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Old 08-15-2019, 11:52 AM
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From the Wiki:
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There is no clear consensus as to what Cain's mark was. The word translated as "mark" in Genesis 4:15 is א֔וֹת (’ōṯ), which could mean a sign, omen, warning, remembrance, motion, gesture, agreement, miracle, wonder, or, most commonly, a letter.
Barring the discovery of a more definitive source, I don't think a factual answer is to be found.
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:49 PM
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Dorjan:

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Who standardized these marks, and how are random people expected to see them and know the meaning? In a pre-literate society, at that.
Well, in the Genesis story, that would be G-d. Pre-literate? Adam had a language in which he named all of the Earth's creatures. Of course, that's not how science and history would view the first human beings, but the whole idea of a symbol from G-d is kind of outside that realm already.

Derleth:

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Adam and Eve had Cain and Abel. Their wives? Plothole. Deal with it.
It's not a plot hole. They married their sisters. It says explicitly in the Bible that Adam and Eve had daughters (Genesis 5:4).
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  #53  
Old 08-15-2019, 09:07 PM
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How could it have anything to do with race? The Mark of Cain is a story from Genesis, and according to Genesis, all of Cain's descendants were wiped out in the Flood.

Last edited by TonySinclair; 08-15-2019 at 09:10 PM.
  #54  
Old 08-15-2019, 10:11 PM
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How could it have anything to do with race? The Mark of Cain is a story from Genesis, and according to Genesis, all of Cain's descendants were wiped out in the Flood.
Genesis says that all Cain's descendants were wiped out in the flood?
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:22 PM
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Genesis says that all Cain's descendants were wiped out in the flood?
Well, it says that only Noah and family survived....

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOD @Genesis 6 and 7
so God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

<snip parts about building an ark and the stat of the flood>

On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark
which - if GOD's curse is to be believed -

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Originally Posted by GOD @ Genesis 4
5 But the Lord said to him, “Not so[e]; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
Did God suffer vengence seven times over? How dd Cain survive the flood?

Last edited by simster; 08-15-2019 at 10:23 PM.
  #56  
Old 08-15-2019, 10:42 PM
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Did God suffer vengence seven times over? How dd Cain survive the flood?
Cain and his brothers would have long since been dead. According to Genesis, Seth lived about 900 years, and Noah was the 10th in a line of patriarchs from Adam. Noah didn't have children until he was 500, so Adam's children were just dust by then.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:58 PM
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I've heard the theory that the story was supposed to be a fable about the conflict between farmers and herders; it's just that in the Bronze Age Middle East, both those groups were the same color.

The pastoralist/agriculturalist theory is interesting: according to it, the original Israelites were desert pastoralists who invaded, conquered and eventually absorbed the agriculturalist Canaanites. That's why they had stories about how herders were preferred by God and that the farmers had done them wrong; it's also why so many biblical heroes were shepherds, including King David himself.
According to the rabbi who taught the "History of Judaism" course I took as an undergrad, that's why the Israelites kept slipping into the idolatry their prophets so often denounced: being pastoralists, they had to learn agriculture from the resident Canaanites.

"First you build a terrace to keep water in. Then you break up the ground with a hoe. Then you sow your seed. Then you sacrifice a goat to Ba'al Hadad. Then you wait for Dagon to send rains..."

I don't know if this was an actual historical theory, or he was just pulling it out of his ass, but it sounded plausible. Less so now that we have better evidence that the Israelites developed from native Canaanite tribes, rather than being invaders from elsewhere; but if they learned agriculture from other Canaanite tribes, then it could have happened that way.

Last edited by Slow Moving Vehicle; 08-15-2019 at 10:58 PM.
  #58  
Old 08-15-2019, 11:33 PM
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Cain and his brothers would have long since been dead. According to Genesis, Seth lived about 900 years, and Noah was the 10th in a line of patriarchs from Adam. Noah didn't have children until he was 500, so Adam's children were just dust by then.
While that is almost certainly true, the Bible doesn't say how long Cain lived, so it's barely possible he died in the Flood. Methuselah died in the year of the Flood*, so maybe he drowned, too -- the cause of his death is not given. The Bible does say* that Shem didn't die until Jacob, eleven generations later, was 50 years old, which means that Shem outlived Abraham by 35 years. Even Noah was still around until Abraham was 58 years old. Strangely, there is no mention of any interaction between Shem and his descendants over the 500 years of his life following the Flood.

* It doesn't say it explicitly, but if you do the math from the dates of birth and death given in Gen 5, 11, 21, and 25, that's what you get.

Last edited by TonySinclair; 08-15-2019 at 11:34 PM.
  #59  
Old 08-15-2019, 11:54 PM
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The point is that if you take Genesis to be true (and I don't) then it makes no sense to claim that people living today with a particular skin color are descendants of Cain, with their skin color being "the mark."

Because regardless of whether Cain was alive at the time of the flood or not, he and all of his issue (Noah being a descendant of Seth) would surely have been dead in the flood. So none of his descendants would be alive to populate the earth as this race or that today.

If you accept that Genesis is true (which, again, I donít).
  #60  
Old 08-15-2019, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by TonySinclair View Post
The Bible does say* that Shem didn't die until Jacob, eleven generations later, was 50 years old, which means that Shem outlived Abraham by 35 years. Even Noah was still around until Abraham was 58 years old. Strangely, there is no mention of any interaction between Shem and his descendants over the 500 years of his life following the Flood.

* It doesn't say it explicitly, but if you do the math from the dates of birth and death given in Gen 5, 11, 21, and 25, that's what you get.
Interesting!
  #61  
Old 08-16-2019, 12:42 AM
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The point is that if you take Genesis to be true (and I don't) then it makes no sense to claim that people living today with a particular skin color are descendants of Cain, with their skin color being "the mark."

Because regardless of whether Cain was alive at the time of the flood or not, he and all of his issue (Noah being a descendant of Seth) would surely have been dead in the flood. So none of his descendants would be alive to populate the earth as this race or that today.

If you accept that Genesis is true (which, again, I donít).
Per Genesis, Noah was a tenth-generation descendant of Seth. But Noah's ancestors, going back 10 generations, number more than 2,000 people (although there may be some doubling-up, of course, with the same individual appearing in more than one place in the family tree). Seth was just one of Noah's ancestors. There's no reason why Cain couldn't also be one.

Therefore, there is no reason to think that all Cain's descendants died in the Flood.
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:10 AM
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In which case, Noah (if we are to believe the mark was passed down through the generations) should also have had "the mark".

Alternatively, many ancient peoples (perhaps even the ones who compiled and edited the Genesis narrative) thought that the way baby-making worked was that the man planted his seed in the woman, where it grew if her womb was fertile (the whole egg-sperm didn't exist), and in each seed was every "seed" that would be contained in that line. Preformationism is the term for it. In which case, the implicit Genesis-based view (as valid as the age of the earth being a mere few thousand years) would be that Noah could not possibly have descended from Cain, since people could only ever be descended from men, and Cain was explicitly not in the male line from Seth to Noah.

Either way, whether the ancient Israelites understood the woman's genetic contribution (not that they knew about genetics) to her offspring or not, we're all descendants of Cain, or none of us are. The mark, then, still cannot be considered a basis for differences in skin color (even if we take the Genesis narrative as true, and again, I don’t).

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 08-16-2019 at 01:14 AM.
  #63  
Old 08-16-2019, 01:47 AM
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It's not a plot hole. They married their sisters. It says explicitly in the Bible that Adam and Eve had daughters (Genesis 5:4).
Steve King calling on line 3.
  #64  
Old 08-16-2019, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by cmkeller View Post
Dorjan:

Well, in the Genesis story, that would be G-d. Pre-literate? Adam had a language in which he named all of the Earth's creatures. Of course, that's not how science and history would view the first human beings, but the whole idea of a symbol from G-d is kind of outside that realm already.
That word doesn't mean what you think it means.
Quote:
lit∑er∑ate
/ˈlidərət/
Learn to pronounce
adjective
adjective: literate

1.
(of a person) able to read and write.
synonyms: able to read and write
"their parents were barely literate"
I don't remember anything saying that Adam could read or write.
Moses clearly could. I don't remember if there is anything about Abraham reading, though if the written Covenant was given to him I suppose he could.
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:05 AM
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As a mormon back in the day... As I remember what I was taught, Cain was cursed with a dark skin. One of his descendants was Ham's wife, so that's how it continued after the flood. As they said, it only took a "drop of blood".
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:54 AM
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In some Jewish teachings Noah's wife is a descendant of Cain.

Naamah
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Old 08-16-2019, 11:31 AM
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simster:

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Did God suffer vengence seven times over? How dd Cain survive the flood?
While it's not quite explicit, it's implied that Lemekh was associated with the death of Cain (and this interpretation is written outright in the Midrash, the oral tradition, that he actually killed Cain, though it was an accident), this is the reason for the call-back to the Cain verse in Genesis 4:24. This was prior to the flood.

(If Lemekh suffered some form of sevenfold revenge, it is not expilictly mentioned anywhere that I'm aware of.)

TonySinclair:

Quote:
Strangely, there is no mention of any interaction between Shem and his descendants over the 500 years of his life following the Flood.
Not explicitly in the scripture, but Jewish oral tradition says that Melchitzedek king of Shalem (see Genesis 14:18) was another name/title for Shem. Oral tradition also says that Shem and his grandson Eber taught Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the ways of G-d.

Quote:
Steve King calling on line 3.
I know that Steve King is a Republican congressman from Iowa, but if this is a reference to some specific statement of his, then I'd appreciate an elaboration, for this has gone over my head.

Voyager:

I know what literate means. I was just saying that in the Biblical narrative, Adam clearly had some degree of innate G-d-implanted knowledge that one would not assume people of 6,000 years ago typically had, so it's a bit silly to assume that he (and his most immediate descendants) was illiterate. More likely, if G-d put a letter on Cain's head, it was something those who would encounter him could recognize/read.
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  #68  
Old 08-16-2019, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by cmkeller View Post
Voyager:

I know what literate means. I was just saying that in the Biblical narrative, Adam clearly had some degree of innate G-d-implanted knowledge that one would not assume people of 6,000 years ago typically had, so it's a bit silly to assume that he (and his most immediate descendants) was illiterate. More likely, if G-d put a letter on Cain's head, it was something those who would encounter him could recognize/read.
Adam clearly had knowledge, he named the animals after all. But recognizing a sign is not literacy. (What did he have to read, anyway?)
It is not even clear if the inhabitants of Babel were literate. No mention is made of documents they could no longer read. Of course the timeline of when the tongues were confused and the descendants of Noah established know nations is unclear.
Bottom line, there is no reason to doubt that Adam was pre-literate.

BTW, Steve King said something stupid about how if there was not rape and incest in the past no one would be here, in support of banning abortions for the victims of rape and incest. That's the connection.
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:22 PM
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Bottom line, there is no reason to doubt that Adam was pre-literate.
Perhaps no reason in that itís not explicitly stated one way or the other in the text, but itís hardly the most problematic claim made about Adam. I mean, seeing as he was supposed to have started out as a lump of clay, breathed to life by god, why not just go ahead and grant him some degree of literacy, too? We know, for instance, that actual historic humans who lived in the Fertile Crescent around that time were in the nascent stages of developing writing, using symbols pressed into clay to represent things in ever more abstract ways, so whatís so far-fetched about the biblical creator god using a similar proto-literate symbol verging on writing to mark Cain, when we must take it as a given (for discussing the biblical narrative) that Cain's dad started out as a lump of clay, and his mom may or may not* have come from his dad's rib?

*For those who havenít taken the time to slog through it, or read up on the documentary hypothesis, thereís at least two creation narratives contained in Genesis, and one of the many points they differ on is how Eve was brought into being: with Adam or from Adam.
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:38 PM
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s -- tattoos are forbidden by Moasaic law....
It was my understanding that only tattoos of the dead were forbidden, but that the Jews, tending to err on the side of caution, don't do tattoos at all. (Kind of like not eating cheeseburgers.)

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And who were the women that Adam and Eve's sons mated with?
Perhaps from the same group of people that Cain was worried about killing him? Unless it was his parents that he was worried about.
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:50 PM
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It's not a plot hole. They married their sisters. It says explicitly in the Bible that Adam and Eve had daughters (Genesis 5:4).
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
No. Nothing in the Bible implies this [the rest of humanity was part of the "cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth"] in any way.
Then who was Cain afraid of?
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:58 PM
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His great-great-great-great nieces and nephews, maybe? If you've got lifespans of hundreds of years, and a whole big fertile world to populate, you could quickly get to the point where not everyone knows each other.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ASL v2.0 View Post

*For those who havenít taken the time to slog through it, or read up on the documentary hypothesis, thereís at least two creation narratives contained in Genesis, and one of the many points they differ on is how Eve was brought into being: with Adam or from Adam.
And if Eve had come with an instruction manual in either of the versions, the problem would be solved.
I don't think you can say anything about Adam's literacy based on the literacy of the inhabitants of the Middle East. In any case, writing began in the Middle East around 3200 BCE, after Adam's supposed creation.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:26 PM
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Maybe he had to worry about some of the Mesopotamians the Genesis narratives were ripped off from.
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:41 PM
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His great-great-great-great nieces and nephews, maybe? If you've got lifespans of hundreds of years, and a whole big fertile world to populate, you could quickly get to the point where not everyone knows each other.
He must have been a very forward thinking guy, then. (Guess he learned his lesson after killing his brother.) At that point, it was only him and his parents.
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Old Yesterday, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Dorjšn View Post
Who standardized these marks, and how are random people expected to see them and know the meaning? In a pre-literate society, at that.
Green like the grasses of the plains turned He his hair,
and pale his skin as the clouds above the mountains.
Like the apple full and round became his nose,
that his face might bear the distinct mark of sins against God.
And overlong and clumsy turned He his feet,
that he might not easily escape anyone curious about his features
or the nature of his crimes which caused them.
Thenceforth, not by Cain was he known but Clain,
for he had harmed one favored by God.


Wouldn't nobody come near him after that because they all thought he looked funny.
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