APPENDIX A: A First Century Genesis?

There are earlier copies of the book of Genesis that have been preserved in the Greek Septuagint, and the Samaritan Penteteuch.  One of these probably has a similar reading to the version that the Apostle Paul and Josephus would have been acquainted with in the first century.  Are these any closer to the original than our own modern version that was standardized around 1000 AD by the Masoretes who had been working on it in the earlier 8th and 9th centuries?
   The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran have made us aware that diversity, more so than uniformity, was the norm in Biblical texts before Jesus and the Christian movement that followed after, and there may have been other versions of Genesis that existed through time of which we might not even be aware of.  It is important to realize that Jesus did not have one single authorized copy of a certain book to go by, and that Genesis is no exception to the rule.
   In comparing the numbers between different versions, it becomes apparent that they are not the same.  Especially the ages of the fathers at the births of the first sons between Shem and Terah shows some differences:
  35 +  30 +   34 +  30 +  32 +   30 + 29 = 220
 135 + 130 + 134 + 130 + 132 + 130 + 79 = 870
Add to these totals the age of Terah at the birth of Abram of 130.
  In the second row of numbers from the Septuagint, for example, the first 1100 years between Noah to the end of Shem’s line at 600 are the same (500 + 100 + 135 + 130 + 134 + 101 = 1100),  but it ends 29 yrs before the birth of Peleg instead of at the predicted death of Lot involved in the first row of numbers from our later version.   Then comes an additional 500 years before the birth of Abraham (29 + 132 + 130 + 79 + 130 = 500) for a total of  1600 years, or 40 x 40.  In mathematical terminology, a number multiplied by itself constitutes a perfect square.  Another 500 years passes before the Exodus for a total of 2100 years according to Paul’s information that Abraham was about 70 years of age when he received the promise in Ur.  About five years later, at age 75, he leaves Haran after the death of his father, with his family members spending the next 210 years in Canaan, with another 215 years spent in exile in Egypt, for a total of 430 years from the promise.  The Septuagint specifically states both Canaan and Egypt, whereas the Masoretic version leaves out the word Canaan and only mentions 430 years in Egypt, an obvious error.  The span between Adam and the birth of Noah is also longer at 1662 years instead of 1056.  Those are the major differences, but should it be considered the original just because of them?
   Three other studies on Genesis may be of interest to anyone who wants to investigate the issues further.
    Philippe Guillaume in “Land and Calendar: The Priestly Document from Genesis 1 to Joshua 18”, published in 2009, focuses on the P document that uses the Sabbatical calendar that is known to have contained 364 days, or 52 weeks. The book of Enoch in 3 BCE also used this calendar and it was known by the Dead Sea Scrolls community as well.  Each week within this calendar had exactly seven days as the basic unit.  To get the calendar to match the solar one (365.25 days), it  intercalated an additional week at the end of every 7 years so that the final year had 53 weeks, and another week was added at the end of 28 years.  In a cycle of 175 years, the number of weeks was 9131, or 25 cycles of 7 years with the last cycle being a partial cycle of 28.
   The period from the leaving from Haran by Abraham to the setting up of the Tabernacle (“Residence”) at the end of the book of Exodus being 700 years is an example of the use of a sabbatical calendar.  This would be 4 cycles of 175 years, or 36524 + 1 = 36525 weeks.  This is equal to 365.25 days per year.  That seems to make this the best choice for being the original, with a translation of the P text included in Philippe’s study.  I should also mention that the flood period in this version is 36 weeks (6 x 6 x 7) or 252 days followed by 7 months of indeterminate days because no weeks are given for it.
   It should be a surprise to no one that Paul in his first century comments in the New Testament writings sides with the Septuagint version of Genesis over the P docs because he is, after all, a self-professed Jewish heretic. But it still seems odd that there are so many versions of Genesis out there and no one can really explain what it all means.  The only logical answer to this puzzling situation is that it was not originally intended to be completely understood, but to serve another purpose that was hidden in the text as I have attempted to unravel in my study.
   It is doubtful that a 28 years cycle existed during the supposed time of the Exodus in 1400 BCE.  It was not until around 1000 BCE that the Babylonians had discovered the 8 years luni-solar cycle.  The interpretation of the 700 years was only made possible by the discovery of the P documents and the book of Enoch.  Paul may not have been aware of these in the first century AD, and based his opinions on what was available.
   Another calendar study is found in Chapter 24, How He Ordered the Year, in “The Nazarene Gospel Restored”, by Robert Graves and Joshua Podro, Doubleday & Co., 1954. Jesus the Nazarene, in the parable of multiplying the loaves and fishes in all four Gospels, is giving the order of years in Moses of 365 days per year, of either 360 days in 12 mos of 30 + 5 days, or 13 mos of 28 days for 364 days + 1.
    A third study, “The Redaction of Genesis” by Gary A. Rendsburg,  Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana, 1986. builds the case for the book of Genesis being wisdom literature authored sometime later during the reigns of Kings David and Solomon rather than earlier dating of the Exile and Exodus in Moses.  The proof revolves around the promise made to Abraham in terms of lands that only occurred at one time in Israel’s history.  This would place Genesis beside other Biblical wisdom books such as Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.  The problem with this view is that Genesis is the source material for the long narrative on Abraham, and Abraham is mentioned in other books credited to Moses.


One Hell of a Flood!: Exploring 3D Math through Genesis Numberology Copyright © by deadletters. All Rights Reserved.

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