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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 405)...

    Ishmael says he knows of no biblical scholar who interprets the Genesis stories of the Fall and Cain and Abel the way he does. Is it "established" that these stories originated among Semitic witnesses to these events, or did you arrive at this hypothesis by deduction? I ask not because I find the explanation unpalatable by any means but, rather to find out if there are any fairly digestible books on that subject which you could recommend.

    ...and the response:

    It is not (and cannot imaginably ever be) "established" that the stories in question originated among Semitic witnesses to the events described. Since we're talking about societies that existed thousands of years before the invention of writing, evidence that would establish such a thing simply cannot exist. The theory that the stories originated among people with a fundamentally different worldview from ours is my own, and is based on no theory expressed in earlier writing (so I'm afraid I have no books to suggest to you).


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