Primeval Chronology Restored: Revisiting the Genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11

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This article is part of ongoing research for The Genesis 5 and 11 Research Project. It was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of Bible and Spade.

Excerpt Until the latter part of the 19th century, both Jewish and Christian theologians and historiographers interpreted the genealogies of Genesis 5:3–32 and Genesis 11:10–32 as yielding a continuous chronology of human history from the creation of Adam to the birth of Abraham. Continue reading

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Biblical chronologists had been interpreting the genealogies in Genesis as intact chronologies since before Christ (e.g., see the histories of Demetrius and Eupolemus). This ultra-majority understanding of these biblical texts held sway for millennia. In 1890, William Henry Green of Princeton Seminary published his influential essay Primeval Chronology, in which he concluded that “the Scriptures furnish no data for a chronological computation prior to the life of Abraham” (193). With vital support from B.B. Warfield, Green’s theory eventually supplanted the long-held chronological view in conservative scholarship. Today, Green’s article is often lauded by evangelicals as the definitive and final word on why Genesis 5 and 11 should never have been used to construct a chronology from Adam to Abraham...

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