By David N. Livingstone
Although the concept all humans are descended from Adam is a long-standing conviction within the West, one other model of this narrative exists: people inhabited the Earth ahead of, or along, Adam, and their descendants nonetheless occupy the planet.
In this enticing and provocative paintings, David N. Livingstone lines 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 viewpoint, Livingstone examines how this substitute proposal has been used for cultural, non secular, and political reasons. He unearths how what begun as biblical feedback grew to become a theological apologetic to reconcile faith with science—evolution in particular—and used to be later used to help 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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Extra resources for Adam's Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins
Paracelsus, for example, propelled by the sheer presence of newly discovered races, had inclinations toward polygenism, even though he struggled to keep his thoughts within the confines of the biblical account of creation. ” As he further explained: “the children of Adam did not inhabit the whole world. That is why some hidden countries have not been populated by Adam’s children, but through another creature, created like men outside of Adam’s creation. ” Rather, their origins could be tracked to one of the three sources that constituted his tripartite cosmological scheme: The regions of the heavens are three; three of air; the water Is divided into three; the earth is divided into three parts.
Similarly, Jean Bodin thought of primitive Europeans as just that, primitive, and considered that the Bible was only concerned with “the origins of that people whom God alone chose . . ”50 In all these cases mapping was an inherently moral project, a rhetorical device to mark out the terrain between savagery and civilization, between otherness and familiarity. Of course, there were significant differences between the monstrous races from the Old World’s margins and those that surfaced in the imagined spaces Beginnings: Questioning the Mosaic Record 17 Fig.
53 Nothing could be further from the truth. In the half-century or so after Columbus’s venture, the debate on the nature and status of the American peoples was engaged and nowhere so conspicuously as in the papal junta at Valladolid, Spain, in 1550, when the doyen of Spanish Aristotelian scholarship, the humanist Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, and the former Dominican vicar of Guatemala and now bishop of Chiapa, Bartolomé de Las Casas, vigorously disputed the subject of how the American Indians should be treated by Europeans.