By David N. Livingstone
Although the concept that all people are descended from Adam is a long-standing conviction within the West, one other model of this narrative exists: humans inhabited the Earth earlier than, or along, Adam, and their descendants nonetheless occupy the planet.
In this attractive and provocative paintings, David N. Livingstone strains the historical past of the assumption of non-adamic humanity, and the debates surrounding it, from the center a long time to the current day. From a multidisciplinary point of view, Livingstone examines how this replacement concept has been used for cultural, non secular, and political reasons. He unearths how what started as biblical feedback grew to become a theological apologetic to reconcile faith with science—evolution in particular—and used to be later used to aid arguments for white supremacy and segregation.
From heresy to orthodoxy, from radicalism to conservatism, from humanitarianism to racism, Adam's Ancestors tells an fascinating story of twists and turns within the cultural politics surrounding the age-old query, "Where did we come from?"
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Additional info for Adam's Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins
65 Laurence Clarkson, a Muggletonian—a radical millenarian group that held the soul to be mortal and found no need for formal religious ceremonies—reflected on his youthful, wilder days in the 1650s, when he had denied that “Adam was the first Creature, but that there was a Creation before him . . ” And Gerard Winstanley, a member of the agrarian reformist group the Diggers, warned against literalistic readings of the Genesis account, highlighting the contradictions and absurdities such hermeneutics would deliver.
56 It bothered him, too, that pagan chronology was often the weapon of choice in the arsenal of crusading atheists. ”57 To Stillingfleet a range of fundamental Christian doctrines rested on the assumption of worldwide human descent from Adam, and any tampering with that foundation would result in the collapse of the entire edifice of biblical anthropology. ”58 These rejoinders were typical of a flood of responses dwelling on the theological heterodoxy of La Peyrère’s proposals that had been in full flow ever since Prae-Adamitae saw the first light of day.
And this lexicon provided some with grounds for hope that the apologetic maneuvers that had served the Church fathers in the late Hellenistic world would work just as well for the contemporary heathen that the voyages of geographical reconnaissance were currently exposing. ”52 But such tactics seemed increasingly shallow, and questions multiplied, as there was a dawning realization that the new America was not joined to Asia. Were the inhabitants of America the descendants of Adam and Noah at all?