[b-hebrew] Assumptions about ANE ages that just don't work

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Oct 19 12:49:56 EDT 2007


 

Markus Karzelek: 
You wrote:  "It seems like even in the times of  Abraham a man being 100 
years old was really old and an 90 years old woman has  had already her menopause. 
At
least, that's what I think this text  suggests." 
1.  You are correct, but much more can be understood than  that. 
2.  The first geographical reference in the Patriarchal narratives (Genesis  
11: 28) is oddly to Ur.  Ancient Ur  was the only place on the face of the 
planet in mankind's long history that  celebrated a multi-day New Year/Akitu 
celebration every 6 months.  This peculiar early reference to Ur may  signify that 
all ages in the Patriarchal narratives are being set forth in terms  of 
6-month "years".  That instantly  makes all stated ages in the Patriarchal 
narratives (beginning at Genesis 11: 26  with the first mention of Abram) make sense. 
This analysis does not apply to any other  part of the Bible, and it does not 
apply to every stated period of years in the  Patriarchal narratives.  But it 
does  apply to every stated age of a person from Genesis 11: 26 until the end 
of  Genesis. 
3.  In the passage you cite, Abraham is almost age 50 in regular, 12-month  
years, and Sarah is almost age 45 in regular, 12-month years.  It would be 
virtually impossible, but  not absolutely or biologically impossible, for a 
45-year-old woman in the  ancient world to get pregnant and have a successful first 
birth.   
4.  All of the ages of all persons in the Patriarchal narratives make perfect 
 sense.  People did not age more  slowly in the ancient world, or in the 
Patriarchal narratives, than they do  today.  There is not a single  miraculous 
age in the Patriarchal  narratives. 
Jim  Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois 



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