Monday, January 17, 2011

Biblical Anthropology and Antecedents

Alice C. Linsley

Evangelicals struggle to find Jesus Christ in Genesis, but young Jews mostly get it!

The Evangelicals say they believe biblical propositions but have trouble accepting the Nilotic antecedents of Abraham's ancestors, though Genesis tells us explicitly that one of Abraham's ancestors was Kush.

The young Jews note that both traditions concerning Messiah have Him born of lines that have non-Jewish mothers. This is troubling, since Jewishness is traced through the mother. It is more troubling that the Messiah is foreshadowed in Nilotic mythology long before we can speak of a people called Jews. 

Both groups are struggling with the question of antecedents, which is the special focus of biblical anthropology. Both groups rely on interpretations from rabbis, pastors, talmud and commentaries. Biblical anthropologists work with data and details, cutting through layers of often conflicting interpretations to reconstruct as accurately as possible the culture traits, beliefs and practices of Abraham's people. The focus of my research is primarily Abraham's ancestors who came out of the Nile region.

David Noel Freedman once said: “The Hebrew Bible is the one artifact from antiquity that not only maintained its integrity but continues to have a vital, powerful effect thousands of years later.”

The Bible is a miraculous book, clearly superintended through the centuries by the LORD. This is especially evident in the analysis of the kinship pattern of the priestly lines from Genesis 4-5 to Joseph, of the priestly line of Mattai, and Mary, daughter of the priest Joachim. The kinship pattern is unique and consistent throughout the Bible, proving that the priestly lines exclusively intermarried according to the pattern first found among Abraham's Kushite ancestors. This kinship pattern could not have been written back into the texts at a late date. It is the thread that weaves throughout the Bible, like the scarlet cord, from beginning to end.

The Bible is a reliable and useful resource for anthropologists, just as it is for biblical archaeologists. But when it comes to antecedents, we have to keep an open mind. We can't force data into a preconceived interpretation. Doing so represents very poor stewardship of God's Word.

Related reading:  God's Word Never Fails


Matthew the Curmudgeon said...

I was told by a Rabbi and I also read somewhere that the 'matrilineal' line to prove Jewishness was post first temple destruction to exclude those we now call Samaritans. It was reinforced after the destruction of the second temple. I believe the 'patrilineal' line is the correct one because in that time the Hebrew/Israelite/Judahite people intermarried.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Jewishness is defined in two ways. You are a Jew if your mother is a Jew. You are Jew if you properly convert. This is what the rabbis teach.

The kinship pattern of the rulers listed in the Genesis genealogies shows two lines of descent. One is traced through the cousin/niece bride who named her first-born son after her father. Example: Namaah, Lamech the Elder's daughter,(Gen. 4) married her patrilineal cousin Methuselah (Gen. 5) and named their first-born son Lamech. This pattern, which I call the "cousin bride's naming prerogative," is found with the names Joktan, Sheba and Esau, among others.

The other line of descent is traced through the first-born son of the half-sister bride, as Sarah was to Abraham. The ruler-priest lines of the two first-born sons intermarried, thus preserving the bloodline of those to whom God made the promise that a woman of their people would bring forth the Seed who would crush the serpent's head and restore Paradise.

Georgia said...

Where are Mary Mother of Jesus' parents named in Scripture? I haven't been able to find it.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Mary's mother was Ana and her father Joachim. This is known by Holy Tradition. They are the righteous ancestors remembered by the earliest Christians, whose testimony has been passed out through the centuries.

The Gospel according to Matthew tells us that Joseph is ofthe priestly line of Mattai (also spelled Matthan). See Matt. 1:15.