Saturday, November 12, 2011

Is it Possible to Speak of the Proto-Gospel?

Alice C. Linsley

Just Genesis presents an "anthropological sleuthing of pre-Abrahamic origins." The significance of my research is that I have identified the marriage and ascendency pattern of Abraham's Horite caste and have demonstrated that this pattern drove Kushite expansion and the diffusion of the expectation of the coming of the Son of God. This expectation can be traced back to the first promise and prophecy of Scripture - Genesis 3:15 - given to Abraham's Nilotic ancestors.

I want to thank the faithful readers of Just Genesis. You have been an excellent sounding board as I have pursued the research on Abraham and  the Horim.  I appreciate that you have come to recognize the unique nature of this blog. Among all the blogs on creation and evolution, Just Genesis

  • takes an anthropological approach to the study of Genesis
  • acknowledges the great age of the earth and of human existence
  • rejects aspects of Darwinian theory that lack material evidence
  • asserts that Genesis interprets itself on questions of origins
  • shows that the first verifiably historical persons in Genesis are kings listed in Genesis 4 and 5
  • examines the material in its original cultural context, that of ancient Nilotic peoples
  • argues that Genesis isn't about human origins as much as it is about the origin of Messianic expectation among Abraham's ancestors

About one-quarter of Genesis is the story of God’s dealings with Abraham and his ancestors (chapter 1-12). The other chapters deal with Abraham's descendants before the establishment of Israel. Because this is so, we must recognize that the promise concerning the coming of the Seed of God by the Woman (Gen. 3:15) does not originate with the Jews. It is much older. The expectation was preserved by Abraham's ancestors to whom the promise was first made in Eden, a well-watered region that extended from the Nile to the Tigris-Euphrates Valley.

The bulk of my research focuses on the first quarter of the book, material that is often dismissed as non-historical or simply ignored. Using the tools of cultural anthropology, I'm working to uncover antecedents of the religious life of Abraham's people. This involves looking for patterns and analysis of the genealogical data. The oldest culture traits or patterns are those that are the most widely diffused geographically.

All the articles at Just Genesis are listed by topic and alphabetically arranged in the INDEX. Articles on Biblical Anthropology can be found at my other blog by that name.

Patterns observed through the lens of Anthropology

To understand the Bible's overarching theme and trajectory, we must look for patterns that first appear in Genesis. In this sense, Genesis is foundational to a proper understanding of the whole Bible. Often the patterns are more evident when we focus on the women because blood lines were traced through the mothers, as is true today in Judaism. In the ancient Afro-Asiatic world, one's social status (caste) came from one's father, but one's ethnicity came from one's mother. So it is peculiar that Abraham's mother is not mentioned in the Bible. When we exlpore her identity, we find the suggestion that Abraham was the son of a hign-ranking woman whose father was a Horite priest. According to the Babylonian Talmud, Abraham's maternal grandfather's name was Karnevo, a name associated with the Horus temple at Karnak.

The Genesis king lists help us to understand the Bible's purpose and what we might call the "proto-Gospel" or the pattern upon which the prophets reflected and whereby Jesus would be identified as the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15.  From beginning to end, the Bible is about the royal ancestry of Jesus Christ. It is possible to trace His ancestry because of the cousin bride's naming prerogative, whereby the cousin or niece bride named her first-born son after her father. This is why there are multiple rulers with the same name. There is Lamech the Elder, who bragged to his two wives, and there is his grandson, Lamech the Younger, the first-born of Methuselah by Lamech's daughter, Naamah. There is Esau the Elder and his grandson, Esau, the brother of Jacob. Esau the Elder was a contemporary of Seir the Horite and their lines intermarried. Esau the Younger, Jacob's brother, married Seir's great-great granddaughter, Oholibamah.

The cousin-bride's naming prerogative is found from Genesis 4 to Numbers and beyond, so it is not coincidental, but characteristic of the unique marriage pattern of the rulers of Abraham's people. Scholars like Noth, Albright, Speiser, etc. concluded that Genesis 4 and Genesis 5 represent different oral or textual traditions of the same ruling line. This is NOT what the Bible claims, however, and I take the Bible's claims very seriously. Genesis claims that the rulers listed in Genesis 4 are the descendants of Cain and those listed in Genesis 5 are the descendants of Seth. The correspondence of names (Enoch/Enosh, Kain/Kenan, Irad/Jared, Lamech/Lamech, etc) between the two lists has to do with the cousin-bride's naming prerogative, something that I discovered about 20 years ago.

All of the men listed in Genesis 4 and 5 are rulers who had two wives. One wife was a half-sister (as Sarah was to Abraham) and the other was either a patrilineal cousin or a niece (As Keturah was to Abraham). The cousin bride named her first-born son after her father because this son would ascend to the thorne of his maternal grandfather. So Lamech's daughter, Naamah married Methuselah, her patrilineal cousin or uncle and named their first born son Lamech, because this son of Methuselah would rule over Lamech the elder's territory, not over Methuselah's territory. This is what Claude Lévi-Strauss discovered in his studies of primitive peoples (1949). He noted that in a patrilineal system, mother and son do not belong to the same clan.

This is only part of the picture, however.  Since the marriage and ascendency pattern of Abraham's people involved two wives and two firstborn sons, their is an element which Lévi-Strauss did not address: the maternal line of the cosuin or niece wife.  Her firstborn son ascended to the throne of her father, as whom she named her son.

The cultural patterns of the ancient Afro-Asiatics in general, and the Horite priest caste in particular, are reflected in Genesis, one of their many lasting contributions to the world. In my 33+ years of research on Genesis, I've discovered many traits of the ancient Afro-Asiatic worldview, established the binary nature of their cosmology, clarified the relationship between the Horites, the Jebusites, and the Dedanites, demonstrated the historical accuracy of the Kushite migration and kingdom-building, and identified the kinship pattern of Abraham and his ancestors, a pattern that continued until the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Having fulfilled its purpose, the pattern ceased soon after the time of Jesus. The rulers of the Sanhedrin, for example, lost control with the destruction of the Temple and the double ascent pattern of two firstborn sons by two wives disappeared among the Jews.

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