Biblical Editing and Adam's First Wife

With all the posts about biblical interpretations, many believing it to be literally true, nothing is said about the editors and publishers of the word of God. Although the Bible may be divinely inspired, scripture that made it in or got cut was a very human decision. Some books I wonder why they are there. Such as James; yes, he may have been Jesus’s brother but he was not a very inspiring letter writer. Or Revelations; a diary of a schizophrenic. Two actually readable Old Testament books, Tobit and Maccabees got cut by the Protestants. And of course, Catholic and some Protestant denominations talk about Jesus descending to purgatory before rising to heaven. Can’t find it in the Bible? It is in the Gospel of Nicodemus (or so I have heard). What about the Gospel of Thomas? The truth is that biblical editors added or deleted books and parts of books to serve political as well as theological purposes.

Now before y’all start preaching to me to take thyself to the flames of the BBQ Pit, there is an honest question. I just read that there was a woman in Adam’s life before Eve. Her name was Lillith, and her story was removed from Genesis about 800 A.D. I read it in an editorial section of a newspaper (Houston Chromicle) where there has been an ongoing debate about…you guessed it, biblical interpretation and creationism.

The writer says…”Lillith was created at the same time as Adam and as his equal. But apparently Lillith didn’t care for Adam much and left him, so Adam needed a second wife to ‘serve him.’” Lillith bore Cain and Abel’s wives.

I have strong opinions on religion, but this story is completely new to me. Any further information or opinions are welcome

This topic has “Great Debates” written all over it.

Nickrz
GQ Mod

Adam has a wife?? Geez, I hope they don’t homeschool their kids. . .

Rich

He must have home schooled them. Unless Lillith got custody.

I posted a question about Lilith some months ago, on the old SDMB. Unfortunately, I don’t remember everything everyone told me about her (see my GQ thread, “Why Do We Forget?”)

There’s some very interesting myths about Lilith, though, my personal favorite being a sexual one. Since Lilith and Adam were created at the same time, Lilith believed she was Adam’s equal. Adam wanted to have sex with her, but he wanted her underneath him. Lilith wanted to be on top. Adam wouldn’t allow it, Lilith got angry, and left. I believe she also spoke the name of God before she left (please correct me on that one if I’m wrong).

What the OP said about Lilith being the mother of Cain’s wife, though, is completely new to me. Better than the land of Nod story, though :wink:

Having lived in Houston my entire life until just recently, I know not to trust ANYTHING I read in there. :slight_smile: But I don’t quite understand how you can claim that James was not an inspiring author? I can see the rationalization of the John of Revelation being schizophrenic, but I will have to disagree with the James thing. But seeing as how we’re both from Houston, I can feel the pain of living in, as I so affectionately call it, the shit-hole. On the topic, though, I believe that Cecil covered this topic, though not sure what he said. Anybody remember anything about it?

posted 09-08-1999 08:18 PM

<Having lived in Houston my entire life until just recently, I know not
to trust ANYTHING I read in there. But I don’t quite understand how you
can claim that James was not an inspiring author?>

Being Jesus’s brother helped it make the cut.
<I can see the
rationalization of the John of Revelation being schizophrenic, but I
will have to disagree with the James thing. But seeing as how we’re both
from Houston, I can feel the pain of living in, as I so affectionately
call it, the shit-hole.>

As long as you affectionately call it that. Friendly people, plus being a big city there’s lots to do. I’d rather life here than Austin because of that. Plus I can skate at night without hassles from the cops and many bars allow skaters.

<On the topic, though, I believe that Cecil
covered this topic, though not sure what he said. Anybody remember
anything about it?>

I remember reading it as well. It conflicts with Catholic teaching of Mary staying a virgin.

I will concede the skater thing to you, Houston does seem to have a pretty big punk\skater population. But what I was referring to was that I thought Cecil covered Adam and Lilith once before. I looked for the column but couldn’t find it. Anyone else remember that? I still don’t think I would totally write James off just because the editors may have shown favoritism to Jesus’s half-brother. At least I can understand his letter. Try reading some of Paul’s.

To your argument: The bible was edited by Humans, yes I agree but the answer will always be “God would not allow humans to make mistakes when it comes to something as important as the word.” Thus it’s a no win argument.

Also, there are TWO different stories of creation in the bible. One the Adam and his rib the other simply, “And God created man in his own image male an female he created them.” So yes there could’ve been a Lillith.

Most scholors agree Genesis was written by at least 3 different people and maybe up to 6.

The Bible isn’t a book.It is books. Surely you cannot read Psalms and take the poetry there with the same degree of realism as say Exodus. It would be like comparing “American Pie” to “I Honestly Love You.” One is a song with image open to interpetation, the other is pretty straitforward.

I really don´t think that the bible says what it originally did even without the editing. To begin with the original language of the Bible can hardly be translated very successfully into english or any other language. Plus I don´t they dont use the original one. And as proof of editing just look at the name´s: Paul, James, John; they hardly sound middle-eastern. And their different in each language the book is translated to, this is obviously a political thing, people would hardly have trusted anyone foreign a few hundred years back, or even one hundred years back.

Plus I don´t think they use the original one.

sorry q :wink:

Hmmm…I did have this worry about a 21-year-old Christian poster being on his second marriage…sorry, Adam! :wink:

OK, Lilith is legendary. I’m not sure if she shows up in the Talmud, but she isn’t in any Biblical book, including so far as I know the pseudopigrapha (the stuff that didn’t even make it into the Apocrypha/ deuterocanonicals).

The equal-to-Adam part is right. The bit about the missionary position vs. female-on-top is, I think, an accretion to the traditional legend.

Most Bible scholars seem to believe that the Epistle of James was a sort of Reader’s Digest condensed version of the best of James’ sermons, whether produced by him or by an editor [redactor] acting in his name. That could explain why it doesn’t seem to flow very well. In addition, as pointed out, things don’t translate well. And these guys weren’t selected for the purity of their literary style, anyway. {{…imagining Jesus giving prospective apostles an essay test…}} :wink:

Apropos, of that, the only literary criticism in the Bible is in II Peter, where Peter (or an anonymous writer assuming his name, on the view of some) has some tongue-in-cheek remarks about Paul being difficult to understand. I don’t have the cite at hand (after complaining that others don’t cite their references…sorry!)

This was answered pretty thoroughly in a Mailbag column, here’s the link: http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mlilith.html

Thanks, Dex, that would explain why I couldn’t find it in one of Cecil’s columns. What would we do without our moderators?

Glad to be of help, Longhorn. Actually, when I searched for “Adam” in Mailbag archives, the search engine didn’t find it… hence, no nasty comments from me about people being too lazy to look things up. In my case, of course, I knew it was there since I helped Terey to write it, so I did the more tedious look-down-the-complete-list search until I found it.

Sigh. It’ll be nice when the search engines work properly.

I found this page to be very informative, also:

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu:80/~humm/Topics/Lilith/lilith.html


“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

Opinions are bound to vary, but still… of ALL the books of the Bible you could choose to carp about, I find it strange that anyone should complain about the epistle of James!

There are several books of the Bible that make little sense, or say precious little. James, on the other hand, is pithy, clear and has a message even non-Christians should applaud (namely: faith is nice, but it’s not worth much if Christians don’t get off their butts and DO something for their fellow men!).

Now, if you want to start a petition to dump Obadiah or Paul’s letters to Titus and Philemon, sign me up!

There are several books of the Bible that make little sense, or say
precious little. James, on the other hand, is pithy, clear and has a
message even non-Christians should applaud (namely: faith is nice, but
it’s not worth much if Christians don’t get off their butts and DO
something for their fellow men!).

Good point. It sure beats all of the 17 or so prophet books gloom and doom (1st half of Daniel is interesting with that goofy king Nebachadnezzer-mispelled). My favorite is Song of Solomon, Positively erotic stuff.