Friday, January 24, 2020

Rebecca Ran to Her Mother's House

The man [Abraham's servant] bowed his head and worshiped the Lord and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master's kinsmen.” Then the young woman ran and told her mother's household about these things. Genesis 24:27-28

Alice C. Linsley

A very ancient practice is alluded to in Ruth 1:8-9. Here Naomi urges her daughters-in-law to return to their “mother’s house.” This is Naomi’s way of encouraging Orpah and Ruth to remarry. Hoping that they will marry again, Naomi sends them back to their mothers.

The “mother's house” is where women gathered to plan weddings for betrothed girls. The women attended to the practical arrangements for weddings and the items needed to set up a new household. On the other hand, the “father's house” was where the fathers deliberated the terms of the marriage involving dowry, inheritance, and property. The elders of the village were present to witness the deliberations. Sometimes fathers denied marriage to eligible daughters.

A woman who was forbidden to marry (or re-marry) was to return to her father's house. When Judah refused to marry another of his sons to Tamar, as was required by the Levirate marriage law, he told her to return to the father’s house (Gen. 38:11).

Scholars have noted that Rebecca ran to her mother's house to announce the marriage proposal from Isaac (Gen. 24:28). Running to her mother's house expressed Rebecca's willingness to accept the marriage proposal delivered by Abraham's servant.

This practice entails more than preparing for a wedding and a new household. It is about building a lineage. Naomi tells both of her widowed daughters-in-law to return to their "mother's house" so that they can remarry and have families. The perpetuation of the lineage also guaranteed the survival of the clan.

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Extent of Edomite Territory

Alice C. Linsley

The terms Edom and Idumea refer to the same territory; the "land of red people." The extend of that territory was much larger than is generally shown on maps.

Note that Idumea and Edom are shown on this map as separate territories. However, they were one territory in Abraham’s time and Edom extended as far north as Hebron, where Sarah resided.

Compare the map above to this map which shows Idumea extending as far north as Hebron.

Data from the book of Ruth indicates that the territory of the Edomites extended even to Bethlehem where Boaz lived.

Boaz is derived from the Akkadian Bu-Uz-Kir which means “being of the land belonging to Uz.” Job was of the clan of Uz. According to Genesis 36, the clan was named for Uz, the grandson of Seir the Horite Hebrew ruler of Edom (see diagram above). This is significant because it means that the Hebrew clans of Edom held land in Bethlehem.

The word Bo, Bu or Ba is found many Afroasiatic languages. For example, BoSede in Yoruba means “Born on Sunday” or “Being of Sunday.” Ba is a Fula prefix indicating a person's homeland or point of origin.

Related reading: The Chiefs of Edom; Horite Hebrew Territory; Aaron was Buried in Edom; Hebrew Priests in Aram, Edom, Judah, and Moab

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Hebrew Priests in Aram, Edom, Judah, and Moab

Alice C. Linsley

The Hebrew (Akkadian Abru) priests of the ancient world were found among numerous biblical populations, especially the Judahites, the Arameans, the Edomites, and the Moabites. According to the biblical data, these populations were related by blood (consanguine) and marriage (affinty).

The Hebrew priests of Judah were related to the priests of Aram, Edom and Moab. All these priests share a common male ancestor in Terah. The Moabites are descended from Terah through his deceased son Haran and his grandson Lot.

The Arameans are difficult to define ethnically because of their diversity and wide geographic dispersion. They populated a region extending from the Iranian steppes east of Damascus to the rich agriculture zones of southern Mesopotamia. Their language, West Semitic Aramaic, became the lingua franca of the ancient Near East until the arrival of Greek. Palmyrene Aramaic inscriptions have been found on Hadrian's Wall in England. Palmyrene is a West Aramaic dialect, along with Nabataean and Judeo-Aramaic.

Terah's oldest son was Nahor. His Akkadian name means "Devoted to HR, the Most High God," and he was Terah's proper heir. After Terah died, Nahor ruled over Terah's holding in Aram. Abraham became a sent-away son and, by God's direction, came to Canaan from Aram.

Jacob was also Aramean by virtue of his mother, Rebecca, who Abraham’s personal servant fetched from Aram to marry Isaac (Genesis 24). As a sent-away son, Jacob lived in Aram for 20 years while working for Laban. There he married two wives and gradually gained wealth before being reconciled to his brother Esau. Because of his unsettled state, Jacob is sometimes referred to as a "Wandering Aramean."

When Jacob left to stay with relatives in Aram, he fled from his brother Esau, Isaac's proper heir and the man who ruled in Edom after Isaac death. Hebrew priests practiced endogamy, that is, they married only within the Hebrew clans wherever they might be dispersed. The marriage between Isaac of Edom and Rebecca of Aram shows that the priests of both regions were kinsmen. Jacob's marriage to two Aramean women fits the pattern.

This is the back story for Naomi and Ruth, the wives of Hebrew priests who were living in Moab.

Some Hebrew priests of Bethlehem resided in Moab. When Ruth returned to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law Naomi, she became the wife of Boaz, a ruler of Bethlehem. Boaz fathered Obed, but by levirate marriage law, Obed was the heir of Ruth's late husband whose holding was probably in Moab, not Bethlehem. This means that David's family had kin in Moab which explains why David sent his parents to the citadel of the king of Moab for protection while he was being pursued by Saul (1 Samuel 22:3).

The book of Ruth presents anthropologically significant data about the House of David's link to Bethlehem. Bethlehem was a Horite Hebrew settlement according to I Chronicles 2:54 and I Chronicles 4:4. The priests who resided there believed in God Father and God Son to whom they made grain and oil offerings and offered blood sacrifice. This is verified by 2 Samuel 8:18 which states that David’s sons were priests.

After David became king, he brought the Ark "from the house of Abinadab, that was in Gibeah” (Saul's hometown) to Jerusalem (II Sam. 6:1-12). However, for three months the Ark rested in David’s hometown of Bethlehem in the house of Obed-Edom. This indicates the great antiquity of David's royal lineage. Genesis 36:31 states that there were kings in Edom long before there was a king in Israel. In fact, Abraham's territory was entirely in the region of ancient Edom, and Edom is where Aaron was buried.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive."

Alice C. Linsley

Mary, the virgin bride, conceived as was anticipated by the ancient Horite Hebrew, Abraham's ruler-priest caste. She was "overshadowed" by the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that moved over the waters at the beginning. This signifies God over and with the creation.

Isaiah 7:14: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel.” This signifies God over and with us.

In response to Mary’s question, “How will this be?” (Luke 1:34), the angel Gabriel explains, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). This is reiterated to Joseph: “What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20). Matthew states that the virgin “was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). Galatians 4:4 addresses the identity of this man: “God sent His Son, born of a woman.”

Jesus is the Seed of God mentioned in Genesis 3:15. He identifies himself as that Seed when he tells his disciples that he is going to die. When they object, he explains: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24).

The one born of Mary by the Holy Spirit is the Son of God Father. The symbol or emblem for God Father and God Son among the ancient Horite Hebrew was the Sun. Therefore, it is not surprising that images pointing to the fulfillment of the first Messianic prophesy (Gen. 3:15) show a royal woman wearing the solar crown. It is certain that Mary was of the ruler-priest class because even those who hated her admit this. Sanhedrin 106a says: “She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.”

Mary would have been known formally as "Miriam Daughter of Joachim, Son of Pntjr, Priest of Nathan of Bethlehem." From pre-dynastic times, ntjr designated God or the king. Pntjr is Pa-netjer, the name of Joachim’s mother. A limestone stela (1539-1291 B.C.) bearing the names of Pekhty-nisu and his wife, Pa-netjer, is on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

I Chronicles 4:4 alludes to the connection between Bethlehem and the Horite Hebrew. Here HR (Hor or Hur) is named as the "father of Bethlehem." The prophets foretold Bethlehem as the birth place of the Son of God.

Related reading: The Substance of Abraham's Faith; The Virgin Mary's Ancestry; Was Mary a Royal Dedicated Virgin?; The Theotokos and Weaving; The Ra-Horus-Hathor Narrative; Ancient Images of the Nativity and Mary and Jesus

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Ten Objections to Women Priests

Alice C. Linsley

As a woman who served as a priest in the Episcopal Church for 16 years, I have some experience of the nature of the priesthood. In 1982, with the encouragement of my parish clergy, friends and family, it seemed the right course for my life. Over the years, I began to question the rationale for women priests. I remember feeling that I was standing in another's shoes, not appropriately mine. I wanted to explain this to my bishop, but he clearly did not want to hear it.

Galatians 3:28 has been used to justify the innovation of women priests: "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." In the fourth century, St. Epiphanius remarked that the heretical Cataphyrgians (Montanists) employed Galatians 3:28 to elevate women as "bishops and priests and they say nothing makes a difference 'For in Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female.'''

Reading Galatians 3:28 in context, it is apparent that Paul is speaking of the unity of the body of Christ. He is not promoting gender equality as it is framed today. As the Supper was intended to unite the participants to the Head, Jesus Christ, the idea of a woman presiding at the Feast would have been unthinkable.

My doubts made the priestly ministry increasingly burdensome and problematic. As a heterosexual, Bible-believing, Anglican Traditionalist, I found no affirmation in the Episcopal Church as it moved toward a radical revision of the Gospel, setting aside the Apostolic Tradition for its social justice agenda.

Eventually, I renounced orders in the Episcopal Church and left that body. This initiated a decade of reflection on the role of women in the Church and the historic priesthood. During that time, I was in conversation with three former women priests who were seeking clarity also. One entered the Roman Catholic Church and the others entered the Orthodox Church of America. I explored both traditions, but I am thoroughly Anglican and have been for forty-three years.

I have written on the question of women priests, exploring it through Biblical studies, Church history, and cultural anthropology. As with many Anglicans, I believe that the Episcopal Church erred in 1976 when it departed from the all-male priesthood. On a single day the General Convention of the Episcopal Church overthrew catholic orders, rejected the teaching of the Fathers, and denied the authority of Holy Scripture.

Historically, the priesthood of the Church was restricted to a few chosen men, tested and carefully formed for the priestly office. In his treatise “On the Priesthood,” St. John Chrysostom wrote, "When one is required to preside over the Church, and be entrusted with the care of so many souls, the whole female sex must retire before the magnitude of the task, and the majority of men also.”

Not a single woman served in the office of priest until 1944, at which time Florence Li Tim-Oi was ordained by Ronald Hall, Bishop of Victoria, Hong Kong, in response to the crisis among Anglicans in Communist China. She later stepped down from serving as a priest.

The first woman “canonically” ordained to the priesthood in the United States was a lesbian who served as Integrity's first co-president. Other lesbians had been among the Philadelphia Eleven. In the United States, the ordination of women and homosexuals was so intertwined from the beginning that it is difficult to treat these as separate questions. Both have been framed as "equal rights" issues, revealing a profound misunderstanding of the priesthood. The priesthood is not a right, and it is not a reward to be bestowed upon those who will advance a body’s agenda.

In this paper I address ten reasonable objections to women in the priesthood:

1. The Church is not a democratic body.
2. Women’s ordination is linked to homosexual activism.
3. Women’s ordination is rooted in Feminist thought.
4. Women priests perpetuate confusion about gender.
5. Women priests represent rejection of the authority Scripture and Tradition
6. Women priests cause confusion about the Eucharist.
7. Women priests represent a denial of the Fathers’ teaching.
8. Ordination of women to the priesthood undermines women’s ministries.
9. The feminization of the clergy discourages men’s participation in the church.
10. A female at the altar blurs the biblical distinction between life and death.

1. The Church is not a democracy

In 1994, Pope John Paul II spoke ex cathedra on female ordination, observing that the male priesthood had been "preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and clearly taught by the Magisterium in recent documents." He stated that the Church has "no authority to confer priestly ordination on women."

Synods may vote to conform “the constant and universal Tradition of the church” to the world’s shifting values. That invariably results in the loss of spiritual heritage and places the body outside the catholic Faith, which is where the Episcopal Church is today.

No jurisdiction has authority to set aside the all-male priesthood. The Body of Christ does not concede to the unilateral action of the Episcopal Church. The Church is not a democratic body in which dogma, doctrine, and the received tradition are changed or set aside by a vote.

2. Women’s ordination is linked to homosexual activism

Historically, a clear link exists between the push for women priests and homosexual activism. In 1974, the same year that Louie Crew founded the homosexual activist organization Integrity eleven women, including known lesbians, were ordained in Philadelphia.

In September 1975, more lesbians were ordained in Washington D.C. Here is the account in Louie Crew's words: "More 'irregular' ordinations of women took place… after our convention. In Washington at the time, on a missionary journey to our new chapters in the east, Jim Wickliff and I yielded to the counsel of friends who advised that our visibility at the ordination might put in jeopardy lesbians among all early ordinands."

In 1976 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church affirmed homosexual behavior when it passed the “we are children of God” resolution.

In 1977, Bishop Paul Moore (NY) ordained Ellen Marie Barrett, who had served as Integrity's first co-president.

Breaking catholic orders was necessary to opening the priesthood to partnered gay and lesbian persons.

3. Women’s ordination is rooted in Feminist thought.

Ideological Feminism is not about equal pay for equal work. It is not an ideology of love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and equality. It is a Marxist ideology that reframes the economic antagonism between classes as a struggle between men and women. As in Marxism, radical feminism seeks to shift control of institutions and society to women. As such, ideological Feminism must oppose biblical headship as an expression of the sovereignty of God Father and God Son.

Feminist arguments are usually baseless and often irrational. Susan Cornwall argues that women can be priests because Jesus was a woman. By this ridiculous assertion she hopes to confront "discrimination against women" which she believes "is based on the tradition of Jesus having chosen only male apostles."

In 2015, Canon Emma Percy of the Church of England said, “In the last two or three years we’ve seen a real resurgence and interest in feminism, and younger people are much more interested in how gender categories shouldn’t be about stereotypes. We need to have a language about God that shows God can be expressed in lots of diverse terms.”

Percy wants to speak of God Father and God Mother. Attacking a straw man argument, she said, “Using both male and female language would get rid of the notion that God is some kind of old man in the sky.”

4. Women priests perpetuate confusion about gender.

Why draw the line at male and female language for God? On this slippery slope we may slide into casting God as transgendered or, like a crossdresser, being one gender but appearing as another. In a New York Times Opinion piece (Aug. 2016), Rabbi Mark Sameth makes a case for gender fluidity by citing examples in the Bible of male and female pronouns being exchanged or reversed. However, Sameth never claims that the God of the Hebrew Scriptures is transgender.

Jacques Derrida and others have noted that gender reversals in literature point to mystery. Derrida noted that in narratives when a gender reversal takes place, the other becomes the dominant voice. Normally, the dominant voice is that of the Male Principle/Presence, but when the reversal takes place, the Female Principle/Presence is in action. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament which explains why the Hebrew pronouns are sometimes ambiguous.

Genesis 3:15, the earliest Messianic reference in the Bible, is the most striking example of the mystery of gender reversal. The Hebrew says, “He will crush you a head and you will crush us a heel.” The subject of the verb is the third person, masculine, singular (he) and the imperfect tense of the verb indicates action yet to be completed. The suffix ך identifies the object of the verb as second person, masculine, singular (you). This would be translated as "he will crush you” and the message is directed to the serpent.

In the Vulgate, St. Jerome gives “ipsa” as the nominative feminine singular of ipse though ipsa is sometimes the nominative neuter plural. Jerome’s rendering of Genesis 3:15 reads: Inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem, et semen tuum et semen illius: ipsa conteret caput tuum, et tu insidiaberis calcaneo eius. God says to the serpent, “I will put enmities between you and the woman, between your offspring and her offspring. She will crush your head, and you will lie in wait for her heel.”

In his Commentaria in Scripturam Sacram the Jesuit priest Cornelius a Lapide (1567-1637) recognized the significance of gender reversal in the Hebrew Bible. He resolved the problem of the verb in the masculine (yashuph, conteret), citing the interplay of gender in Hebrew: the masculine being used in place of the feminine and vice-versa when there is some mystery, anomaly, or singularity. Lapide wrote, “frequent exchange of gender in Hebrew: the masculine being used in place of the feminine and vice-versa, especially when there is present some cause or mystery.”

5. Women priests represent rejection of the authority of Scripture and Tradition

The fact that the gender exchange involves only male and female indicates that the biblical view of humanity is binary, not transgender, not homosexual, and not a spectrum.

Though the interplay of male and female language in Scripture hints at the mystery of the Godhead, it does not pertain to God. In Christianity, God has self-revealed as Father of the Son, Jesus Christ. As Fr. Thomas Hopko recognized, "In his actions in and toward the world of his creation, the one God and Father reveals himself primarily and essentially in a 'masculine' way.” (Women and the Priesthood, p 240.)

The Church’s relationship to God is expressed in the language it uses in prayer and the language it uses in speaking about God. That is exactly why we preserve the biblical language for God Father and God Son. The language is not negotiable. “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.” (1 John 2:23) This is the kerygma, as John makes clear: “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:14-15)

The language of God Father and God Son is as essential to the Gospel as the dogmas of Jesus' two natures and the Trinity.

Those who applaud women priests acknowledge that women at the altar change the way we think about God. The Rev. Serene Jones, the first woman president of Union Theological Seminary, said exactly that: “When the people who are representing God, making God present, have female bodies, that inevitably changes the way you think about how God is.”

This revisionist language represents a rejection of the Bible’s authority. Setting aside the language of the Bible is preliminary to replacing holy men at the altar. Females and persons who identify as “other” claim presidency at the Eucharist. They change the traditional prayers according to their whims and dismiss the formularies of the catholic Faith. They invent narratives to work around Scripture and Tradition since they have dismissed the received Faith as sexist, patriarchal, and outdated.

6. Women priests cause confusion about the Eucharist.

When Anglicans contemplate reception of Christ's Body and Blood in the Eucharist, it is appropriate to see before them a masculine form. Likewise, in contemplation of the Annunciation and Incarnation we properly have before us an image/icon of Mary, not a masculine form. The narrative of gender equality at the altar changes the sign of His sacrifice, resurrection, and promise of immortality to the baptized. It reframes the Eucharist to avoid the reality of Jesus, the Male God. The product is sadly inferior as it resembles pagan commemorative feasts.

7. Women priests represent a denial of the Fathers’ teaching.

The invented narrative also represents a denial of the authority of the Church Fathers who urge diligence in maintaining the received Tradition. Ignatius of Antioch adjures, "Be diligent, therefore, to use one eucharist, for there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup, for union with his blood; one altar, even as there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and the deacons who are my fellow-servants, to the end that whatever ye do, ye may do it according unto God. (Philadelphians 4.1)

Women priests are evidence of the Western church’s love of innovation. Speaking against this tendency, St. Basil the Great wrote, “The dogmas of the Fathers are held in contempt, the Apostolic traditions are disdained, the churches are subject to the novelties of innovators” (Letter 90, To the Most Holy Brethren and Bishops Found in the West). The Great Schism of 1054, and the lesser fractures that produced a plethora of denominations, come from pride and innovation.

The Church Fathers have a clear consensus on the question of women and the priesthood. St. Epiphanius, in "Against Heresies" (79.304), wrote: "If women were ordained to be priests for God or to do anything canonical in the church, it should rather have been given to Mary. . . She was not even entrusted with baptizing. Although there is an order of deaconesses in the church, yet they are not appointed to function as priests, or for any administration of this kind, but so that provision may be made for the propriety of the female sex [at nude baptisms]. Whence comes the recent myth? Whence comes the pride of women or rather, the woman's insanity?"

In his treatise “On the Priesthood” (3.9) St. John Chrysostom wrote: "Divine law has excluded women from the sanctuary, but they try to thrust themselves into it."

St. Augustine, "On Heresies" (27) refers to the heretical Pepuzians mentioned by St. Epiphanius. "They give such principality to women that they even honor them with priesthood."

8. The Ordination of women to the priesthood undermines women’s ministries.

The Episcopal Church’s top-down corporate model of leadership has not encouraged lay women in local ministries. Instead, the Episcopal Church proudly elevates women to the episcopacy. In 2019, seven women were elected as diocesan or suffragan bishops. Women with leadership gifts are needed to organize and lead vital ministries in the parishes, in prisons, and to oversee outreach to the poor, elderly, and sick. They are not needed as priests and bishops, roles that isolate them from other women and from grass root ministries. The priesthood by its very nature is isolating. Women priests often feel doubly isolated from parishioners and from a church leadership that regards them as a social justice issue.

9. The feminization of the clergy discourages men’s participation in the church.

In his 1999 book The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, Leon Podles looked at attendance trends in Roman Catholic and Protestant churches and noted that the more liberal Protestant churches saw a decrease in male attendance from 47% to 40-35% between 1952 and 1986.

The trend is evident in the Church of England. In 1994, thirty-two women were ordained as priests in the Church of England. A February 2014 report in The Guardian states that between 2002 and 2012, the number of female full-time clergy increased by 41%. During the same period, the number of full-time male clergy dropped from 7,920 to 6,017.

The 2018 report reveals that the number of female clergy in the Church of England continues to rise with more women than men preparing for ordained ministry for the second year running.

From 2017 to 2018, the proportion of senior posts such as dean or bishop occupied by women rose from 23% to 25%. The figures do not include the six new female bishops in 2018, bringing the total number of female bishops in the Church of England to 24.

The 1992 decision to ordain women to the priesthood in the Church of England has been followed by the stated objective of having a 50%-50% census. To accomplish this means pushing women forward and denying some men.

Perhaps of greater importance is the number of fathers who regularly attend worship. Studies have shown that fathers are the greatest influence on whether their children also attend church. Writing on the importance of fathers in church, Robbie Low said, “To minister to a fatherless society, these churches, in their unwisdom, have produced their own single-parent family parish model in the woman priest.”

10. A female at the altar blurs the biblical distinction between life and death.

Speaking from the perspective of Biblical Anthropology, the priesthood of the Church stands in continuity with the Hebrew priesthood that was known to Abraham and his ancestors. As the author of Hebrews attests, Jesus is the perfect embodiment of that ancient priestly office (Hebrews 7:17). The priest's office is unique, deeply rooted in archaic religion, and stands as an ensign of the hope for immortality.

Anthropological research indicates that the priesthood originated among people who observed the binary distinction of male and female blood work. The priesthood is about blood sacrifice and blood covering. Consider the context of blood work in traditional societies. Men do the blood work that involves taking life: combat, hunting, and animal sacrifice. Women do the blood work that involves giving life: the monthly blood flow, and blood from the birth process.

Women were never priests because women were not permitted in the place of blood work that involves death. Likewise, men were not allowed in the birthing hut. The gender roles reflect the distinction between life and death, a distinction that God warns the covenant people not to blur. “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…” (Deuteronomy 30: 15-20). A woman at the altar represents confusion about the binary nature of blood work in the biblical context.

The blood work of Jesus, the Son of God, is unique. His work on the Cross is both condemnation to those who are perishing and life to those who are being saved (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18-21). The faithful priest is a man whose life is a testimony to the reality of the blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Conscious of Our Uniqueness as Humans

Ainu of Northern Japan

Many aboriginal peoples have a name for themselves that simply means people, humans or human beings. In Genesis 1, Adam (adamah) means human, and in Genesis 2 Adam refers to a red human.

The ancient Akkadian word ḫāpiru means human being.

The Ainu are an aboriginal people of Northern Japan and the eastern seaboard of Canada. The word Ainu means human.

The ancient metal workers of Anatolia called themselves the Nes (NS) which means humans, and their language was called Nesli. There is a linguistic connection to modern Serbian. In Serbian nas means us, naš means our, naši means our people, naški means our language.

Naxi elders in Yunnan China.

There is a Tibetan-Burmese population with the name Naxi. Naxi means "honored people."

The natives of the Aleutian islands call themselves "Anishinabe" which means "First Men" or "Original Men."

The Inuktitut word Inuit means "human beings." The Inuit are the "first people" of Baffin Island in Canada, the Northwest Territories, Greenland and Alaska.

It appears that the earliest populations self-identified as human, as distinct from other creatures. This is explicit in the story of Adam naming the animals. The Man and the animals are created from the same substance. They are formed from the earth and are earth creatures. As the story continues Adam discovers that he is unique. There is no other creature like him. He is alone until God fashions a companion for him, the woman.

Even some names given by paleoanthropologists to archaic populations work like this. For example. "Sahelanthropus tchadensis" simply means the humans of the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin.

Related reading: Adam Was a Red Man; A Kindling of Ancient Memory; Adam Named the Animals; On Blood and the Impulse to Immortality

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Adam Named the Animals

Alice C. Linsley

Genesis 2:18-23 is a delightful folk narrative about God bringing animals to Adam to name. The story does not receive much attention from Bible scholars because they are at a loss to explain the origin of this narrative.

Genesis 2 is recognized as the older of the creation stories. The context of Genesis 1 is Babylonian and much later. The context of Genesis 2 is African, and it is in African tales that we discover the purpose of this account of Adam naming the animals. African animal tales highlight social relationships and hierarchies. By giving Adam the ruler's role in naming the creatures over which he is to have dominion, God establishes a hierarchy in the order of creation.

The Man and the animals are created from the same substance. They are formed from the earth and are earth creatures. As the story continues Adam discovers that he is unique. There is no other creature like him. He is alone until God fashions a companion for him, the woman.

The woman is also unique. She is made from the man, not the soil. In a sense, the woman is the crown of creation and as such she is vulnerable. The spirit of rebellion against God's order in creation makes her his first victim. By obeying the serpent instead of God, Eve became subjected to a creature of low estate. She exchanged her crown for an abased state. The first trespass was against God's order of creation.

St. John Chrysostom wrote, "Do you see how the devil led her captive, handicapped her reasoning, and caused her to set her thoughts on goals beyond her real capabilities, in order that she might be puffed up with empty hopes and lose her hold on the advantages already accorded her?" (From here.)

The social relationships are changed. The animals under Adam's rule are part of a fallen realm. Now the whole of the creation yearns for the day of redemption. In the grand scheme of God's providence, it would be a woman's obedience that would begin the restoration of paradise. Her name is Mary and she is the Mother of Christ our God.