Dating Genesis, Madai & Japheth

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Sun Dec 5 23:31:57 EST 1999

Just a few more points concerning your "A rebuttal to Peter Kirk's 


WM: Does the order of names in Genesis automatically mean the first 
name is always the first born or is this an assumption on your part ?

PK: Well, it suggests that the author wanted to present them in some 
sort of order of importance even if not literally intended as order of 
birth. On your theory I would expect to see Madai at the head of the 
list, as the first named son of Japheth.


WM: Lud is generally understood to be Lydia (Neo-Assyrian Luddu), and 
it is listed by Genesis as Semitic not Japhethic, so, not "all" 
nations in the mountains were Japheth's descendants.

PK: This exception, with the Ludites listed as descendants of Mizraim, 
doubtless reflects a tradition that the Lydians came from Egypt.


WM: ... We no longer need to fall back on the generality that all 
northern mountain peoples must be Japhethic to account for Madai's 
Japhethic descent.

PK: We now have an alternative theory, but no way of disproving the 
old one.

> Also the Greek myth could have been dependent on forms of Genesis or
> something similar to it, which could have made their way to Athens 
> this time.

WM: My research suggests that Genesis does indeed share certain motifs 
with Homeric and Hesiodic myths (cf. my Smoking Guns paper, available 
as an e-mail attachment). To say that the Greeks had to have had some 
kind of knowledge of the bible, implying Genesis' influence on these 
people is not a line of reasoning I can accept. I prefer to see Jews 
in the Medo-Persian court, exposed to Greek ideas via Greek merchants, 
physicians, mercenaries, Greek Satraps, ambassadors and spies, 
introducing court Jews like Ezra and Nehemiah to Greek concepts.

PK: This "I prefer" sounds rather subjective. It is well known that 
there was Canaanite/Phoenician influence on Greece at an early stage, 
most notably with the alphabet, so surely Canaanite myths could have 
made their way to Greece, or vice versa for that matter, long before 
the Persian period. And surely one quite plausible source for a 
tradition that developed around 590 BC in Athens would be Judean 
refugees who fled westwards from the Babylonian invasion in 597/6 BC, 
bringing with them, if not biblical texts at least some knowledge of 
the traditions behind them.

Peter Kirk

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