Adams Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins

Professor David Livingstone FBA
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There was a problem with saving your item s for later. You can go to cart and save for later there. Average rating: 0 out of 5 stars, based on 0 reviews Write a review. Tell us if something is incorrect. Book Format: Choose an option. With this geneticists had announced that the line between the human and non-human-crucial to religious and scientific beliefs about the novelty of our species-was in fact more porous than we thought. Of course this is not the first time that scientific investigations into human descent disrupted the line between human and non-human ancestry, and with it belief in the uniqueness of our species.

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In the mid 19th century, before Darwin challenged the world to consider humans had descended from primates, a significant debate developed over whether or not present day humans were the offspring of a shared ancestor monogenesis or whether the various "races" possessed their own exclusive forbearers polygenesis. Out of this debate emerged an idea called "pre-Adamite theory" which claimed that Africans, Asians, and Native American populations were "pre-humanoid forms" created separately from Europeans and with no ties to "Adam's" ancestral linage- thought to be the exclusive inheritance of whites.

Nott who claimed that "the races" were utterly different human types.

Adam's Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins – By David N. Livingstone

About the Author David N. His reasoning behind the latter suggestions was, in part, a consequence of his conviction that Adam was only the father of the Jews and that it was on account of their forbidden intermarriage with gentiles that they were judged by flood. It informs and leaves you with more questions than when you started. In some other casessuch as the medieval Jewish Midrash literature and in Cabalistic writingshints of the same class of idea are discernible in commentaries that speculated about the possible existence of other worlds, separate from this one but existing prior to and independently of it. America, in this sense, was imagined before it was discovered. Island; Cap Farvel was shown crucially separated by a stretch of ocean from Newfoundland. But the fact is that La Peyrre had opened the door to a more general anthropological polygenism, which was taken up in one way or another in generations to come.

Pre-Adamite theory thus became a useful strategy to account for the perceived intellectual, cranial, linguistic, and moral discrepancies between European and non-European populations, while also maintaining the veracity of biblical knowledge. Moreover, it proved effective for drawing the line between which populations were or were not truly "human.

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If much of this sounds absurdly distant to modern readers it is because the gradual acceptance of Darwinian biology during the early 20th century and, later, the development of the "Out of Africa" hypothesis put a moratorium on most pre-Adamite ideas. Yet the synthesis of Darwinian biology and evolutionary genetics did not entirely bring an end to the debate between monogenists and polygenists over the shared ancestry of all modern day humans. During the late 's, a group of geneticists led by Milford H. Wolpoff proposed a "multiregional hypothesis" as an alternative explanation to the "Out of Africa" theory.

Adam's Ancestors

Wolpoff's group wanted to say that humans might have also evolved from other ancestral hominids living in regions outside of Africa already. Recent blogosphere and public reactions to the discovery of Neanderthal admixture in some humans but not others has potentially brought new life to old debates over the multiple origins of the various races that echo concerns voiced by 19th century proponents of pre-Adamite theory.

A number of social conservatives have played up the fact that Europeans, rather than Africans, possess Neanderthal DNA. Just days after the discovery of the Neanderthal genome a majority of bloggers on the white supremacist website Stormfront.

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Adam's Ancestors ; Race, Religion, and the Politics of Hu and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. In this engaging and provocative work, David N. Livingstone traces the history of the idea of non-adamic humanity, and the debates surrounding it, from the. Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins human beings inhabited the Earth before, or alongside, Adam, and their descendants still occupy the planet.

Several even shared the sentiment conveyed by an anonymous blogger who suggested that:. It may be that in a few hundred years so little will remain of these genes that we will be inseparable from the lower form of human i. Interestingly, white supremacists have understood their genetic bond with the evolutionarily primitive Neanderthal as a mark of lauded genetic distinction and biological superiority.

We can see here how the idea that human life began in Africa doesn't preclude beliefs about the biological inferiority of present day African populations. It is clear from Creationist blogs that explicit belief in pre-Adamites is a thing of the past for those Christians who firmly believe in the common ancestry of all humans. However, it seems that Creationist bloggers have taken the recent discovery about "pre-human" DNA within our bloodlines to redraw the distinction between humans and non-humans. In fact several Creationist claim Neanderthals are fully human.

Pre-Adamite

Listeners' reaction to NPR's coverage of the Neanderthal Genome Project were a bit more measured, but inevitably concerns similar to those expressed by the Creationists and Stormfront bloggers were peppered throughout the discussion. Abel the hunter, Cain the planter. And Cain killed off his brother Abel. In this engaging and provocative work, David N. Livingstone traces the history of the idea of non-adamic humanity, and the debates surrounding it, from the Middle Ages to the present day. From a multidisciplinary perspective, Livingstone examines how this alternative idea has been used for cultural, religious, and political purposes.

He reveals how what began as biblical criticism became a theological apologetic to reconcile religion with science--evolution in particular--and was later used to support arguments for white supremacy and segregation. From heresy to orthodoxy, from radicalism to conservatism, from humanitarianism to racism, Adam's Ancestors tells an intriguing tale of twists and turns in the cultural politics surrounding the age-old question, "Where did we come from?

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