Primeval Chronology Restored: Revisiting The Genealogies Of Genesis 5 and 11 -- By: Jeremy Sexton

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 29:2 (Spring 2016)
Article: Primeval Chronology Restored: Revisiting The Genealogies Of Genesis 5 and 11
Author: Jeremy Sexton

Primeval Chronology Restored:
Revisiting The Genealogies Of Genesis 5 and 11

Jeremy Sexton


Henry B. Smith Jr.


For a number of years, the ABR staff has been endeavoring to conduct research on the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. As we worked toward the launching of this important project, Pastor Jeremy Sexton was independently working on a paper, now published in The Westminster Theological Journal, that is very much in accord with the direction of our research. While his article reflects many of the observations we had made in the course of our research, we give Pastor Sexton full credit for his detailed work. We also thank him for republishing his entire article on the ABR website. The article that you are reading now is primarily a reiteration of Pastor Sexton’s original essay, though the present article advances the argument by making several important contributions of its own. Page numbers in parenthetical references refer to the WTJ article, which we encourage you to read in concert with this one to contemplate the full import of our arguments. As a member of the ABR staff, I consider it a privilege to head up this project and to have Pastor Sexton make such an important contribution. ABR expects to publish many more articles on this important, ancient, and complex topic. We hope that the results will have positive ramifications in archaeology, textual criticism, anthropology, and apologetics.

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William Henry Green became the chair of Biblical and Oriental Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary when he was twenty-six years old in 1851. A strong opponent of the Documentary Hypothesis, Green published numerous books and articles on the theology and authority of the Old Testament. Primeval Chronology is perhaps his best known work, still having a significant impact on modern evangelical scholarship.

Part I: Primeval Chronology Lost

Until the latter part of the 19th century, both Jewish and Christian theologians and historiographers interpreted the genealogies of Genesis 5:3–32 and Genesis 11:10–32 as yielding a continuous chronology of human history from the creation of Adam to the birth of Abraham. Biblical chronologists had been interpreting the genealogies in Genesis as intact chronologies since before Christ (e.g., see the histories of Demetrius and Eupolemus). This ultra- majority understanding of these biblical texts held sway for ...

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