A Reply to Jeremy Sexton Regarding the Genealogies in Genesis -- By: Andrew E. Steinmann

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 61:1 (Mar 2018)
Article: A Reply to Jeremy Sexton Regarding the Genealogies in Genesis
Author: Andrew E. Steinmann


A Reply to Jeremy Sexton Regarding
the Genealogies in Genesis

Andrew E. Steinmann

Abstract: In his article, Jeremy Sexton offers a critique of my observations about the possibility of gaps in the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11. His critique notes several items in my presentation, but most notably, Sexton attempts to make an argument about the semantics of Hebrew causation in general and about the H (Hiphil) stem of verbs of the root ילד in particular. In this response, I demonstrate that Sexton’s analysis is flawed and involves misunderstanding of my position and false conclusions about the meaning of H (Hiphil) stem of verbs of the root ילד.

Key words: causation, causal, trigger action, undersubject, semantics

An article by Jeremy Sexton in the current issue of JETS takes issue with a recent study I published in Bibliotheca Sacra concerning my view that the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 most certainly contain gaps and cannot be used to calculate the date of the great deluge or the date of creation.1 I will not attempt to reply to everything Sexton criticizes about my analysis. Instead, I will confine myself to two less-important points followed by one major point.

I. Sexton elevates my citing of Ancient Near Eastern Chronologies to a Major Point in My Argument;
He misunderstands its significance

When taking up my arguments, the first objection Sexton raises is my citing of established ancient near Eastern chronologies that preclude the great flood of Noah from having taken place when it would have had to happen if there are no gaps in the Genesis genealogies: during the sixth dynasty of ancient Egypt according to the numbers in the MT or, if following LXX as Sexton does, during late pre-dynastic Egypt. Both Egyptian and Sumerian chronological information preclude this. Sexton treats this as if it is a major assumption of mine. In fact, in my paper it is mentioned near the end of my discussion and is not a major assumption but a supporting observation.2

More importantly, Sexton misunderstands the point. He is keen to point out that biblical interpreters have read the Genesis genealogies as gapless since before the time of Christ. However, those interpreters did not have access to the chronological data we have. My point is that we cannot know whether those interpreters

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