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If we add the figures, we find that the antediluvian period, according to the Hebrew-Latin text, is 1656 years ; according to the Samaritan, 1307 ; according to the Greek, 2262 ; the period between the Deluge and the birth of Terah, Abraham's father, is, according to the Hebrew text, 222 ; according to the Samaritan, 872; according to the Greek, 1102 years. According to the Septuagint, therefore, the period from the Deluge down to Abraham is about 1000 years longer than it is according to the Hebrew and Latin texts. Looked at from a critical and exegetical point of view, the figures of the Septuagint ought not, I think, to be preferred to those of the Hebrew text; they rather show plainly that they are freaks of the Greek translator. But, for all that, I should not like to vouch for the integrity of the Hebrew text in this chapter. It consists almost entirely of names and dates, and even before the Greek translation was made several names and figures may have fallen out, and the genealogical tables may thus have originally been longer, and have been shortened by transcribers to the nine or ten names given in our present text. However sure we may be that no errors which could in any way darken revelation and religious truth can have crept into the text of the Holy Scriptures, we may unhesitatingly say with Valroger, “ The genealogies of the patriarchs were no doubt originally complete ; but it is possible that many transcribers may have shortened them, perhaps unwittingly, perhaps in order to have symmetrical and more easily preserved lists. Other genealogical tables have been shortened in different books of the Old and New Testaments. It is only necessary to read the fifth and eleventh chapters of Genesis to see that the repeated transcription of many monotonous statements could hardly take place without oversights and errors. But it was not necessary for God to work a miracle in order to preserve the exact figures of the patriarchal generations in all the copies of the different texts. These details were, no doubt, not without interest in the time of Moses; but the salvation of the world did not depend on their being preserved. Whole books of Jewish literature, which are quoted in the Old Testament, have been lost. How much more possible was it that a few chronological statements, a few fragments of the patriarchal genealogies, should disappear from the books which have been preserved in the Old Testament, and that this should happen without in any way injuring the moral and religious importance of the history.” 1
1 E. Preuss, Die Chronologie der Septuaginta, Berlin 1859, p. 37. Speaking about the variations in the genealogical tables of Genesis found in the Septuagint, he says: “It struck the Alexandrian Fathers as unnatural that the patriarchs should have begotten children at an age which on an average was only the ninth part of their whole existence. It seemed just as absurd as to assert that in their time a boy of nine years old had had a son. They chose an obvious mode of escape from this dilemma. It was not even necessary to change the figures, but only to alter their division. Where the text said that more than 150 years had elapsed before a child was begotten, they left it untouched. If the text gave less, they added 100 years to the time it mentioned, which they then deducted from the period after the conception of the child. Adam begat Seth in his 130th year, from that time to his death 800 years elapsed. Instead of 130 + 800, the Septuagint has 230 + 700.” See also S. Augustine, Civ. Dei, xv. 13, but he ascribes the alteration to the copyist, not to the translator. Dillmann, Genesis, pp. 123, 219, differs on this 1 L'âge du monde, p. 70. Revue, i. c. p. 281. See also Bishop Harold Browne in Speaker's Commentary, i. 64.
the eleventh chapter of Genesis are the only materials we have for the computation of the time between the Deluge and Abraham. If, therefore, on considering the extension of mankind and the formation of the different races, and also the results of historical and geological inquiry, it appears that 300 years is too short a time, even a theologian with the strictest exegetical principles “need not,” to use Delitzsch's words,? “ with apologetic prejudice struggle against any disparagement of the chronological network of Genesis,”
-a disparagement based on an assumed corruption of the text, which from a theological point of view is quite immaterial.
But if we may assume that the period between the Flood and Abraham was longer than the figures in the eleventh chapter of the Hebrew text seem to show, it will not be impossible to harmonize the chronology of theologians and historians. For it is admitted by all thoughtful men of science, that the accounts of long periods of time which occur in the histories of many ancient peoples, the Indians, Chinese, Babylonians, etc., rest on fantastic exaggerations, and at any rate cannot be compared to the Biblical record so far as trustworthiness is concerned. The only people of whom scholars acknowledge that its credibly recorded history reaches farther back than is consistent with the traditional Biblical chronology, is the Egyptian nation. But even here we have as yet no certain results, and if modern Egyptologists put the beginning of Egyptian
i See above, p. 241.
? Genesis, p. 184. Cf. p. 272. 3 Wiseman, On the Connection, etc. ii. 4. Meignan, Le monde, p. i Cf. W. Fell, “Die neuesten Forschungen auf dem Gebiete der altägyptischen Geschichte und Chronologie," in the Chilianeum N. F. i. 1869, p. 73.
history at about the year 3900 B.C.,' this date, at any rate, is much more in harmony with the Biblical chronology than are the 100,000 years for which many assert that, according to geology, man must have existed on the earth.
Let us therefore put aside the question of how many thousands of years the human race has existed on the earth according to the statements in the Bible, or the calculations of Egyptologists, and let us state the question which will be discussed in the next lecture in this form : Has geology proved that the human race has existed for much more than 6000 years ?
THE ANTIQUITY OF THE HUMAN RACE.
GENERALLY speaking, geologists give us only relative and not absolute calculations of time, that is, they decide which is the oldest or most recent of several formations, but not exactly how old each is. For instance, they say that the Carboniferous system is older than the Triassic, and the latter older than the Oolite ; but they do not know how many thousands of years each of these formations is older than the succeeding one, or by how many thousand years any of them has preceded the present day. Its chronology therefore is as if in a handbook of history we were only told that Julius Cæsar, Charlemagne, and Napoleon followed one another in the order in which they are named, without any mention of the intervals that occurred between these men, and between them and the present time." If, then, we ask what is the age of man in this relative sense, geologists unanimously answer, he is the most recent creature on the earth; he appeared later than the animals, in one of the latest of the geological periods. This agrees with the narrative in Genesis, according to which the creation of man concluded the work of the six days.
1 B. Cotta, Geologische Fragen, p. 228. Geologie der Gegenwart, p. 232.
2 “Sacred history and geological truth both prove that man is a recent creature on the earth.”—Leonhard, Geologie, i. 282.