Discovering Genesis 3: The Genealogies of Genesis
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Although many find the genealogies in Genesis 4 and 5 difficult to read and comprehend, Dr. Neiman explains how both chapters, when read in their proper historical and cultural context, are in fact highly nuanced writings that reveal two different stories of origins. The first, found in Genesis 4 following the story of Cain and Abel, is the story of the origins of the Kenites, a group of wandering shepherds, metalworkers and musicians who were allied and eventually integrated with the earliest Israelites. By contrast, Genesis 5, with its repetitive list of names and exaggerated ages, is an attempt to describe the origin and rise of human civilization, from the first humans to the development of specific trades and occupations.
Dr. David Neiman (1921–2004) was professor of Jewish theology at Boston College and specialized in a broad range of fields, including archaeology, Biblical studies, Jewish history and Catholic-Jewish relations. He also organized Boston College’s Institute of Biblical Archeology and participated in nearly a dozen archaeological excavations in Israel. He was the author of Domestic Relations in Antiquity (Little Acorns Press, 1994) as well as a commentary and selected translation of the Book of Job (Massada, 1972). He also wrote several important articles for the Encyclopedia Judaica. His lectures on the Book of Genesis were delivered in 2000 at the University of Judaism in Bel Air, CA.