Barry Newman's Blog

April 4, 2011

Science and Genesis 2: 4b – 3: 24 (part XXII)

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 10:02 pm

The term, “man” – an aside

Some comment needs to be made at this point about the word translated “man” or Adam”.  The word “Adam” is a transliteration of the Hebrew word (adam) meaning “man” and bears an unmistakable resemblance to the word “adamah” (meaning “ground” from the dust of which the man was made). In Genesis 2 and 3, the Hebrew word, “adam” is found about 23 times.  (The word “ish” translated “man” first makes its appearance in Gen 1: 23, reappears in 2: 24 and Eve uses it to refer to Cain in 4: 1).  In almost all instances in Genesis 1 to 3 the word “adam” appears together with the definite article.  For that reason this writer has so far preferred to refer to “the man” rather than “Adam”.  The first time in Genesis that it would seem appropriate to refer to “Adam” is in 4: 25 followed by 5: 1, 3, 4 and 5.  The definite article is not attached to “adam” in these verses. A suggestion here is that at the junction of the appearance of the second toledoth the reader is being presented with a different perspective where the man now clearly takes on the identity of a person with a name, the name, “Adam”.

In Genesis 2 to 3 there a few instances where adam does not have the definite article.  In Gen 1: 26 and 2: 5 adam is used generically to refer to “mankind” but in 2: 20 and 3: 21 “for the man” seems to be the sense of the compound word used, though it could be argued that the reference in 2: 20 is generic. A generic use also appears in the midst of the references to “Adam” in Gen 5, in v. 2

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