A reoccurring question!
Frequently I am asked ‘what Biblical time-line or chronology am I using’…and what do I base this upon. In my 30++ years of sharing from scripture and evidence, I have found that many hold preconceived notions that lack tangible archaeological merit due to how they read scripture! Also that people greatly err scientifically, when primitive reading of scripture looks for evidence, rather than first studying the genuine facts. Below is a giant ‘Time-line’ poster I did way back in 2006. I have been using this demystifying view of early Genesis for nearly two decades without any shortfall in incorporating the latest discoveries. To explain my logic, I also attached the body of an email to a Rabbi in Israel. It must be clear that prior to alphabetic writing, everything was passed down orally…yet although early man (neolithic) did not technically write, the wise among them could clearly count!
To understand my Torah perspective…especially on the first ten chapters of Genesis…I looked closely at the ‘first alphabetic’ script it originally would have been penned in, Proto-Sinaitic, which became Hebrew. No one doubts that a lot of grammar developed after the Babylonian captivity…and I would never deny Hebrew definitions from a Rabbi, as they always are genuine. Oral tradition holds Hebrew writing links directly back as the original form/style of writing…and I found this to be true in a sense as the earliest characters do link back even to complex clay tokens…but we have a vast time period of Egyptian hieroglyphic, Sumerian and Elamite Cuneiform. Some dating back to possibly as early as 3800 BCE. King lists for Egypt are undeniable from as early as 3100 BCE…but to get to my point. Proto- Sinaitic began as a short hand for workers to decipher complex building tasks from hieroglyphics and differed from Hieratic. Realizing hieroglyphs used not just phonetic values but also extra information is conveyed by hieroglyphs acting as logograms and ‘determinatives’, however one hieroglyphic sign may act as a logogram, a phonogram, or a determinative depending on the situation. I found that the simplest solution to write Proto-Sinaitic from complex Hieroglyphic, so everyone could understand, was to make the determinatives crystal clear…which is to write on a clear ‘case and point’ basis, with the clear transition of a new case after using an undeniable determinative. Numerous points could be added to one case, but the transition to the new case clearly differentiates, revealing the clear context!
Pondering how time itself was recorded during Moshe Rabbeinu’ age (Moses)…and after comparing lists from Genesis chapter 5 & chapter 10 and also in 1 Chronicles (Divrei-HaYamim Alef)…it became clear. Genesis chapter 5 was written in a similar manner an Egyptian King List was recorded, and it was not only discussing a single person but a people or tribe. The clear determinative is in the repetitive statement “and he had other sons and daughters, so all the days that _____ lived were ______, and he died”.
The main case being clear from Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the generations/genealogy of Adam…Therefore all below in the chapter is the actual case but on two levels! When it speaks of “Adam lived’ in verse 3 it is including the ‘male and female + descendants (blessing) of verse 1, which the case first clarified. The term ‘lived’ when viewed in the light of ‘prospered or thrived’ carries more than the connotation of one simple life span…but an entire village per se, which is clarified in the determinative following every instance “and he had other sons and daughters…”. The phrase “and he died” is also in context of the case, which is an entire village or tribe, meaning their thriving or prospering ended. This is how Egyptian kings lists are written in hieroglyphic with the determinatives, but they deal with one mans reign…yet here, the story focuses on the genealogy under the individual patriarch as is clear by the un-named and un-numbered “and he had other sons and daughters”. I find Torah does not use redundancy without reason…and no one denies the clear topic of a people/nation/tribe coming visible in Genesis chapter 10 after the flood…which beckons us to consider this written as I have described.
To simplify…the list becomes completely stackable ‘similar to an Egyptian king list as that is how time was recorded when Torah was penned’.
When it says Adam lived in verse 3, Seth lived in verse 6, Enosh lived in verse 9 and so on…it is counting ‘lived’ as that village,tribe, or city… prospered, thrived or were recognized as the oldest living link back to the beginning.
When it says “so all the days that _____ lived were ______,’ they are talking about only the period of ‘prosperous recognition as a successive chain orally passed down before the dawn of writing’. (This establishes oral tradition as academically valid at all levels).
When it says “and he died”, they are talking about only the END of that period of ‘prosperous recognition as a successive chain orally passed down before the dawn of writing’.
This removes any notion that Torah actually claims individuals lived magically long lives in excess of 900+ years, and brings complete clarity to the actual text without deviation. It is not ‘necessarily’ contrary to Torah…but actually reveals Torah’s superiority in light of all up to date academic discovery!!! The sages of blessed memory would not have had access to the detail we have today, although they were closer to HaShem in many aspects…and there is so much we learn from them.
This time-line factually places Adam in Gan Eden at the single interstadial period known as the ‘Bolling Oscillation’. The Adji Chay Valley at that period was surrounded by three active volcanoes where much land outside of that would have been frozen tundra except near coastlines. It would have truly been the paradise in a geologically unstable world. Expulsion from there followed by a global climate drop, definitely would make earth seam cursed from a primitive man (though with the breath of life). This time line aligns all the obsidian trade routes formed after that point and any archeology…more over the standard Ice Core samples from Greenland than validate Torah.
This time-line solves more questions than it raises…difficulties people may have are usually from holding to primitive notions and not reviewing the evidence thoroughly. Any problems that may arise get clarified as Torah remains unchanged and more evidence comes to light…demystifying superstition!