Thursday, November 21, 2013

Let us Suppose Lamech was Uniformitarian

Let us take a look at the Cain line.

1) Adam 2) Cain 3) Enoch 4) Irad 5) Mehujael 6) Methusael 7) Lamech 8) four named children: Iabal, Iubal, Tubal-cain and Naama

He got them from two wives, meaning he was the probably first bigamist. So, he was no Traditionalist.

Let us suppose uniformitarian reasoning was part of his impiety. He had two parents, as everyone except Adam and Eve and Jesus Christ. His two parents were Methusael and his wife. Supposing Methusael did not marry his sister (I have not checked extra-canonic scriptures for information about that, but suppose it was so), Lamech had four grandparents. Mehujael, his wife, and the two parents of Methusael's wife. A generation further back he may have had eight great grandparents. Irad, his wife, the two parents of Mehujael's wife, the four grandparents of Methusael's wife. Fetting back to Enoch, that makes 16. Getting back to Cain, that makes 32, which I think is a fair proportion or even all of the children Adam and Eve are reported in certain extra-canonic writings as having.

1) Adam2) Cain 3) Enoch 4) Irad 5) Mehujael 6) Methusael 7) Lamech
1) Eve2)Cain's wife3) Enoch's wife4) Irad's wife5) Mehujael's wife6) Methusael's wife 
1) Adam2) iii3) iii4) iii 5) Methusael's
father in law
1) Eve2) iv3) iv4) iv 5) Methusael's
mother in law
1) Adam 2) v3) v4) v   
1) Eve 2) vi3) vi 4) vi   
1) Adam 2) vii3) vii4) vii   
1) Eve 2) viii3) viii4) viii   
1) Adam 2) ix3) ix    
1) Eve 2) x3) x    
1) Adam 2) xi3) xi    
1) Eve 2) xii3) xii    
1) Adam 2) xiii3) xiii    
1) Eve 2) xiv3) xiv     
1) Adam 2) xv3) xv    
1) Eve 2) xvi3) xvi    
1) Adam 2) xvii    
1) Eve 2) xviii    
1) Adam 2) xix    
1) Eve 2) xx    
1) Adam 2) xxi    
1) Eve 2) xxii    
1) Adam 2) xxiii    
1) Eve 2) xxiv    
1) Adam 2) xxv    
1) Eve 2) xxvi     
1) Adam 2) xxvii    
1) Eve 2) xxviii    
1) Adam 2) xxix    
1) Eve 2) xxx    
1) Adam 2) Seth    
1) Eve 2) Seth's wife    

Please note that this is just an example, I am not sure he was uniformitarian like this at all, but let us suppose he was, and I do not know if he had 32 different ancestors in the generation after Adam and Eve or even less if they would have included Seth and his wife, but let us suppose or suppose that he supposed so.

If he went on reasoning on that line, he would have concluded that Adam and Eve were only two out of sixtyfour ancestors in their generation. And he would have been wrong.

When I look at reconstructions of Proto-Indo-European I feel somewhat as if they were risking to give Lamech 64 ancestors in one generation. When I look at Merrit and Ruhlen and their constructions of how Proto-Indo-European and Turkish and Greenlandic are supposed to have had a common ancestor, I feel as if Lamech had concluded there was a generation before Adam in which he had 128 ancestors. And why not give Cain greatgrandfather's as well and invent a generation in which Lamech had 256 ancestors, and so on?

It is wrong to say that languages never borrow grammatical features. They may borrow on a material level, as when English borrows "very", or even as when all Germanic languages borrow the Latin ending -arius which is -er in English, or they can borrow on a structural level, as when English and Dutch borrow the "of" construction or "van" contruction from the French "de" construction. Or when Latin and Germanic languages start to borrow the definite article from Greek or Arabic - unless it be from Old English which may have got it from Irish. And any Lingua Franca is bound to give lots of loans in the vocabulary.

It is therefore not necessary that Indo-European languages descend from a unique common ancestor rather than from different ancestral languages borrowing from each other or from some Hittite Empire esperanto.

It is also possible that God at Babel derived languages from proto-languages never spoken. Like Tolkien did for Quenya and Sindarin, deriving them from Proto-Quendian.

There is nothing beyond uniformitarian prejudice to reason against the story of the Tower of Babel, as written, just as if Lamech had denied that all men descend from Adam and Eve he would have been guilty of uniformitarian prejudice. What the text says is that immediately after the dispersion of tingues there were 70 new languages. Not that every language that has come into existance since then must have done so in the same miraculous way. Precisely as the text saying that Adam and Eve lacked human parents does not say every person after them does so too.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Presentation of the
Blessed Virgin Mary
in the Temple

1 comment:

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Not meaning I do not enjoy Svitych's and Dolgopolsky's Proto-Nostratic as a fine art. Like Tolkien's Quenya.