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

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Sun Oct 21 22:12:25 EDT 2007

Not ALL OF US don't believe that the ages in Bereishit are correct.

Also I don't think it is accurate that the Torah mentioned these ages 
of only a select few individuals who lived hundreds of years (I think 
someone on this list mentioned this).

The first men, the Nefilim, were giants and had lifespans of nearly 
1000 years, but they were physically too strong, at the expense of 
their spiritual selves.  The remedy was to reduce their lifespans and 
physical strength.

So in Bereishit 6:3, G-d tells us of His plan to reduce the human 
lifespan to 120 years.

And He did it gradually.  Noach's son, Shem, lived 350 years less 
than Noach, and his son, Arphaxad, lived less than he.  By the time 
of Avraham, the tenth generation after Noach, the lifespan had 
dropped to 175 years with Yaakov living 147 years.  After that it 
dropped to 70 years, with exceptions that approach 120 years.

So Sarah at 90 years was old - even too old to bear children, and the 
reason for her beauty at that age, was that she became beautiful as a 
result of G-d's angels communicating to her, just as the Midrash 
tells us that Queen Esther, when she approached Achashverosh without 
his summoning her, at great danger to herself, had angels accompany 
her when she went in to see him, and cause her to be irresistably 
beautiful to him, otherwise, he could have been angry enough to have 
her killed.


What are the presuppositions/assumptions being applied that would 
justify taking
the ages = season? It appears that just because we do not believe that the ages
in Genesis are correct because "no one could live that long" does not
necessarily mean that that is so. The ages mentioned are in the text. There is
NO justification or evidence to prove that they are incorrect. Furthermore,
since Moses wrote it that way, and he was closer to the source(s) than any of
us, then it would be wise not to contradict him especially in comparison to the
Sumerian Kings List.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message -----
From: "Yaakov Stein" <yaakov_s at rad.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2007 10:25 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Assumptions about ANE ages that just don't work.

> James,
> > Abram's father dies at the age of 205. That's three times greater than
> > modern life expectancy. It is therefore safe to assume that Te'rah
> aged
> > three times slower than modern humans. And so if a modern human would
> be in
> > his prime until 30 Terah would have been in his prime until he was
> about 90.
> Is a factor of three needed, or is a factor of two enough ?
> Terah could dies at the old age of 205/2 = 102,
> and Abraham at 75/2 = 35 took off from Haran.
> The reason I mention that 2 is enough,
> is that I believe that in this part of Genesis
> the counting is by seasons, rather than years.
> In Israel there are two seasons, namely the wet season and the dry
> season.
> They both commence with a "new year" celebration,
> the Tishri new year and the Nissan one.
> One can speculate that there was an early period when each season was
> counted,
> and only later, with more sophisticated astronomical knowledge,
> did the transition to our years occur.
> At an even earlier period, time was counted by months,
> which would explain Methuselah's 969 / 12 = 80 !
> If you think about it, the idea of a year being the time it takes
> for the sun to revolve around the earth (or the other way around for the
> ancients)
> is a rather sophisticated one. The first thing a group of shepherds
> would notice
> would be the month (the menstrual cycle, the moon coming up over the
> same hill).
> Later, when agriculture becomes important, the season is more critical.
> Finally, with more culture and time on their hands to develop an
> astronomy,
> the idea of a full year (the setting sun returning to the same place
> with respect
> to the stars) becomes obvious.
> Yaakov (J) Stein
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