Andrew E. Steinmann’s Search for Chronological Gaps in Genesis 5 and 11: a Rejoinder -- By: Jeremy Sexton

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 61:1 (Mar 2018)
Article: Andrew E. Steinmann’s Search for Chronological Gaps in Genesis 5 and 11: a Rejoinder
Author: Jeremy Sexton


Andrew E. Steinmann’s Search for Chronological Gaps in Genesis 5 and 11:
a Rejoinder

Jeremy Sexton

Abstract: Steinmann needed to show that the chronogenealogical formula throughout Genesis 5 and 11 (“When A had lived X years, he brought forth [וַיּוֹלֶד] B”) indicates not when B was born but rather when A performed the causing action that initiated the process that culminated in B’s birth. His reply, however, does not even attempt to establish this bedrock premise; he continues to treat it as self-evident. My rejoinder demonstrates that Steinmann has not successfully defended the semantics of causation that underlies his unique case for chronological gaps.

Key words: Genesis 5 and 11, chronogenealogical formula, hiphil of ילד, causative, temporal qualifier

I. STEINMANN DOES NOT BEAR HIS BURDEN

The recurring chronogenealogical formula throughout Genesis 5 and 11 is “When A had lived X years, he brought forth [וַיּוֹלֶד] B.” The causative וַיּוֹלֶד is a hiphil form of ילד “to give birth to.” I have demonstrated that genealogical gaps do not entail chronological gaps, because even if A is not B’s immediate father, the temporal qualifier “when A had lived X years” that modifies וַיּוֹלֶד still indicates how old ancestor A was when descendant B was born. The burden that Steinmann needed to bear is great. He needed to show that the temporal qualifier “when A had lived X years” indicates not how old A was when B was born but rather how old A was when he performed the triggering act that initiated the process (perhaps a millennia-long process) that culminated in B’s birth. Steinmann builds his argument for chronological gaps on this unprecedented semantic premise, one that allows him to insert as much time between A’s triggering act (the causing action) and B’s birth (the caused event) as the extrabiblical evidence requires.

The burden is great not only because Steinmann is the first to propose this particular approach to Genesis 5 and 11 but also because linguists and Hebraists agree that a causative (such as the hiphil of ילד) describes the caused event...

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