When Did History Become History? · Is Genesis Literal History or Something Else?
- What is the evidence that the book of Genesis is literal history?
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
- I suppose the question is not asking of the evidence in the Catholic faith, but of evidence in only the natural sense. I’ll comply with that supposed subtext.
Most basically, that it was taken as such.
This is the most basic evidence of any claim being historic. Outside the strict adhesion of the faith, this would have to be weighed with possibly other evidences on the same matters, either supporting or subverting. For Joseph in Egypt, see the role of Imhotep on the Hunger Stele.
Second, most chapters (from 12 to 50) are a narrative that is mostly very down to earth. Supernatural events occur, deals with God occur, but most of the time a little Beduin tribe is fighting for its survival and cohesion in these chapters.
Third, while some of the earlier chapters (1 to 11) do contain very highstrung narrations, they also contain very mundane information, like the genealogies from Cain to Lamech and his sons Jabal, Jubal and Tubal-Cain and their sister Naema, Genesis 4, or from Adam to Noah, Genesis 5, or from Shem to Abraham, latter half of Genesis 11. A somewhat different form of genealogy, namely a branched one (but spanning only three generations) is the mass of Genesis 10, called the Table of Nations.
I would say things like that are too boring to be novels and too complex in chaotic ways to be religious symbols. So, whether or not literal history is all there is to it, and whether or not there is a fraud in the literal history, the basis would need, even for the early chapters, to be literal history.
Most people who miss this have simply read highly interesting extracts of highly foundational events, like Creation, Flood, Babel, nothing else, or have missed that Abraham is part of Genesis too.