Peculiarities And Problems Of Genealogical Method And Of Text In The Book Of Chronicles -- By: Robert D. Culver

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 005:2 (Spring 1962)
Article: Peculiarities And Problems Of Genealogical Method And Of Text In The Book Of Chronicles
Author: Robert D. Culver


Peculiarities And Problems Of Genealogical
Method And Of Text In The Book Of Chronicles

Robert D. Culver, Th.D.

For about a century now or more orthodox theologians have had to wrestle with the descrepancy between the age of the human race as witnessed by the science of anthropology and as held by the current interpretations of the genealogical and chronological data of Scriptures. The conservative journals of the late 19th century carried articles on this problem as did also several Bible encyclopedias. William Henry Green’s article in Bibliotheca Sacra, April 1890, probably the most important article by a conservative on this problem yet to appear,, showed that the genealogies may not be used for exact chronological calculation. This article was adopted and quoted by James Orr and A. A. Hodge as their own solution to the problem. Numerous conservative commentaries came to similar conclusions.

Many of the men of our generation for some strange reason were trained without knowledge of these works. But now in the last ten or fifteen years these older works are occasionally cited, or their data borrowed, almost as new discoveries.

Now recently, for reasons still too painful for some to be recited here, this subject has come in for renewed attention. On my part, I had about dismissed it in favor of other interests when a course in Chronicles was assigned me, fresh after reading a doctoral thesis by a former student on a related problem. Since then, without giving the problem continuous attention, I have been collecting information on the subject, limiting myself mainly to the situation in Chronicles.

My study procedure and method in this paper are to let the Book of Chronicles speak for itself. Assuming the book to be an inspired work of the Holy Ghost written by careful, serious men of the Restoration era who were seeking to summarize the past glories of the temple and of the Davidic dynasty, I have tried to learn what the authors’ own methods and purposes were. The materials of this paper are almost wholly drawn from immediate examination of the text of Chronicles.

My conclusions will be brief. Our goal today is mainly to present some data, some of it long known to informed scholars, some of it new to me, all of it worthy of re-examination.

Peculiarities of Genealogical Method in Chronicles.

1. Previous knowledge of earlier portions of Scripture or of other pertinent information is assumed. Without it many statements are not only inexplicable but misleading.

An example is the first four verses of 1 Chronicles, a list of 13 names as follows: “Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalaleel, Jered, Henoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” A person b...

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