Genesis 5 And 11b — From Moses Or Mesopotamia? -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 01:3 (Summer 1972)
Article: Genesis 5 And 11b — From Moses Or Mesopotamia?
Author: Anonymous

Genesis 5 And 11b — From Moses Or Mesopotamia?

Moses, according to tradition, was the compiler of the first five books of the Bible. Jesus recognized him as the author of “the law” (Luke 24:27 and 44), which was the first five books of the Bible according to the Jewish division of the Old Testament. The New Testament makes it clear that Moses was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as he wrote these early books for “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21).

Many scholars and theologians take issue with this view. The discovery of ancient Mesopotamian literature dealing with creation and the flood has given rise to the theory that the early chapters of Genesis were derived from Babylonian sources. Within the last few years, however, as scholars have taken a closer look, opinion is changing according to a recent article by Dr. Thomas C. Hartman of the University of Wisconsin.

The latest comprehensive work on Genesis is a translation and analysis by the late E.A. Speiser for the ANCHOR BIBLE (Volume 1, 1964). The ANCHOR BIBLE is a new translation which attempts to make available all the significant historical and linguistic knowledge which bears on the interpretation of the Biblical record. According to Hartman, Speiser presented a “cautious and judicious view” with regard to the connection between Genesis and Mesopotamian accounts.

Another example is a paper entitled “A New Look at the Babylonian Background of Genesis” by scholar W.D. Lambert (JOURNAL OF THEOLOGICAL STUDIES, Volume 16, 1965). In it, Hartman says, “Lambert calls for a total reconsideration of the Babylonian background for this book”.

In his own article, Dr. Hartman discusses the relationship between the Sumerian King List and Genesis 5 and 11b. Because of a number of similarities between the geneological lists in Genesis 5 and 11b and the Sumerian King List, scholars have claimed that the Biblical lists were based on the King list.

The Sumerian King List records the rulers of ancient Sumer in Mesopotamia, prior to and following the flood. It has been invaluable in reconstructing the history of Sumer, one of the earliest civilizations of mankind. Historians have determined that the list was first compiled between 2250 and 2000 B.C. This considerably predates Moses, who lived around 1400 B.C.

Several copies, and portions of copies, of the list have been found over the years....

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