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Who wrote Genesis? page 3


In fact, the main history of the person named has been written before the phrase and most certainly is not written after it. When we read, "This is the Book of the generations of Adam," we learn nothing more about Adam excepting his age at death.
The Hebrew word for " generations " in this expression is "Toledoth, and not the ordinary Hebrew word "Dor" which is translated "generations" one hundred and twenty-three times. Fortunately there can be no reasonable doubt about the signification of this word "Toledoth."
Gesenius, the pioneer Hebrew critical scholar, in his lexicon, explains its meaning as "History, especially family history, since the earliest history among oriental nations is mostly drawn from genealogical registers of families. Then also for the origin of anything, i.e., the story of their origin; Genesis ii. 4, ' this is the origin of the heavens and the earth,' i.e., the story of their origin." To this day, the Rabbis in Mesopotamia, who are immersed in Biblical Hebrew, use the word "Toledoth" as the equivalent of the ordinary English word "history."

" The generations of Isaac (according to the principle followed by the compiler), the history of Isaac and his descendants."
It is therefore evident that the use of the phrase in Genesis is to point back to the origins of the family history and not forward to a later development through a line of descendants. This is made abundantly clear from the only occasion of its use in the New Testament, where in Matthew 1.1, we read, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ," following which is a list of ancestors. It is therefore evident that the formula is not a preamble to a genealogical list but an ending to such a list or narrative.
"This is the book of the origins of Adam." Here the word "sepher" translated "book" means "written narrative," or as Delitzsch translates it, "finished writing." Moreover, the Septuagint Version renders chapter 2.4: "This is the book of the origins of the heavens and the earth."
The "books" of that time were tablets, the word simply means "record." The earliest records of Genesis, therefore, claim to have been written down, and not as is often imagined passed on to Moses by word of mouth. "These are the origins of . . ." makes it clear that it refers to the owner or writer of the tablet, rather than to the history of the person named, i.e. "These are the origins of Noah," does not necessarily mean "This is the history about Noah," but the history written or possessed by Noah.
We have noted three things about this phrase:
(1) It is the concluding sentence of each section, and therefore points backward to a narrative already recorded.
(2) That the earliest records claim to have been written.

owner of the tablet containing it.        NEXT PAGE