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Historical Genesis: from Adam to Abraham Paperback – January 28, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Historical Genesis has a very easy style for a book packed with so much scholarly research....would be fantastic for a religious studies or seminary course on Genesis. (Jen Cardwell Reader Views)

About the Author

Richard James Fischer is founder and president of the Genesis Proclaimed Association, a ministry dedicated to finding harmony in the Bible, science, and history. He earned a B.S. from the University of Missouri and a Master's degree in theology from Evangel Theological Seminary in Virginia. Under the pen name 'Dick Fischer' he has been published in The Washington Post, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Cosmic Pursuit, and Teachers of Vision. He is an active member of the American Scientific Affiliation, Alliance for Science, Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, and the Christian Educators Association International.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: UPA (January 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761838074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761838074
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book, Fischer attempts to place the first 11 chapters of Genesis within the historical context of ancient Mesopotamia in such a way as to preserve the doctrine of Scriptural inerrancy while at the same time taking seriously all of the relevant scientific evidence. He does so by making some pretty radical claims--ones which may bother those more committed to the historic confessions of Christianity.

Perhaps the most novel claim of the book is that Adam, although a real historical figure, was not the father of the entire human race. Rather, he was only the first Semite (or, more properly, "Adamite"), the first human to have a covenant relationship with God, and the first federal representative of humanity, whose fall and subsequent guilt have been imputed to the rest of us. Fischer believes that this view of Adam is necessary, given both the biblical evidence that places Adam in a Neolithic context (about 6,000 years ago), and the scientific evidence that traces the origins of modern humans back 50,000 years. I was surprised to learn that the Bible never explicitly affirms that all humans have descended from Adam and Eve, and in fact it may even implicitly deny such a claim (e.g., who was Cain afraid would kill him after he murdered Abel?). But where the Bible is ambiguous, later Christian confessions (especially the Westminster Confession) leave no room for doubt. Even if Fischer's theory is compatible with Scripture, it is clearly incompatible with later Christian teaching. This might not be a problem if you don't believe that creeds and confessions must be infallible.

The book does have its weak points. Firstly, Fischer should have taken more time to explain how the pre-Adamite theory affects the doctrine of original sin.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're struggling to integrate modern science with Biblical history, you should definitely read this book. In the very first chapter, Fischer explains why purely symbolic or allegorical Adam is incongruous with both Old and New Testament accounts. Such views are in vogue because modern genetics increasingly steers us away from a single literal "Adam and Eve" as parents of the entire human race.

Here, Fischer explains that Adam was not the first human, but the first Semitic man; the first prophet if you will. Fischer says: Yes, Adam was a real man who lived about 7,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, and yes, the Bible does hint that there were other people around at the time.

Cain kills Abel and is afraid that anybody who meets him will kill him. Hey wait a minute - anybody WHO? (If he and his parents are the only people around, why would he say this?) He flees, marries a woman (from where?) and builds a city (for who?).

Fischer weaves his extensive knowledge of the Ancient Near East, Sumerian and Akadian literature to integrate history with Biblical narrative in a way that's refreshingly different from anything you've seen before. Fisher suggests that the traditions of English translation have significantly erred due to long-standing wrong assumptions about humanity, which the original author of Genesis did not intend to communicate.

I do not have sufficient expertise to critique the fine details of his analysis. But I would suggest that with this book it's possible to integrate modern genetics, anthropology and science into a historical understanding of Genesis that is admirably coherent. You may need to revise your understanding of original sin to more resemble what the Jews have always taught (hint: It's a greatly over-rated issue).
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Format: Paperback
In Historical Genesis, author Richard James Fischer sets out to show that the people and events described in chapters 2-11 of Genesis were very real. Basing his analysis on archaeological, cultural, linguistic, and historical information gleaned primarily from the wealth of data coaxed out of the sand during the last two centuries, he argues that the knowledge we have gained of ancient Sumer, Akkad, and other contemporary kingdoms largely supports the Biblical account. Before Christian fundamentalists (of which I am one - albeit one who subscribes to the theory of evolution) get too excited, though, I must point out that Fischer isn't necessarily endorsing the version of the Creation Story you learned in Sunday School.

Fischer is certainly not the first person to aver that the early chapters of Genesis are literally true, but his interpretation is based on a nuanced retranslation of significant terms in the original texts. Even as he argues that the story related in Genesis chapters 2 through 11 is literally true, his interpretation of that "truth" includes some fairly controversial "facts." His Adam and Eve lived in and were expelled from Eden, but they were not the first human beings on the face of the earth; he rejects the notion of a global flood, arguing instead for a local flood that devastated the area of Mesopotamia only; and his view of the chaos wrought under the facade of the Tower of Babel does not include the disbursement of languages across the globe.
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