Sunday, December 21, 2014

When is the Evidence Sufficient?

Alice C. Linsley

I recently had a conversation with a man named Toshio who wanted to know how I came to the conclusion that Abraham was a descendant of Nimrod. He was not satisfied by my answers.

Toshio wants me to show him where in the Bible it says that Abraham is a descendant of Nimrod. He will not be satisfied unless I can cite chapter and verse. This highlights a common misconception about the biblical king lists, mistakenly called "genealogies." They do not represent simple linear descent from a ruling male to a group of descendants. These are lists of rulers in succession and they present a complex kinship pattern. Analysis of the Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36 data reveals a distinctive marriage and ascendancy pattern among Abraham's Hebrew people. 

The complexity of the pattern indicates an authentic pattern. The fact that the pattern of marriage and ascendancy can be traced from Genesis to the New Testament adds weight to the theory that the biblical Hebrew married only within their lines (endogamy). Because of the practice of endogamy, Abraham must be recognized as a descendant of both Cain and Seth (whose lines intermarried), and a descendant of both Ham and Shem (whose lines intermarried).

Moving more directly to Toshio's concern...

Korah was born to Amram and his cousin wife Ishara. Ishara named their son "Korah" after her father, Korah the Elder. 1 Chronicles 23:18 says that Shelomith was Ishara's first son. As "Korah" is a title, it is possible that Moses' half-brother was named Shelomith.

Ishara is a Hittite word meaning "promise" or "binding oath." The Hittites are related to Heth of Kiriath Arba (Hebron) where Sarah lived. Hebron was part of ancient Edom in Abraham's time.

In 1 Chronicles 23:18, Ishara/Ishar is named as a chief. 

Izhar/Ishar is mentioned in Numbers 16:1. It is generally held that Ishar is a male, but some believe that name to be linked to the Hebrew isha, meaning "woman." Other females are listed as clan chiefs in the Old Testament. Anah is listed as a Horite Hebrew chief in Genesis 36. She and Ishara were descendants of Seir the Horite.

Note the pattern of two wives. Note also that Ishar/Ishara was the cousin bride. Only the cousin bride named her first born son after her father. The cousin bride's naming prerogative is first found among the Proto-Saharan rulers listed in Genesis 4 and 5. It is the necessary piece of information for those who want to understand the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the biblical Hebrew.

Genesis 10 listed Nimrod as a son of Kush/Cush. He was a sent-away son like Abraham, Moses, Jacob, David and Jesus Christ. It is to the sent-away sons that God delivers a kingdom. These sons are the heroes of biblical history. Nimrod was such a son. He was not the proper heir to the throne of Kush. Nimrod and his brother Ramah (Gen. 10:6-12) established territories to the east of Kush (the Upper Nile). Ramah ruled in Southern Arabia. Nimrod built his cities in Mesopotamia. Nimrod's movement represents the Kushite migration out of the Nile Valley, something that has been confirmed by DNA studies and by evidence in other sciences. This migration of the Kushite rulers out of Africa was driven by their marriage and ascendancy pattern.

Linguistically, the language of Nimrod's kingdom - Akkadian - has close affinity to Hebrew and the languages of the Nile Valley, as has been demonstrated by Christopher Ehret. Ehret recognizes that cattle were domesticated in Sudan as early as 9000 year ago. These cattle-herding Proto-Saharan or Saharo-Nubian peoples were among Abraham's ancestors. Cattle were a source of wealth, and a sacred symbol was the Sun resting in the long horns of the bull. 

Analysis of the Lamech segment shows that the lines of Cain and Seth intermarried, which means that Abraham is a descendant of both rulers. The lines of Ham and Shem intermarried also, which means that Abraham is a descendant of both those rulers.

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's ancestors reveals a consistent pattern for the ruler who ascends to the throne. That pattern applies to Lamech the Elder, Nahor the Elder, Terah, Esau the Elder, Amram, and others. The pattern involves marriage to two wives.

The pattern also involves endogamy. The Hebrew married within their clan or between their clans. The lines of Cain and Seth intermarried. The lines of Ham and Shem intermarried. The lines of Nahor and Abraham intermarried.

Toshia's second concern was that I cannot cite chapter and verse that says Nimrod married the daughter of Asshur. Perhaps he is a Bible "literalist" who accepts as true only what is explicitly stated. If this is true, the science of kinship analysis means nothing to him, and the science of Biblical Anthropology offers nothing of value. 

To delve deeper into the text, it helps to understand the relationships of the biblical rulers, priests and clans. This requires gaining a clearer understanding of their kinship pattern and their marriage and ascendancy pattern. The data is found in the Bible. I apply the tools of cultural anthropology to the biblical texts. Biblical Anthropology employs reliable methods and principles.

As a biblical anthropologist, I must consider the data that is available. Taken as a whole, after many years of research, there is sufficient evidence of a distinctive Horite Hebrew marriage and ascendancy pattern throughout the Bible.

Science require observation of details and record keeping, and there is always the possibility that the next experiment might not provide the same results or conform to the hypothesis as did earlier experiments.

This radical doubt poses a problem for scientists. It means that the scientific method cannot be said to ascertain beyond doubt. This is Hume's problem of induction. Inductive methods predict or infer and are essential in scientific reasoning. One cannot assume that something is immutable and necessary because it has always or usually been reliable in the past. Though 20 experiments produce the same results, we have no certainty that the results will be the same after experiments 21, or 32 or 45. Though the sun has risen daily since the founding of our solar system, we have no certainty that it will always do so.

In 1953, Richard Rudner published “The Scientist qua Scientist Makes Value Judgments,” in which he argued that since no hypothesis is ever completely verified, in accepting a hypothesis the scientist must make the decision that the evidence is sufficiently strong to warrant the acceptance of the hypothesis. The problem of induction which David Hume framed so precisely is really a problem of decision about which action to take, not proof of the fallibility of science in general.

I assure my readers and Toshio that I have not tried to impose on the text something that is not there. My method is to begin with the biblical text, trusting that it is reliable and truthful. Indeed, that is my working hypothesis.

Related reading: Understanding the Science of Biblical AnthropologyHorned Altars and Horned Sacred Vessels; Horite Hebrew Rulers With Two WivesKushite Kings and the Kingdom of God; Nimrod Was a Nilo-Saharan Ruler; The Kushite Marriage Pattern Drove the Kushite Expansion; The Genesis King Lists; DNA Research Confirms Kushite Migration


DManA said...

Is Asshur the patriarch of Assyria?

Was Jonah preaching to his cousins in Nineveh?

Alice C. Linsley said...

The Asshur in the diagram lived long before the Assyrian Empire. The name Asshur or Ash-ur is a royal title. It means the "throne of Ur."

All the royal houses in the ancient world from the Nile to the Tigris-Euphrates Valley to Southern India were related by blood and/or marriage.

The story of Jonah pertains to a later time than Asshur also, but that's an interesting question!

Anonymous said...

There was this hint that Abraham was a descendant of Ham. Just take a look at Abraham's name. Abra-HAM

Alice C. Linsley said...

Lots of speculation as to the meaning of Biblical names. How about this?

ab - father
ra - Creator
h'am - the people

DManA said...

I'm struggling to understand how Jesus fits your "sent away son" pattern.

A. He was for sure the eldest son.
B. He might have been an only child (had to be in Roman Catholic dogma).
C. His parents were ordinary people and not rulers.

Alice C. Linsley said...

God sent His only Begotten Son. Merry Christmas!

Alice C. Linsley said...

who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.… (Phil. 2:6-8)

This is how Jesus Christ won his eternal kingdom!