07 December, 2018

9. Genesis is Toledoths

9. Genesis is Toledoths

This is the written record
of the generations of Adam. 
—Genesis 5:1 

Aha! We are finally in Genesis. But wait, we’re starting with Genesis 2:4, not Genesis 1:1??? And Tole-colo what???

The History channel and most “Biblical” documentaries hold to the ASA’s method of Bible study. So you’ve likely heard that Moses, the “author” of Genesis, borrowed from Sumerian and Babylonian creation and flood myths when writing Genesis. You may have even heard of the J-E-P-D theory (that four different authors complied the first few books of Genesis traditionally attributed to Moses).

In the last post, we talked about myth versus history. And we ended with questioning how one would go about determining the original account. That’s where the Toledoth comes in.

In Hebrew, Genesis 2:4a reads “This is the toledoth of the creation of the Heavens and the Earth.” Toledoth can be translated generations, book, record, or account.

Genesis is a collection of these Toledoths…nine to be exact.

As cuneiform (wedge-shaped symbols) is one of the earliest systems of writing, it was likely the writing system employed by Noah and his sons, as well as their ancestors (Adam, Seth, Enoch). Thus their toledoths would have been recorded in this style—cuneiform written with a stylus on clay tablets which were then baked.

If this is the case, if Adam wrote Genesis 2 and Noah and/or Shem wrote Genesis 6-9 and so forth in cuneiform on clay tablets, then these passages should bear similarities to Sumerian cuneiform tablets. Right?

That’s where the colophons come in.

Colophons are devices located at the end of a manuscript, containing information about the manuscript, including the composition’s title, the scribe’s the date and location,etc., such as "this has been the history/book/genealogy of..." The Epic of Gilgamesh has a colophon. So does the Epic of Paradise. And many other Sumerian texts.**

If Moses was writing Genesis without any outside sources, there would be no reason to keep interrupting the narrative flow of the text to insert “this is the book/record of so-and-so.” The colophons are historical evidence that Moses compiled Genesis by copying the detailed and accurate recorded history that his eye witness ancestors had kept (ancient records were HIGHLY prized in those days, like a driver’s license or birth certificate today).

Swordcraft Tip:

In whatever color you've designated for archaeology (or just a general color if you don't have a particular color for archaeology), highlight the Genesis toledoths: Gen 2:4a, Gen 5:1a, Gen 6:9a, Gen 10:1a, Gen 10:32, Gen 11:10a, Gen 11:27a, Gen 25:19, and Gen 37:2a. (Be sure not to highlight Gen 2:4b as we will be discussing that portion of the verse in another post.)

Photo Credit: history clock / cuneiform tablet and tablets (public domain) / LOTR