Gaps In The Genealogies In Genesis 5 And 11? -- By: Andrew E. Steinmann
BSac 174:694 (April-June 2017) p. 141
Gaps In The Genealogies In Genesis 5 And 11?
Andrew E. Steinmann is Distinguished Professor of Theology and Hebrew, Concordia University, Chicago, Illinois.
A handful of recent articles have argued that the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 are complete, skipping no generations. However, the major arguments they use are defective and falsifiable. The syntax of the Hiphil of ילד allows for generations to be skipped, while gaps in other Old Testament genealogies suggest that most biblical genealogies are selective. Evidence from Egyptian and Sumerian chronology indicates that the same is the case for the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11.
Despite a fairly widespread consensus among evangelical scholars that the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 must contain gaps where some generations are skipped and left unnamed, a handful of recent articles have sought to argue that the genealogies probably contain no gaps.1 That is, they are complete
BSac 174:694 (April-June 2017) p. 142
and move from father to son; they do not skip over generations. From this conclusion, Tanner uses the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 to calculate the date of the great deluge (Gen. 7-8) at 2543 BC ± 25 years and the date of creation as 4199 BC ± 25 years, and others give similar estimates.2
This article argues that the advocates of gapless, complete genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 employ several defective arguments that effectively undermine their conclusion. Rather, the evidence indicates that the genealogies of Genesis 5 and Genesis 11 are indeed selective and do not include every generation. In fact, in some cases multiple generations may be left unmentioned.
At the outset, it ought to be noted that these authors who advocate for complete genealogies make some tendentious statements in order to buttress their arguments. For instance, Tanner states that Wenham is “hesitant to embrace the idea of gaps” in the
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