "special pleading"and wasn't very convincing.

Both creation stories were incorporated into the Torah about 400 BCE(5) during the rule of the Persian Empire. There are many differences in the two stories. Some differences in the two stories reflect the time, place and theology that they were written in. The First story, written later, has a God removed from creation and does not play much of a role with Humans after the creation. It was supposedly written during the Persian Rule after the Babylonian Exile. The second story was written much earlier and reflects a God that is involved and an integral part of Human Lives. It was supposedly written 500 hundred years earlier when the Jews were relatively self-governing and self-reliant.

Four major differences in the two stories follow, but there are many others that are not covered here.
A. God is referred to by different names in each story. In the first story he is referred to as Elohim (“God”) and in the second story he is referred to as Yahweh (“LORD”) or Yahweh Elohim (“LORD God”).
B. The methods of creation are different. In the first story creation occurs by the spoken word and in the second story creation occurs by physical means (for example, God plants a garden).
C. The order of creation is different in the two stories. The first story follows the order in the Enuma Elish(6) and starts with vegetation and proceeds to animals on to humans, and the second story begins with the male human, then the vegetation in the Garden of Eden, and then the animal kingdom.
D. In the first story, the man and woman are created together, but in the second story, the male is created first, with the female made later from his rib.

Multiple existence and variation is the Criteria for Folklore

GENESIS 1:26-1:27
* Genesis 1-31 Closely follows the structure of the Enuma Elish in the creation of the world
* Genesis 1:26-27
-- Generally thought to be written much earlier, and attributed to the "Priestly" writer
-- Has evidence of polytheism (7). At the time of the writing of Genesis, the theology about Angels hadn't been developed (angels were an aspect of God and not separate beings)(8), neither had the trinity, or use of the "Royal We" by royalty to refer to themselves in the third person.
-- We can see from the Bible that the Early Jews struggled with Polytheism which is supported by Archeology.
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

* Humans having aspects of a God are common in myths whether its breath, blood, body or spit
- Hinduism has a God Purusha(9) ritually sacrificed himself to make the cosmos and humans out of pieces of himself.
- Enuma Elish has man being made from the blood of the God Kingu(10) and dirt.

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.


God made a man and a woman. They were supposed to be the first and therefore alone. But we know from Paleontology that many different forms of hominids existed before our species Homo Sapiens Sapiens in the Paleolithic era(11). Therefore this claim does not fit the physical evidence.

Before you proceed any further, I highly recommend you visit
The Genographic Project, a joint Effort between National Geographic and IBM. It is a great quick and concise source of Human Ancestry information and serves as a complementary multimedia presentation for this article, looks nicer and is much more entertaining.

VERY GENERAL MILESTONES OF HUMAN ANCESTRY
Unlike our story in Genesis, the following has been derived from physical evidence retrieved by the hard, backbreaking, and mind-numbing work of millions of truth seekers over the course of more than a hundred years.

Talkorigins.org(12) is a good place to start for a quick reference to this type of information

In the Paleolithic era, climate changes caused Ice Ages which played a key part in Human migration. It caused the Sahara to expand and contract (12a), fossils and tools have been found in and around dried up lake beds in the Desert. So far three main forms of Hominid have been identified (of which Homo was the direct ancestor of Humanity), which belong to two broad groups.

* 2.4 - 1.5 million BCE:
- Homo Habilis(13), bipedal, made and used tools, butchered meat with tools, physically possible for speech but likely brain didn't support language, became dependent on technology, had greater social intelligence.

* 1.8 million BCE and 300,000 BCE:
- Homo Erectus(14) controlled fire, improves the tools, followed herds, migrated north with herds, hunted Big Game, adapted to Ice Age climate about 780,000 BCE
- First diaspora, Homo Erectus spread to Asia, Eurasia, and as they evolved crept into Europe (between 1.8m BCE and 800,000 BCE).

* 500,000 - 250,000 BCE:
- Homo Erectus larger brain size, better developed Broca's Area(14a) needed for speech, , rudimentary communication with sounds and gestures, butchers animals, migrated as far as Europe, lived among ice sheets and glaciers, tools and fossils found in Ubeidiya(14b) in Israel from 1.4m BCE, followed the herds, lived near lakes and rivers, 500,000 BCE drove large prey such as bison over cliffs, used spears, cooperated among themselves.

* 300,000 - 30,000 BCE:
- Leslie Aiello and Robin Dunbar theorize that language ability appeared in humans 250,000 BCE(15,16)
- Neanderthals(17) more sophisticated than Homo Erectus developed more or less in parallel with Homo Sapiens, improves tools lived 230,000 and 30,000 years ago, lived alongside Homo Sapiens, might have had language, certainly rudimentary communication, obviously able to survive in warmer temperatures additionally they adapted well to the extreme cold of the Ice Age using northernmost settlements in summer, made composite tools which have more than one part, but eventually died off by 40,000 BCE leaving only Homo Sapiens
- The earliest indications of rituals and/or religious behavior are found among Neanderthals(18).
-- Neanderthals buried their dead carefully with food and implements and removed the brains from human skulls. This practice suggests cannibalism, probably to gain the skills and virtues of the deceased. Neanderthals also preserved skulls and bones of cave bears on platforms or shelves in their caves.

* 200,000 - 100,000 BCE:
- Homo Sapiens Sapiens(19) - Modern forms of Homo Sapiens first appear about 195,000 years ago in Africa.
- Three groups or major grades of archaic forms have been identified
-- Early archaic Homo Sapiens closer to Homo Erectus, heavily built, 200,000 BCE. Molecular Biology mitochondrial DNA points to humans evolving in tropical Sub-Sahara Africa and is a potentially reliable link between modern and ancestral humans, "Mitochondrial Eve"(20) points to a population which we all have in common in Africa.
-- Late archaic Homo Sapiens, mosaic of different features found on surviving skulls, small bands of different creatures numbering in the thousands, more modern date to 100,000 BCE
-- Anatomically modern widely distributed at least 115,000 BCE in east and southern Africa

* 100,000 - 40,000 BCE:
* The Great Diaspora(21)
- Ecological background affects, appearance of new hunting kits south of the Sahara ~100k years ago.
- Evolution of modern humans had run its course from 100-70,000 BCE ago in east and southern Africa, far earlier than Europe and Asia, Neanderthals flourished in Europe, and southwest Asia,
- In 70,000 BCE estimate of worlds human population is around 2,000(21).
- With the serendipitous mutation of the FOXP2(22) gene, Humans acquired modern language abilities and were capable of sophisticated communications(23), facts concepts and ideas, emotions, reason, planning, adapting, dramatic changes in cognitive ability.
- Two theories of the dispersion of humans. 1. out of Africa Hypothesis(24), 2. multi-regional (recently refuted)(25), DNA examination shows that Neanderthals and humans are incompatible and cannot interbreed(26).
- DNA, blood groups and enzymes show that , there is a primary split between Africans and non-Africans, Eurasians-SW Asians.
- It appears that all humans have a common male ancestor who has been named "Adam".
From the National Geographic Genographic project(27)
"Adam--60,000 ya
--"Adam" is the common male ancestor of every living man. he lived in Africa some 60,000 ya, which means that all humans lived in Africa until at least that time.
-- Unlike his biblical namesake, this Adam was no the only man alive in his era. Rather , he is unique because his descendants are the only ones to survive to the present day.
-- It is important to note that Adam does not literally represent the first human. he is the coalescensce point of all the genetic diversity found in the world's disparate peoples. Adam had human ancestors as well, but we have not remaining genetic evidence of them. The changes to the Y chromosome that we follow back through the generations to identify Adam end in the commonality of that shared ancestor. (genographic project)"
-- As the climate in the Sahara changed by becoming wetter, and dryer in a periodic cycle, animals and people moved in and out of it. Before 100,000 years ago the Sahara had many shallow lakes and semi-arid grasslands. When the Sahara dried up, everything moved out to the edges.
-- Sometime between 100,000 and 60,000 years ago humans moved out of Africa. They would have followed any of several migration options, including through the Nile Valley, across the Red Sea, and along the northern coast. Fossils in the Qafzeh Cave(28) and other places in Israel show that Homo Sapiens Sapiens and Neanderthal lived alongside each other for thousands of years.
-- During the height of the last glaciation the geography of southeast Asia was different than it is today. Sea levels were 300 feet lower than they are now. There is good evidence for seafaring after 50,000 BCE(29). The distance between land was shorter.
- Remains of early human beings from the Upper Paleolithic era show a religious life similar to that of Neanderthals.
-- Mousterian material culture of the Middle Paleolithic appears throughout the Mediterranean basin.
-- Human beings from this era (like the Neanderthals) share a concern with proper treatment of the dead.
-- During this era, the dead were buried carefully, usually with the feet pulled up into a contracted position.
-- Burials were often in the cave where the group lived or in another cave nearby.
-- The body was typically buried under a stone slab with ornaments, stone tools, food, and weapons.
- About 40,000 years ago, with the appearance of the Cro-Magnon culture, tool kits started becoming markedly more sophisticated, using a wider variety of raw materials such as bone and antler, and containing new implements for making clothing, engraving and sculpting. Fine artwork, in the form of decorated tools, beads, ivory carvings of humans and animals, clay figurines, musical instruments, and spectacular cave paintings appeared over the next 20,000 years.

*
30,000–10,000 BCE:
- In The Upper Paleolithic era There were major changes in how humans behaved.
-- Early Homo Sapiens in Europe carved antlers, painted the walls of caves and molded clay figures.
-- They made exaggerated clay female figurines that appear to be associated with fertility rites.
-- Old Stone Age religious rituals appear to be intended to maintain harmony between the living and dead.
-- The end of the Old Stone Age is marked by a revolution in material culture and substantial climate changes.
-- The end of the Paleolithic era leads to changes in religious activities to address changes in how people lived.

* 10,000 BCE:
- the estimated world population was 1-10 million.(30)

KEY POINTS

Adam and Eve are Near Eastern (Southwest Asia) Creation Myths because
- Signs of human intelligence and non-specific pagan "religion" start with the Neanderthals. They include tool making, origin of speech and language and a pagan belief in the supernatural. Experts start talking about rudimentary communication about 500,000 years ago, burying the dead about 100,000 years ago, evidence of Cro-Magnon religion in cave paintings 45,000 years ago,
- Physical evidence for Evolution from one of three forms of hominids in sub-Saharan Africa, the expansion and contraction of the Sahara as the catalyst for migration, Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus, the first diaspora, Neanderthals, Homo Sapiens second diaspora, and the out of Africa theory
- Micro biology and genetics advances converge on an origin in sub-Saharan Africa around 60,000 BCE
- Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens Sapiens co-existed and were not genetically compatible,
- Human Founder populations (and in general) need more than two individuals (discussion deferred to the next article).
- Stories of Man made from dirt appear earlier than the Torah in Southwest Asia and all over the world (discussion deferred to the next article).

Adam and Eve don't fit.

My speculation (which is not a necessary component of this argument, but which I am willing to commit to) follows.

Since communication and intelligence evolved slowly with the different species that would wind up being human, and the Human FOXP2 gene mutation facilitated higher order communication, and the evolving ability to think in the abstract, and humans were reduced to small groups in the same area until they scattered about 60,000 years ago, I think it is highly likely that folklore that is shared world wide, such as gods making humans from the ground, originated with prehistoric humans in sub-Saharan Africa.

Simple forms of reasoning are reasoning from sign, analogy and correlation. Even house pets can manage that. I imagine, though prehistoric humans couldn't verbalize it, they had a concept of "other minds". They had themselves as a point of reference, saw others that seemed to be like themselves, realized that something was in control of that other body. Likewise, it must be the same with everything. So something must be in control of storms, flooding, fire, rock slides, the sun, the moon, etc. In a word, something they can't see is in control. If people are more powerful than the Deer, then surely whatever controls the storms is more powerful than people.

Additionally, one is told they came from their parent, but where did the first parent come from? Where do other things come from? Well if the plants grow up from the ground, and water comes from the ground, practically everything comes from the ground, then it should be no great intellectual leap to reason that people came from the ground too.

That brings us to Genesis 2 and the making of Adam.....
To Be Continued

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Quick Reference to material in the sources. For the Quick References, Wikipedia is used liberally because while academics don't consider Wikipedia definitive or acceptable as a source they do consider it generally good enough for quick reference. Please do not confuse quick references with the sources. The sources are where the majority of information came from.

Sources
1. Human Prehistory and First Civilizations, The Teaching Company
2. Story of Human Language
3. Great World Religions: Hinduism (2nd Edition), The Teaching Company
4. Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World, The Teaching Company
5. The Bible With Sources Revealed

6. The Book of Genesis, The Teaching Company
7. Great Figures of the Old Testament, The Teaching Company.
8. "Holy Writ As Oral Lit", Alan Dundees.
9. National Geographic Genographic Project

Quick References on the web
1a. Adam and Eve
1b. Creation according to Genesis
2. Folklore
3. Documentary Hypothesis
4. Priestly Source
5. Jawist

6. Enuma Elish Text online
7. Evidence of Polytheism
8. Angels Jewish Theology
9. Purusha
10. Kingu

11. Paleolithic
12 . Talkorigins.org
12a. Sahara Pump Theory
13. HomoHabilis
14. Homo Erectus
14a. Broca's Area in Homo Erectus
14b. Ubeidiya, Israel
15. Early human language

16. Neanderthal Speaks
18. Paleolithic Burials
19. Homo Sapiens Sapiens
20. Mitochondrial Eve

21. Humans nearly wiped out 70,000 years a ago
22. FOXP2
23. Origin of language
24. Out of Africa Hypothesis
25. New Research Proves Single Origin Of Humans In Africa

26. Neanderthals not an ancestor
27. Genographic Project
28. Qafzeh
29. Earliest seafarers
30. U.S. Census Bureau Historical Estimate of World Population

33 comments:

Mary said...

Dude you should totally get a screwball award for positing (and your source should as well) that there were two separate creation stories (the second one being "the garden of Eden). No, Garden of Eden is continuous from the other one.

Shygetz said...

mary, you apparently fail at Biblical literacy as much as you fail at biology. What came first, humans or plants?

Genesis 1:11-13--"Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day."

and 1:26-27--"Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

Then Genesis 2:4-7--"This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens-and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground-the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

So was it plants then man, or man then plants? Ditto animals; Gen 1 has animals then man, Gen 2 has man, then animals "formed out of the ground". This isn't a new idea from Lee or his cited source; scholars have noted this for about as long as there have been scholars aware of Genesis.

Harry McCall said...

Mary, can you sight read the MT text or the LXX? Are you able to discuss variable spelling in the MT text?

Just how much training do you have in comparative Semitics and advance Hellenistic Greek?

Just exactly where did you get your Biblical training?

Holding’s “Screw Ball Award” is cheap talk for lack of an objective education such as is standard at
Brandeis University, University of Chicago (The Oriental Institute), and of Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies.

PLEASE Mary, tell us if you have ever read a paper or if you were ever in a discussion group at a SBL meeting?

Come on Mary! I’ve asked you textual problems several times now and you keep avoiding them or give some half-ass general answer.

If you disagree with Lee; Hell, put up your sources or shut up!

Trou said...

Lee,
I love what you are writing here. It's right down my alley although it is stuff that I am already familiar with for the most part.
Excuse me if I sound like I'm picking on your presentation but it's just that I would like to hear your views on why you prefer a south east Asian source for these creation myths over Egypt as a primary source.
I prefer Egypt for several reasons.
The only documented case of an exodus is that of the priests of Aten and the inhabitants of Akhetaten being expelled from the city of Akhetaten and taken to Canaan. It's written about on the restoration stela of Tutankhamen.
Also, logically, a group of people can't have lived in an area for 430 years and maintain their culture and language totally intact. The Hebrew and Egyptian languages are very similar as are the creation stories. Compare the firmament with that of Nut depicted as arching over the earth. “She was shown in Egyptian artwork as a dark, star-covered naked woman, holding her body up in an arch, facing downwards. Her arms and legs were imagined to be the pillars of the sky, and hands and feet were thought to touch the four cardinal points at the horizon. Far underneath her lay the earth god, Geb”
The Hebrew alphabet is claimed by Roger and Sabbah Messod to have an Egyptian hieroglyphic origin. It is a claim that looks very likely given the evidence they lay out in their book. It makes sense that a literate priestly class would develop a writing system and not some illiterate slaves.
The conquering of Canaan as written in the Bible is very similar to the historical version of the Egyptian subduing of the same area.
Just one more point. The Cohen and Levi y-chromosome genetic studies have suggested a different linage between priests and non-priests. What I find interesting is the following.
“The Cohen modal haplotype belongs to a Y-chromosome haplogroup called J or HG-9. A haplogroup is defined by a unique event polymorphism, and men who belong to the same haplogroup are indeed descended from a single man. But, in the case of J, that single man lived more than 10,000 years ago, long before the time of Aaron. However, J is split into two lineages that are also more than 10,000 years old: J2 (or Eu9) and J1 (or Eu10).

If the people who have the CMH are always in Eu9 or in Eu10, then the CMH really reflects priestly descent. But, if it is found in both, then by definition the CMH does not in itself reflect priestly descent, because the common ancestor of a Eu9-CMH and a Eu10-CMH lived earlier than 10,000 years ago, i.e., much earlier than the putative time of Aaron's priesthood (~3 thousand years).”

It seems as if the linage could have gone back to 10.000 years. If the priesthood was started by Aaron then it would only go back 3300 years. If the priesthood was Egyptian then that would make complete sense. Akhenaten is credited with the first case of monotheism in the worship of Aten. He neglects the other gods who languish as Akhetaten is built and thrives. Akhenaten dies and another pharaoh reestablishes worship for the other gods and drives the monotheistic priests to Canaan and destroys the city. On a further historical note, a call goes out to those of the middle class for candidates for the priesthood to replace those who were driven away. This was unprecedented because the priests were always from the same bloodline.
I’ve rambled a lot but I’m dying to here if anyone has considered this or at least has an interest in the Egyptian origins of Judaism.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi trou,
real quick to keep the dialog going,
*. I may be wrong
*. I prefer southwest asia as the source
*. the spread across south asia was an easy one compared to the northern route,
*. from what I skimmed through I agree with you,

please contribute as much as you'd like, I'm fishing for experts.

more later in hour or so....

Evan said...

Trou,

This is something I have long wondered and I have some gaps in my knowledge that you seem like you may be able to help me with.

First, I understand that the Merneptah stela is much later than the Armarna period and is the first archaeologically derived mention of Israel, so your theory certainly holds water there, but my question is where is the first mention of any exodus. Are there any 9th or 8th century inscriptions in Canaan that mention the Exodus? Or is the first mention that we have the 7th century written text?

It certainly seems that it would be possible for a group of overlords (priests) to have kept alive a legend of an exodus that gradually grew over time, and this would also explain the constant backsliding of the Hebrews that John talks about in his book.

The reason they were always backsliding is because monotheism was a foreign concept originally and was constantly being reimposed on the subject populace.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Trou,
i'm back,
I don't doubt heavy egyptian influence any more than I doubt heavy influence from Mesopotamian sources. Egypt and mesopotamia were always the super power in that area. What i do doubt is that there is a "majority" of any.

I am no expert, this is my disclaimer,

I recognized hindu and buddhist elements in the bible as a teenager when going through social studies classes. Then when I revisited it as an adult trying to verify the bible with external sources, I paid attention and have been documenting them. Maybe i have an indus valley bias, maybe its unwarranted, but maybe its not.

it could be, since we know that humans evolved and spread out of south east africa, that everyone was influenced by egypt, Indus Valley and all,
but ideas evolve as well as people and get carried around by traders who get tired of travelling, find a woman, settle down, make some little minds ready to absorb what mommy and daddy tell them, they move on etc....

Or traders find a woman, take them back home, have some babies, let momma raise them, they pick up mommas culture, etc......

And I never realized how much seafaring went on in that area until I started trying to find out who the 'sea peoples' were and looking into the whales in that area. Its much easier to carry a whole lot of people and stuff on the water than over land, through the mountains.

What I want to break down is what I perceive to be a culture of unwarranted absolutes and dichotomies when discussing the ancients.

in any case , I want the participation of experts to bring this material to the common guy like i was (and still am) looking for answers.

Also, not being an expert, and without more information on that Cohen and Levi y-chromosome genetic studies, I have doubts about it. I'll look it up. Can you recommend some place online to read about it?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Evan and Shygetz,
You guys are experts in biology right?
How many humans would it take to make a viable founder population? I've heard 50, and I heard that north america was populated by as little as 70.

Evan said...

Lee,

Founder studies are interesting and I don't think that there is any definitive data on minimums. The only good reference I could find was to the Pingelap in Micronesia who had a near destruction of their population. With a founder number of 20 they have a very high rate of color-blindness.

The Quebecois founder number was 2600 and they are quite genetically diverse although they are hardly endogamous.

I think a fair estimate for a founder number that would have a minimal genetic load is in the 10,000 range. I believe current theory about human evolution (subject to change as additional data comes in) is that there was a substantial bottleneck at the eruption of the volcano Toba on Sumatra roughly 73,000 BCE and that human population may have dropped to as few as 1000 breeding pairs -- although how effective pair-bonding might have been at that time is debatable.

Lee Randolph said...

Thanks for helping me do my homework Evan!
I'll look those up to use as data in my next article.

I found the following and was going to use it but it was kind of lonely.

"the minimum founder population for a remote permanent space colony is likely to be on the order of 100 to 200 unrelated individuals." pg 246,
The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments, Claude A. Piantadosi, Oxford University Press, USA; 1 edition (September 11, 2003)

Spirula said...

Regarding human evolution and migration, here is a nice summary.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Spirula,
that was awesome,
did you get a chance to look at the genographic project link in the article? Its very similar, with voice-over, and a little more sophisticated, with information about how they use genetics.

Spirula said...

Lee,

Haven't got around to that part yet, but will sometime today. I just ran across it, went through the simplistic illustrations first and thought they were well done.

Trou said...

It’s nice to be able to discuss this with someone so I hope I don’t get long winded and divert an excellent post which I think is better and much more comprehensive than the narrow topic that I’m raising.

“I recognized Hindu and Buddhist elements in the bible as a teenager… Maybe i have an Indus valley bias, maybe its unwarranted, but maybe its not.”

I do believe, as you have lined out, that information was shared and cultures have influenced each other and it’s hard to say who the major influence was.
However, I do think that most of the more obvious similarities to Mesopotamian thought come after the Babylonians conquered and exiled the Jews. An effort was made to remove any reference to Egypt that was positive from the scriptures as it would have offended their conquerors and caused them to be treated as an enemy. This is why the scriptures were changed to emphasize the hardship, the slavery and the miraculous escape. They changed the story to fit the intended audience. Further evidence for this alteration of scripture can be found in the use of camels in stories (Gen. 24:10, 24:61, 64) that predated the domestication of the camel by hundreds of years (1200BC) and the use of the camel in Egypt (introduced by the Romans) was even later than in Mesopotamia. Jeremiah, if I remember correctly, decries the changing of the scriptures so there is evidence on several fronts to the altering of texts including Jewish oral tradition and commentary*.
*Rashi (Rabbi Shelomoh ben Yishaq, AD 1040-1105) was a scholar and commentator on the oral tradition concerning the Pentateuch. His teaching is one of the most important in the Jewish tradition. It is based on written and oral traditions and he used the Aramaic Bible as his reference source.
Of one verse (EX. 12:41) Rashi confirms, “This is one of the passages of the Torah that was modified for King Ptolemy.”

“First, I understand that the Merneptah stela is much later than the Armarna period and is the first archaeologically derived mention of Israel, so your theory certainly holds water there, but my question is where is the first mention of any exodus. Are there any 9th or 8th century inscriptions in Canaan that mention the Exodus? Or is the first mention that we have the 7th century written text?”

I’m not aware of any mention of the exodus as we know it. What I have mentioned above is evidence from Egyptology that we can use to piece together the rise of monotheism (Aten), the building of the holy city of Akhetaten, the abandoning and later destruction of the city and the use of it’s building blocks for other public and religious buildings and the exile of the priests and those who wished to continue worshiping Aten to the land of Canaan with the escort of Egyptian military. There is recorded a lapse of time between this exodus and when the land was subdued by Sety I and this securing of the province was recorded and is strikingly similar to what was credited to Joshua. Two stela discovered at Beth-Shean confirm his triumph over Canaan. (http://nefertiti.iwebland.com/seticampaign.htm). Both Joshua and Sety erected victory stela.
So the only evidence for an exodus comes from Egyptian sources but they are not portraying the same story as the Biblical one.

“The reason they were always backsliding is because monotheism was a foreign concept originally and was constantly being reimposed on the subject populace.”

This is true and is written about by William Devers. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Did_God_Have_a_Wife%3F) As I see it, the priestly class and those who wished to join them were exiled to Canaan where they coexisted with the locals for years. Devers speaks of Asherah (the consort of Yahweh and a Canaanite deity), as does the Bible. There remain indications of the original monotheistic Aten worship such as Psalms 104 which is very similar to the Great hymn to Aten. I would like to know if any more of the psalms were once hymns to Aten.

I have read many books on this subject and not all have been the most scholarly but ignoring the specific elements (some of which can't be proven for sure) in favor of a big picture yields what I have described here. I would like to see further research from a linguistic perspective as to the origin of the Hebrew alphabet. I am convinced that this would be most fruitful yet most biblical scholars have entered their field of study with preconceptions already in place and would never think to look in this direction.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Trou,
this is interesting stuff and the first i've heard of it. That only means that I've not had a wide enough exposure in this area.

The period you are talking about, babylon etc, is right in the middle of the 'axial' age, when scholars were cruising around between china, india and the west (occident). Socrates was born in middle of it.

I do know that at least two of the biblical ancestors are documented in the bible as spending a lot of their lifetime in egypt by choice, (i'm looking for them and which book it appears in) also that Canaanites had no rivers to depend on for agriculture, so during the droughts had to depend on egyptian and mesopotamian resources to get food.

This supports the web of interconnectedness that is demonstrated by documents such as the Amarna letters.

We shouldn't forget the 'lost empire' of the hittites. Canaan seems to have shared a border with it and there is a reference to Abraham buying some land from the sons of het. The hittites had a border with the myceneans. Canaanite gods had a lot in common with egyptian gods, thats a fact, and there seems to be a connection between the Nephilum and the Greek Titans.

Like you, I'd like to see more research on the history of thought and culture without the "save the religion' bias. Or should i say without the fear of harassment from the religious when the evidence doesn't support their beliefs.

I"m going to continue with the articles on the interconnectedness and folklore but right now I am building a case to refute romans 5 and am leaving out a lot of really neat details that I will come back to later.

if you would like to contribute an article as a guest, I am open to that. I'd like to see some of you submit stuff for publishing. I don't have the last word, so I would have to bring it to DC admins for discussion.

Trou said...

"if you would like to contribute an article as a guest, I am open to that. I'd like to see some of you submit stuff for publishing. I don't have the last word, so I would have to bring it to DC admins for discussion."

I appreciate the interest you've shown and the encouragement to contribute an article. I would like, for my own interest, to write about what I have learned in the process of reading so many books on the subject. My fear is that it would be only series of quotes from the books I have read because I lack the education that I would need to dig up facts on my own. I have a college degree but my minor in anthropology will not help me read Aramaic or Hebrew.
Even so, I suppose this may introduce some very interesting books with novel ideas to a new readership. It may prompt a fresh perspective to an old dogma.
Once again, thanks for the encouragement.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Trou,
My fear is that it would be only series of quotes from the books I have read because I lack the education that I would need to dig up facts on my own. I have a college degree but my minor in anthropology will not help me read Aramaic or Hebrew.

I'm sorry Trou, you touched a nerve (in a good way though) so I'm going to get on my soapbox and address everyone.

It takes a hellofa lot of commitment to pump out articles and I can understand if no-one can afford the time, but I hate it when I see someone give fear as one of thier reasons not to do something.

In the book Dune, the hero was told that
"Fear is the little death that lives inside you"

I don't do aramaic or hebrew, but I do have a brain that works well enough to make a living with. I suppose you do too.

My momma told me that I can do anything I want to if I want to bad enough. This is my philosophy. My world view.

(putting on my philosopher hat now)
I think that one of the problems that stem from thousands of years of religion is this idea that we aren't good enough, and that mistakes should be punished.

BULLSHIT.

It co-opts this natural algorithm we have of self-doubt.

We are good enough, and mistakes are natural like having bad hair in the morning.

Reasoning is like bad hair, you have to comb it to make nice. Its a skill. I know that not everyone can do it well enough to be like Einstein, but with practice and discipline, most people get better at it.

(stepping down, removing my hat)

Trou said...

Lee,
I am eager to put something together. My "fear" wasn't going to stop me but was a kind of self effacing way of warning potential readers that my offering may be a bit underwhelming compared to the high standards of the contributors on this blog.
I took the opposite career path that Jesus is said to have taken. I became a preacher and then a carpenter. That may make me an anti-Christ in one sense but I do know it makes me a bit rusty as far as writing and research go.
I’ll get started right away.

Lee Randolph said...

awesome,
I guess the standard mechanism in the past has been to submit it to john, however, I know he's been busy lately and with the upcoming release of his book I presume he'll be busier still.

my advice is to submit it to John, and/or the blogs email address debunkingchristianity@gmail.com.

The blogs email address doesn't get used except in cases like this, To help you correspond with us in private without revealing our real email addresses to the public. I'll be checking the blogs email address weekly.

I look forward to reviewing your submission.

Stu said...

Hi does anyone out there know about the Documentary Hypothesis that can help me? (Harry McCall you seem to know a bit about Biblical Criticism?) My uncle used to be a biblical scholar and he says that no-one really believes the DH any more, that it has been pretty much discredited. Is this true? I'm not sure but I can't very well disagree with him, not being a biblical scholar myself.

I've tried Google searches but I'm really surprised as to the polarization of views out there, from one page saying most scholars have rejected it, to another saying it's still as solid as ever and that the other people are biased!!

Is there somewhere I can find an objective review of the field so I can decide for myself what the majority of scholars think? Surely 'the majority of scholars accept the DH' is an objective statement that can be easily verified?

Lee Randolph said...

Stu,
you don't need the documentary hypothesis to see that the bible is inconsistent, the god character changes, the stories are similar and vary in detail. Start reading the ancient near east myths for yourself and see what you think.

The views are polarized because christianity is shot if the bible is not real. They need it for survival.

and I'm not just talking about fundy's. Liberal christians can talk about metaphor all they want, but they punt to mystery when you get 'em cornered. Ironically they default to agnosticism.
"we just don't and can't know....." (angels in the background)

Trou said...

"Also, not being an expert, and without more information on that Cohen and Levi y-chromosome genetic studies, I have doubts about it. I'll look it up. Can you recommend some place online to read about it?"

Sorry not to have responded to this question sooner Lee. I know of nowhere to find this because I don't think the connection has been made between the Cohen/Levites and an Egyptian priestly lineage. You can find information on tracing the descendents who share this HG-9 haplotype by visiting http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2005/11/what-was-really-aarons-lineage-cohen.html or by simply googling Cohen genetic ancestry. There are many websites that mention this in terms of genealogical research but as you read in the quote of my comment, there is always a dead end when it comes to the fact that this genetic marker goes back 10,000 years and the Jewish priesthood goes back 3300 years.
What got me thinking about this was a PBS program on genetics that mentioned this gene in passing a few years ago. After seeing that program I read more about the Egyptian Atenistic priesthood (which would have been priests of Amun or Ra before serving the wishes of Akhenaten on his becoming pharaoh) and the thought occurred to me that maybe the reason the genetic marker dates from long before Aaron is because the priesthood didn't begin with Aaron but went back much further. This could only be true if the Jewish priesthood were offshoots of the Egyptian priestly class. Also, this would presuppose that the Egyptian priesthood extends that far into the past (I haven’t checked this out yet). I think the thought is, so far as I can tell, mine alone. I hope to research it further and also hope that other more capable minds might look into the idea to see if there is merit to it. One way to do this is to find if there are the same HG-9 haplotype in other Egyptian groups and whether or not it can be determined that they were descended from the priesthood.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Trou,
Sorry not to have responded to this question sooner Lee.
No problem. I'll check it out. thanks.

Lee Randolph said...

trou, buddy,
you out there?
check this out
Its from Cornell, University, (Saganland).
It should be noted that the area in which the Early Hebrews lived was in the south of Canaan, closer to the Egyptians at the time the myths were created, and so were more influenced than the northern Canaanites. This is key in understanding where the Hebrew monotheistic ideas came from.

zilch said...

Lee- great work, fascinating stuff. I can't resist adding this, though: Evan, you say

I believe current theory about human evolution (subject to change as additional data comes in) is that there was a substantial bottleneck at the eruption of the volcano Toba on Sumatra roughly 73,000 BCE and that human population may have dropped to as few as 1000 breeding pairs -- although how effective pair-bonding might have been at that time is debatable.

How effective pair-bonding is right up to the present day is still debatable, is it not? And isn't pair-bonding still a major concern of all religions? And of pop music?

Evan said...

Zilch, yes, I think that pair-bonds become much less viable in less stable reproduction scenarios and I imagine that the variance was substantial from a strict 1:1 ratio of genetic mixing.

I would imagine that males under such a situation would tend to horde females during their estrus and it is possible that this is when humans developed hidden fertility in females.

Trou said...

Lee,
Read the book "The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's new vision of ancient Israel and the origin of its sacred texts" written by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Selberman.
What I found interesting, and similar to the web site you linked to, is that the northern hill country was less "Jewish" than the south but also very much more prosperous and successful. Evidently the Omrides were much more wealthy and powerful than the southern tribe of Judah.
Guess who wrote or re-wrote the scriptures. Yes, the jealous southerners. They completely trashed those from the north and insinuated themselves into relevancy to a degree much greater than they deserved. They could do this because the north had been defeated and the south remained probably because they had not much to offer by way of spoils. The only thing they had was their strict religion which somehow continued in some form or another to modern times.
It's a good book for an even handed look at biblical archaeology.

zilch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee Randolph said...

hi Trou,
I did read that book shortly after came out in paperback. What you say rings a bell. I want to find it in audio or reread it again because it has a lot of good info in it that I missed the first time cause I didn't recognize its significance.

After debating christians for a year and half, I've become aware of quite a bit of "stuff that matters" more than I thought.

zilch said...

Hmmm, Evan, interesting hypothesis. But would 70k years be enough time for hidden fertility to evolve? Hard to say.

Stu said...

Hi Lee

Thanks for replying, but you didn't really answer my question ... :-)

Lee Randolph said...

sorry Stu,
So to answer your question, in the university level courses I have taken, and the books I have read, no-one seriously doubts the Documentary Hypothesis. I suppose religious organizations doubt it, but they have a huge investment in it being delivered to moses by god.

my point was that someone like yourself can easily verify the likelihood that the DH is true by doing your own research. On one hand, we can trust the consensus of experts in their field with respect to their field, but on the other, it makes me feel better to pick up a book of Egyptian myths and see the same concepts that appear in genesis, and read the Enuma elish and see the same concepts. I can see the theological battles going on within the first five books and the evolving of the God character within Geneisis and across the other five books.

If you read up on the history of the Near east, and study the history of Judaism and the mythology of the near east, it is easy to see that the bible is an anthology of cultural writings.

Once you get a grip on what it was like in those days, and you think to yourself, how would you handle maintaining order in a small but steadily growing group of individuals with no governmental infrastructure. You have to get them to police themselves. You have to pressure them to do the things they know will perpetuate a successful outcome for their society. The best way to do that is to "legitimize" the rules with God.

Compare the Jews to the other "superpowers" in the region. The other superpowers didn't have much morality embedded in their religion, but they did have strong governmental infrastructure. The Jews (for most of the biblical period) are just the opposite. They only had verifiable self autonomy for something like 200 years before they got taken over by babylon. This is all off the top of my head so excuse me if I get my facts confused.

Drow Ranger said...

mary, you apparently fail at Biblical literacy as much as you fail at biology. What came first, humans or plants?

Genesis 1:11-13--"Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day."

and 1:26-27--"Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

Then Genesis 2:4-7--"This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens-and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground-the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

So was it plants then man, or man then plants? Ditto animals; Gen 1 has animals then man, Gen 2 has man, then animals "formed out of the ground". This isn't a new idea from Lee or his cited source; scholars have noted this for about as long as there have been scholars aware of Genesis.


LOL. yeah right, fail. Ummm, actually, there is Epic Fail here, and it's not coming from me. First of all, learn about Toledoth statements.

Scholars think that the first part of the verse would have been on the end of a clay or stone tablet recording the origin of the universe and the latter part of the verse would have been on the beginning of a second tablet containing the account of events on earth pertaining particularly to Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:4b–5:la).

Let us apply this understanding to another objection: some also see a problem with the plants and herbs in Genesis 2:5 and the trees in Genesis 2:9. We have already realized that Genesis 2 focuses on issues of direct import to Adam and Eve, not creation in general. Notice that the plants and herbs are described as ‘of the field’ in Genesis chapter 2 (compare 1:12) and they needed a man to tend them (2:5). These are clearly cultivated plants, not just plants in general. Also, the trees (2:9) are only the trees planted in the garden, not trees in general.
-Answers in Genesis, Genesis topic search

Of course Plants came first. Duh. Genesis 2 is a condensed recap of Genesis 1.

Harry harry harry...
Mary, can you sight read the MT text or the LXX? Are you able to discuss variable spelling in the MT text?
Can you?

Just how much training do you have in comparative Semitics and advance Hellenistic Greek?
I don't have to be. I rely on others that are.

Just exactly where did you get your Biblical training?
Got it from a lot of places. Christian School, Church, plus books from my late Grandfather who had such books on hand due to the fact he was a Pastor.

Holding’s “Screw Ball Award” is cheap talk for lack of an objective education such as is standard at
Brandeis University, University of Chicago (The Oriental Institute), and of Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies.

You can name-drop all you want there Harry, but you still haven't given me reason to believe that your sources are not unfairly biased, looking for their own answers in spite of evidence, or when the evidence presented embodies the ambiguous case.

PLEASE Mary, tell us if you have ever read a paper or if you were ever in a discussion group at a SBL meeting?
I'd have to know what SBL was first...but I have a lot of books here...tell me which ones will be useful/pertinent...I got a ton here by Luther and Walther and a bunch of guys...

Come on Mary! I’ve asked you textual problems several times now and you keep avoiding them or give some half-ass general answer.
Halfassed questions deserve halfassed answers. Seriously man, your "textual problems" aren't half what you make them out to be. Gimme something more specific to work with and maybe I can give you a more specific answer, mkay?

If you disagree with Lee; Hell, put up your sources or shut up!
I'll put up my sources against Lee any day of the week if he can be bothered to be more freaking specific.