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Month 9:10, Week 2:1 (Rishon/Pesach), Year:Day 5939:246 AM
2Exodus 1/40
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 1 December 2014
Yesod haB'riah II
The Genesis Foundation of Creation

    Continued from Part 1

    Introduction - the First Choice of Belief

    There is nothing quite as important as accurate information on origins. We all want to know where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. Christians and Messianics rely heavily on the Creation account of Genesis in cementing the answer to the first of these three questions. How we view Genesis, and in particular the first two chapters, really determines our entire salvation theology and therefore way of life. Though this may sometimes be challenging in an age of scepticism in anything so much as hinting at the supernatural origins of our universe, it's a choice we do have to make. We must either choose to believe that Yahweh exists and is the Creator or we must decide, as materialists, naturalists and atheists do, that nature is all there is.

    Yah'shua Affirms Genesis

    As followers of Yah'shua (Jesus) we must view and implement the Tanakh (Old Testament) as He did. Germaine to our study today is that Yah'shua (Jesus), who claimed to be Elohim (God), affirmed the literal existence of Adam and Eve:

      "And He (Yah'shua/Jesus) answered and said to them, 'Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what Elohim (God) has joined together, let not man separate'" (Matt.19:3-7, NKJV; cp. Gen.1:27; 5:2; also Mk.10:2-9).

    Accepting or Rejecting Yah'shua's Witness

    Given that Yah'shua (Jesus) also affirmed the existence of Adam's son Abel (Lk.11:51), Noah and the Flood (Mt.24:37-39; Lk.17:26-27), Abraham (Jn.8:56-58) and Sodom and Gomorrah (Mt.10:15; 11:23-24), then we have to accept that He accepted Genesis as literal history. All that remains for us to do is to choose whether or not we accept His witness of this history. And that must include the Creation story found in the first two chapters of Genesis.

    My Approach to Life and Questions

    I am both a theologian and a scientist (a Biochemist, in fact) with obviously a great interest in both, with a deep interest in history, politics, philosophy and psycholgy. I suppose you could call me an intellectual 'omnivore' and care more for the free space offered by the Besorah (Gospel) for reflection than I do to push a 'brand' of church or messianic assembly, even though I espouse one (NCAY). So I like people who are not close-minded but without being so open they let their brains fall out of their head. I'll listen to all sides of an argument no matter what religious and philosophical label a person wears but won't given anyone carte blanche. I very much believe in the dictum of Henri J.M.Nouwen who said:

      "When we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative."

    Are You Connected to Source?

    The way people talk, argue and conduct themselves in general tells you a lot about what they are connected to, or what they are not connected to. I can usually tell whether it's possible to get anywhere with someone in a discussion if they operate Nouwen's way or not. Theological correctness is important but it isn't the main thing - being connected to Source - the Creator - is the primary thing. But simply saying you are connected thus because you believe in God, Yahweh, Yah'shua, Jesus, etc. doesn't necessarily mean you are. The Besorah (Gospel) is no mere intellectual proposition. Recently one man, who claims to be a very spiritually connected prophet, openly condemned me and called me to repentance, accusing me of blasphemy for 'denying the Holy Spirit' simply because I didn't accept his charismatic mumbo-jumbo. When that failed to phase me he went on to condemn my 'satanic-looking beard'. He has a vast website of visions, revelations and prophecies but his lack of connectedness to reality, including his totally false evaluation of my heart, bespoke a man who was not merely disconnected to the true Source but to something else more ominous. His obnoxious way of treating people and falsely accusing them is, alas, common who trust their own mental acumen than they do the actual Ruach (Spirit) as they suppose. And we should not be surprised to learn that he is a loner, a part of no congregation and not accountable to anyone but himself.

    An Intellectual Omnivore

    I was once an atheist and a Darwinist. As a believer now of nearly 40 years I take a tremendous interest in both the spiritual and natural worlds and have come to the inescapable conclusion that it takes orders of magnitude more emunah (faith) to believe in atheism and Darwinism than it does to believe in the Creator and creationism [1]. And though I am today mostly concerned about right belief based on accurate information, I wish it known that I follow the Nouwen paradigm should anyone disagree. We're all learning. So I reaffirm - I am, at least in the way I approach information (and there's a great deal of that these days thanks to the information revolution) - that I am an intellectual omnivore of sorts.

    Which Creation Account and Which Creator?

    Back to Genesis. It is true that there are different non-biblical accounts of creation in the religious world. Each believes creation came about through the instrumentality of other creators, and whilst some of these have a superficial resemblance to the Genesis account they are all fundamentally different. So whilst, for example, Genesis has some superficial resemblances to the Epic of Gilgamesh, there are substantial differences and the character of the creators are widely different. Having had a long journey through religious systems before I found Messiah and having compared these creation myths, I am content to lump them together with the modern secular myth of evolution which I unapologetically call the 'fairy godmother faith' not withstanding its pseudo-scientific sophistry and all the silly, childish and frankly rage [2] of atheists like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens. [3]

    Grasping the Hebrew Mindset

    I therefore take the carefully considered view that the Bible is both authoritative in matters of emunah (faith) and practice, in history and in science where it is indeed being literal and scientific and not simply poetic. Many believers and atheistic critics alike make the mistake of confusing poetry, allegory and metaphor for the literal and assume the text is saying one thing when it is saying something else. And one of the confusions for Western man in particular, with his literalist scientific bias, is that he typically fails to grasp what, for example, the author of the Creation narrative in the first two chapters of Genesis is saying, because he does not understand the Hebrew mindset.

    An Illustration - Saved by the Blood

    Thus when Christians speak of being "justified by His (Messiah's) blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Rom.5:9, NKJV) we are not saying that we are saved by the biochemicals of Yah'shua's (Jesus') blood plasma, or by His erythrocytes (red blood cells) or by the haemoglobin in those cells, but rather by the life force that is within this blood of the Elohim-Man (Gen.9:4; Lev.17:11,14; Dt.12:23). "My dahm (blood) has eternal chayim (life)" (John 6:54, NKJV), Yah'shua (Jesus) said, and those who do not "drink" this blood cannot themselves possess that eternal chayim (life) that was provided for them (vv.53-56). We know this is not literal if for no other reason that the Old Covenant forbade the drinking of blood of any creature, and for Yah'shua (Jesus) to have commanded what would have ammounted to cannibalism and lawlessness would have caused Him to break the Torah (Law) and to therefore fail in His mission. The imagery is symbolic but designed to shock the human listener into realising that salvation required a very particular kind of intimacy with the Saviour.

    What Part of Adam was Eve Made From?

    The creation of Adam and Eve, which we are going to be examining closely, poses similar questions of interpretation. The essence, though, is that Eve (Havah) was created out of Adam's essential being and this is described, somewhat poetically but also, arguably, literally, as the surgical removal of Adam's tsela whilst he was supernaturally anaesthetised (put into a deep sleep), and from this tsela Eve was created of his material and psychic substance. The word tsela can, as we shall see, be translated in two similar yet different ways which has forced translators to pick one or the other meaning. Because Bible translators tend to be of the Western mindset, they ususally choose the word that best fits their expectations, and whilst the choice is not necessarily wrong, it is not necessarily completely right either.

    Locating of the Kingdom of Elohim

    I like to cite the example of Yah'shua's (Jesus') description of the Kingdom relative to the believer's part in it when He said (in a typical English rendition):

      "The kingdom of Elohim (God) does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of Elohim (God) is within (Gk. entos) you" (Luke 17:20-21, NKJV).

    Clean the Inside

    Unfortunately, this is only half the story, and if we are content to merely accept this rendering as it stands, we only have one of two co-existing dimensions of emet (truth) concerning the Kingdom. The Greek word entos is used only twice in the Greek translation of the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament), the other location being Matthew 23:26:

      "Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside (Gk. entos) of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean" (Matt 23:26, NIV).

    Preoccupation With Outer Things

    Here Yah'shua (Jesus) is faulting the Pharisees for their pre-occupation with their outer appearance, and specifically with outer cleanliness, whilst neglecting the inner man. He is not faulting them for being clean outside but for priorestising the outside over the inside, instead of the other way round. But more than that, we are being taught the radical emet (truth) that the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) has to begin on the inside through spiritual regeneration or rebirth and then manifest or work its way outwardly in daily living. Both are important, but the changes required in the spiritual life in order to be in right relationship with Yahweh must begin from within, or it is useless.

    Resurrection and the Inner Condition

    You cannot impose the Besorah (Gospel) externally through the enforcement of mitzvot (commands) for it to have any validity beyond this life, for we cannot take the external body, or its surrounding life, into the resurrection and the immaterial world. Both have to be shed at death and what matters is only what's on the inside - the spirit.

    The Other Extreme - Inside Only?

    Unfortunately there is another extreme in Christianity, which leads to existentialism and therefor lawlessness, that says only the inside matters because that's what counts in the resurrection. They're wrong. What's on the outside counts too so long as we are in this mortal sphere and we are not absolved of the responsibility of also manifesting that inner life outwardly. To illustrate with a crude example, would you want to be in the vicinity of a really spiritual preacher who never washed, changed his clothes, or brushed his teeth? No, the outer matters, because the goal - once we are saved - it to be witnesses outwardly too and to manifest the living Messiah in us wherever we are in our personality characteristics and by our works. What we do - or don't do- outwardly most certainly refects attitudes, good and bad. The inner alone matters for eternity but the outer matters a lot for mortality too. And since we are most certainly to be judged by our outer works (Rev.20:12-13), then by extension obviously the outer impacts eternity too.

    Moving From Within to Without

    So the primary meaning is, indeed, "within" or "inside". Now the interesting thing about entos [4] is that it also contains within itself the sense that 'within-ness' also moves 'without', which only, to my knowledge, the Amplified Bible properly captures and expresses:

      "For behold the Kingdom of Elohim (God) is within you (in your hearts) and among you (surrounding you)" (Lk.17:21, Amp.V.)

    The Ruach Dynamic

    The Kingdom is within but it's not supposed to remain there. It has to move outwards because the Ruach Mashiach or Spirit of Christ is not static but dynamic, changing from within but also moving out to create an environment around the person who possess it, sanctifying that environment and drawing others into it by its attractive force. And in a third sense, Yah'shua (Jesus), who was physically present when those words were spoken, was likewise reflective of that double dimension: He was both outside and believer but (and primarily) He was within the believer too. The King and the Kingdom are both inside (first and foremost) and outside.

    Eve Both Inside and Outside Adam and Messiah

    This was also true of Eve. She was originally 'in' Adam but had to be brought 'out'. And after she was brought forth, she was both outside and remained in Adam because she was of Him - she was echad or one with him. This is a deep mystery but a critically important one to be aware of. In the same way we have been physically separated by mortality from the resurrected Messiah yet, because we have accepted Him and have been born agtain, we are inside Him still. And we long for the day when (if we die first) we shall be reunited with Him spiritually and in spiritual 'space' in the world of spirits or (if we are alive when He comes) we shall be reunited with Him when He returns physically. But not only with Him, but with all the qodeshim (saints, holy ones, set-apart ones) too who are returning with Him in the clouds.

    The Nature of Ribs

    There are many strands of emet (truth) to be held simultaneously in front of us if we are to understand the richness and depth of Yahweh's revelation to us. So how was Eve 'made'? What did the 'operation' - which was physical and spiritual - consist of? We are only given one word to work with, and that word is tsela, usually translated as "rib". And whilst symbolically and poetically the rib is supposed to imply closeness, nearness or intimacy in terms of a female companion being at Adam's 'side', it is also literal and we must not become overpowered by the symbolic alone. Remember that ribs aren't just at the 'side' but they also extend right round to the spinal column and right round to the front of the body too. Are we to deduce from this, as some might be tempted to do, that Eve was more than a companion 'at Adam's side' or might she also 'encompass' him too? Since Adam is the protector, provider and governor (ruler) of his wife, that hardly fits sacred tavnith (pattern). Indeed I was quite surprised to find an unofficial Mormon women's website so twisting the scriptures by taking metaphors beyond their intended meaning to imply that the wife is also her husband's 'power' and 'protector'. Coming from a traditionally conservative and patriarchal church organisation, I was a little surprised to hear echoes of Wiccanism sounding in the words I read, but that's what was being claimed.

    One Rib or a Whole Set of Twelve?

    But tsela, like entos, has more than one sense, because it can also mean a whole side and therefore the whole row of a dozen ribs! So whilst it can, and does, refer to a single rib, it can also - simultaneously or alternatively - refer to more than one. To do the text justice we have to consider both meanings together in the same way that we looked at the double meaning of entos. And that, unfortunately, is a road that most Christians and Messianics do not want to go down because of its implications. As ones professing to be seekers after emet (truth) we cannot choose to ignore this but must deal with it whether we like it or not. Obviously many questions must be asked, most will turn out to be invalid but some will be relevent. It is important to be rigorous and not, as many pop theologians do, try to make a fuss about something that is not there.

    Primary Meaning

    Let's first dispense with the myths. The lie is often told that because Adam donated a rib, women have an extra pair. Not so as any anatomist will tell you. Both men and women have 24 ribs, that is to say, 12 pairs of ribs. And if we are going to be pedantic like the myth-makers, then Adam should have 23 ribs and an assymetric rib cage, which of course neither he nor the male gender in general have. This ought to be an important clue to us about the symbolic nature of tsela in Eve's creation narrative.

    Structure of the Rib Cage

    The first seven ribs join the breastbone or sternum in the centre of the chest while the front ends of the 8th, 9th and 10th pairs are connected to the ribs above them. The 11th and 12th pairs are called 'floating ribs' because they are anchored in place only by connective tissue. Now it is true that one in every hundred people have an extra pair of ribs making a total of 13 pairs or 26 ribs. These are called cervical ribs because they arise from one of the spinal bones (cervical vertebrae) in the neck. But that's an anomaly that is beyond the scope if this study. As for the nephilim, who are known to have had 12 fingers and 12 toes, it is possible they had an extra pair of ribs too. But we don't know that yet.

    Regeneration, Inheritance and Blood

    This does not mean that a rib was not literally taken from Adam and it does not mean either that Adam didn't have one less rib or pair of ribs than Eve. Just as cropping a dog's tail doesn't mean that its offspring will have cropped tails, or amputing a finger means subsequent children will be missing a finger, so Adam missing a rib or two wouldn't mean that Cain, Seth or Abel were one short when they were born. We also know that ribs can regenerate so Adam's loss may only have been temporary, or the regeneration may have been instantaneous. Further, taking a rib from Adam doesn't mean one was being added to Eve so that she would have more. Eve was a physical de novo creation from that one rib (or chunk-of-side) or whatever that rib or side represents. Women in any case have different bone structure to men - narrower rib cages, smaller teeth, less angular mandibles and less pronounced cranial features to mention a few, so it wouldn't necessarily be a matter of 'adding' to Adam's donated rib. Though we don't know, an entirely different or even unknown process may have taken place. We know from cellular biochemistry that theoretically it ought to be possible to recreate an organism from its DNA and certainly from a stem cell though it has not, as far as I know, not been done yet.

    Ribs and Blood Stem Cells

    One important item we need to remember about a rib is that it is a bone and that it contains marrow where blood is manufactured. Within that single rib, Eve would have been given, as a foundation, blood-manufacturing capacity. And you will recall that chayim or life is resident in the blood. In other words, the ability to reproduce the life force was given to Eve from Adam. The marrow inside a bone contains haematopoietic stem cells and like all stem cells they can self-renew or copy themselves. They produce all the different kinds of specialised blood cells found in blood, both red (erythrocytes) and white (phagocyces): NK-cells, T-cells, B-cells, dendritic cells, megakaryocytes, platelets, erthyrocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils:

    Eve Made From Adam's Blood Manufacturing System

    The point of Eve being made out of Adam is that one life is made out of another life, in the same way that the regenerated believer is made out of the life of Messiah, and then lives a life in Messiah rather than in himself:

      "I have been crucified with Messiah; it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me; and the chayim (life) which I now live in the flesh I live by emunah (faith) in the Son of Elohim (God), who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal.2:20, NKJV).

    Blood is the agent and carrier of chayim (life) and that comes from the man, Adam, just as scripturallly only men do the "begetting" of children and never the women. There are many levels of revelation here and it is easy to mix them up. However, I simply wished to point out that the key element of the tsela or rib that Eve received from Adam was the capacity to manifacture blood and therefore reproduce chayim (life).

    The Creation of Eve

    Having looked somewhat at the structure of the rib case and the contents of ribs themselves, it is now time for us to take a very close look at the creation accounts in Genesis. As this study could potentially fill a whole book, we're going to limit this examination to Genesis 2:21-25 and take this further another time as the opportunity presents itself. My intention today is not necessarily to arrive at to any definite or final conclusions but at the very least to present possibilities for further study and prayer which we can take up again later.

    The Lilith Question

    So what we're not going to do is to examine the claim that Adam had a first wife called Lilith, who was made evil because Lucifer interfered in the creation process, and was replaced by a new wife, Eve. Unlike Eve who was taken from Adam's rib, it is claimed in the rabbinic myths that Lilith was made from the dust of the earth in the same way as Adam, but subsequently rebelled and wanted to be in toqef (authority) over her husband. This is the subject matter of a very controversial book by Mark Biggs [5] which, whilst it is packed with a lot of interesting information, does rest on some major untestable eisegetical assumptions and leans too heavily on various Talmudic and Mesopotamian mythologies and traditions for my liking. He believes that Lilith was the Serpent who got her revenge for being banished by tempting Adam and Eve with the forbidden fruit even though John and Paul each identify the Serpent as Satan himself (Rev.12:9; 20:2; 2 Cor.11:3). My continuing position, based on the available evidence, may be found in a study [6] prepared four years ago.

    The Sumerian Legend of Enki and Nin-ti

    While we are on the subject of ribs and mythologies I ought perhaps to mention there is a Sumerian myth concerning the god Enki which in some ways parallels the Genesis account, and from which it could have borrowed, at least in the pre-Mosaic oral form which Moses based his own account on. Enki finds himself suffering from a series of ailments, to deal with each of which the goddess Ninhursag produces a special goddess. Thus when he says 'My rib (ti) hurts me' [7], she has caused a goddess Nin-ti or 'Lady of the Rib' to be born for him. But the Sumerian Nin-ti can equally mean 'Lady who makes live'. Whether Nin-ti was taken out of Enki in the form of one his ribs is not clear but possible. At any rate, as in Hebrew, there is a link between 'rib' and 'side' which as we have seen is important.

    Just How Many Ribs Were Used?

    A new and potenetially dangerous doctrine is now arising in the Christian/Messianic polygamy movement which claims, the Lilith story aside, that Elohim (God) created not one Eve but several. They have, to give them credit, uncovered some interesting and hitherto uncommented on facts about the Hebrew text of the creation account of Eve which I am going to examine in a moment, but I would suggest have seriously misinterpreted it. Their thesis is, basically, that more than one literal tsela or "rib" was taken from Adam's side, indeed a whole chunk of ribs (the conservative view) to as much as one whole side (the liberal view). In this model the claim is inferred that Adam had anywhere from 2 to 12 wives in Eden.

    The Messianic Story Line

    How, them, do they deal with the fact that only one woman is ever mentioned in the Garden of Eden? By suggesting that either Eve (Havah) is a collective name much as "Adam" can both refer to the first man, 'Adam', as well as to male human beings in general ('adams'/'men'). Another way they view the absence of any other women being mentioned in the Garden narrative is to point out that the Bible focuses all attention on the messianic lineage to the exclusion of others whose stories might otherwise pique our curiosity. Thus Ishmael, who was not in the messianic line, is mentioned in the context of Isaac, who was. Once Hagar and Ishmael are expelled from Abraham's camp, they are almost never heard of again, except very obliquely. Thus, the argument runs, there were two or more women in the Garden but since all but Eve played any sort of rôle in the messianic story, they are not heard of again. They're simply unimportant to the messianic storyline.

    Meagre Data

    I find these claims hard to believe. The claim that there might have been more than one woman wandering around Eden is very important but there is not so much as a hint of these, neither in Genesis not in any legend or myth with the exception of Lilith. You have to stretch very meagre data and flesh it out with a large dollop of imagination to make the claim stick. The polygamy movement community seems very divided about this, as one might expect of a subject for which there is a paucity of material. Many, indeed, confuse the Jewish legend storyline of Lilith (who was made like Adam out of the dust) with the second storyline of several women being taken out of Adam's side. You can't claim that Lilith was made out of the dust and taken from Adam's side.

    The Multiple Eves Hypothesis Critiqued

    There are a whole string of theological problems associated with the 'Multiple Eves' Hypothesis. We will look at the linguistic issues in a moment and discover they are pointing to something other than multiple Eves. What happened to the other alleged wives after the Fall? None are mentioned which you would have though was rather an important matter but there is not so much as a hint of them. Secondly, nothing is spoken of Adam having plural helpmeets, just a singular helpmeet, 'ezer k'negdô (Gen.2:18,20). If several wives were made simultaneously (which you have to assume unless there were multiple operations which no one seems to be claiming) then Adam would have woken up to many women, and not one, and been fascinated by them all - yet only one is ever mentioned who engages his attention and wonderment. Thirdly, if there had been more than one woman, Paul would have been obliged to add something more to his statement to Timothy like:

      "And Adam was not deceived, but one of the women being deceived, fell into transgression" (1 Tim 2:13-14, NKJV)

    And if all alleged wives had been deceived, it would have had to have been worded even more specifically:

      "And Adam and the other women/wives were not deceived, but one of the women being deceived, fell into transgression" (1 Tim 2:13-14, NKJV)

    Sidetracks

    However you try to spin it, later biblical texts that point back to Eden and the Fall become nonsensical if you use this model. You could, of course, side-track this issue by denying Paul, as some messianics do, but this does not alter the fact that historically Israel has always believed Eve was a singular woman. And so, apparently, did Yah'shua (Jesus), whom you can hardly sidestep. However, those modern Ebionites who reject Paul tend to do so because they think he is anti-Torah (which he is not) and to date I have never heard anyone raise an objection to 1 Timothy 2:13-14:

      "For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression" (1 Tim.2:13-14, NKJV).

    Do Multiple Eves Resolve the Incest Problem of the Next Generation?

    My point, essentially, is that to create multiple or polygamous Eves creates more problems than it solves. About the only contentious issue it might resolve would be the problem of 'incest' when it came to Adam and Eve's offspring getting married. However, it seems to be that conventional evangelical and messianic explanations are adequate so there is no need to resort to a theory which demands a supply of half-siblings as marriageable stock. Though this was the time of no written Torah (or at least Moses' Torah, as we have no clue what existed before the Flood), we do know there was some sort of Torah before Moses. The genetic pool was not, in any case, so corrupt at this time as it is today and there was no written statute that we know of forbidding close marriage (Lev.18:7-17). So there is no need to raise an accusation of potential 'incest' and then demand offspring of several wives to provide suitable spouses for Adam and Eve's children - marrying a half-brother or half-sister would, by Mosaic standards, be too closely related anyway, so Adamic polygamy does not solve this imaginary 'problem'.

    Unhealthy Speculation

    Therefore I do not believe that there is any need to invoke multiple wives for Adam to prevent incest by Adam's children. The existence of several Adamic wives in Eden causes huge problems for the Fall and for redemption, not to mention divine tavnith (pattern). It is, of course, possible to speculate, by claiming the other wives were left behind in Eden, who were not tempted in the first place, but there is no evidence of that either. Without concrete Scriptural facts we are in danger of making things up as we go along.

    The Apparent Paradox: Genesis 2:21-15

    That said, there are some very interesting things in the Genesis text about the creation of Eve that we need to look at, that seem to point, if not to multiple wives in Eden, then at least to the principle of plurality in the divine scheme of things for the future of mankind. It's as though the principle of polygamy is embedded in the text without actually referring to polygamous persons.

    Future Polygamy Embedded in an Monogamous Historical Account?

    Whether or not you accept this postulate, though, still requires an adequate explanation for the way the text is laid out in Hebrew. Since the evidence is clear that only one pair of humans ever lived in Eden, an explanation for the text must be provided which includes latent polygamy, as it were, down the future timeline. And the only explanation as far as I can see is that it is saying that contained within the undoubted monogamous relationship of Adam and Eve, which will repeat down the generations as the default form of marriage ordained by Yahweh, is a prophetic pointer to a more complex form or marriage ordained for certain persons in the future in the messianic line and beyond too. I am thinking, naturally, of Jacob in particular who would become the polygamous forefather of the eternal Twelve Tribes of Israel, whose names are written on the Twelve Gates of the New Jerusalem, and of King David whose seven legitimate wives were a prophetic pointer to some sacred tavnith (pattern) in the creation and thus in the Creator Himself.

    The Traditional Genesis 2:21-25 Rendering

    If this is not the correct explanation - if the text is not speaking of multiple Eves - then what could the Hebrew (which we are about to study) possibly mean? Why is the Hebrew written in the strange way that it is? Is there some prophetic element that has been entirely missed by generations of translators and scriptorians? Let's start by looking at the passage in question, Genesis 2:21-25, which we are now going to carefully dissect. I have highlighted and numbered the 'Adam's tsela or "rib"'-quotation but I have also highlighted or emboldened a number of other interesting words that are related to this whole question. We'll begin by looking at the New Kings James Version:

      "And Yahweh-Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib ta (alef-taw) which Yahweh-Elohim had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said [^^]:

        'This is now bone of my bones
        And flesh of my flesh;
        She shall be called Woman,
        Because she was taken out of Man.'

      "Therefore a man shall leave ta (alef-taw) his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife , and were not ashamed" (Gen.2:21-25, NKJV; ta restored from ATOT).

    The Mysterious Alef-Taw

    There is a great more to this passage, in this traditional translation, than meets the eye. First, a couple of letters, ta (alef-taw), are always left untranslated in our English Bibles. Literally translated 'et, the word doesn't actually mean anything so it has been assumed that it is a grammatical device that emphasises the word it is linked to. There are hundreds of these scattered throughout the Tanakh (Old Testament) and they are consistently and universally ignored by translators [8]. Why? This is a title of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), "the Alef (a) (Alpha) and the Taw (t) (Omega), the Beginning and the End" (Rev.1:8, NKJV; also 21:6; 22:13). To understand this more fully, see the series of articles on this subject, and especially note that in Genesis 1 there are two of these after Elohim (God) and between the heavens and the earth which He created [9]. As is known, Yah'shua (Jesus) is the Elohim (God) who created the Cosmos, including therefore Adam and Eve. As Paul testified:

      "He (Yah'shua/Jesus) is the image of the invisible Elohim (God), the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Col.1:15-17, NIV).

    Revealing the Hidden Creator

    The appearance of ta (alef-taw) in the creation narrative of Eve, and specifically Adam's rib, is telling us not only that Yah'shua (Jesus) was the Divine Surgeon in this operation but also that this is a heavenly tavnith that we can expect to be reflected elsewhere in Creation. But this isn't the only location of ta (alef-taw) in our text - it also appears between the man (Adam), or indeed all men, when they leave home to get married. There is an allusion here, which I need to prime you with, to prepare you for later observations in this study, of the Heavenly Man, Yah'shua (Jesus), leaving the Heavenly Realm to come to earth to eventually marry His uniplural or polygamous Bride, the Messianic Community (Church), at the end of the age. So there is a separation in order to effect a union. And the same tavnith (pattern) is being repeated with Adam and Eve - she too must be separated from her master in order to be reunited with him in a different way - as a separate entity. We too were separated from Messiah when we left the pre-mortal life to come to earth, and we return to Him by accepting His free salvation and agreeing to the betrothal covenant which is obedience to His Torah.

    The Central Importance of Uniplurality

    This Messianic Bride is both singular and plural, consisting of millions of the redeemed who are pictured as 'one' bride, that is, an echad or uniplural bride. This concept of uniplurality is vitally important for us to understand if we are to make proper sense of the Hebrew Scriptures. When we look at Eve, we see a single bride of Adam but we simultaneously see the billions of her offspring, of whom a portion will become the polygamous Messianic Bride as the incarnated spirits of the pre-mortal world. Bear in mind, then, that the Messianic Union is both monogamous and polygamous, where Eve represents the monogamous bride (reflected in matriarchs like Rebekah and Asenath who were also monogamous brides to their husbands, Isaac and Joseph, respectively), and the saved Body of Messiah as a whole represents the polygamous brides, for we are many (reflected in matriarchs like Sarah, Rachel & Leah, Abigail & Achinoam and others who were polygamous wives to their husbands Abraham, Jacob and David, respectively). As we shall see now in our text, this uniplurality is preserved and revealed in a very distinctive way even though there is only one marriage companion to Adam. Adam and Eve are the primal fractal unit [6] of something far, far larger.

    A Deliberately Untranslated Chunk of Hebrew?

    I have no problem with traditional translations of our passage (like the NKJV) except that they all omit two important ta's (alef-taw's) and ignore the literal grammar of the text. The claim by some who espouse the 'Multiples Eves' and 'Lilith Hypotheses' that a chunk of Hebrew has been left untranslated, where I have marked the passage [^^], I cannot, as yet, find any evidence for. Curiously these same investigators seem unaware of the untranslated ta's (alef-taw's) in the same text, or otherwise choose not to refer to them even though these would actually boost their hypothesis that controversial text has been left deliberately untranslated. But we shall return to that in a moment.

    Challenging the Traditional Translation of Genesis 2:21-25

    What we are being asked to endorse by the currently unknown author is this challenging new translation whose main changes I have numbered within the text from [i] to [ix] for rapid identification and analysis:

      "And Yahweh-Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one Echat (plural form) [i] of his side bones [ii], and closed up the flesh there; And the side with the bone, which Yahweh-Elohim had taken from man, he made woman, and brought to the man. And Adam said, [at this reoccurrence] [iii]:

        'These [iv] standing in front of my face are bones [v] of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: they shall be called Ishah (woman) [vi], because THESE [iv] were taken out of her Husband [vii].

      "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife/wives (ISHTO) [viii] and they shall be Echad (one) flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife/wives (ISHTO) [ix], and they were not ashamed" (Gen.2:21-25). [10]

    Such a controversial translation needs to be examined carefully. We shall look at this author's analysis and add our own comments.

    i. Echat vs. Echad

    "And Yahweh-Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one Echat (plural form) [i]

    [i] This is the plural ending form of the familiar echad meaning 'one' or 'unity', as, for example, Genesis 1:9:

      "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one (echad) place"...

    Here the singular form (echad) is used, whereas in our passage is it plural echat with a taw (t) ending instead of the singular dalet (d) ending, the implication being that two or more "side bones" or "ribs" (Heb. tsela) are being removed. And yet if you look at the West Leningrad and the Biblie Stuttgartensia manuscripts, the word for "one" in Genesis 2:24 is exactly the same as the word "one" in Genesis 1:9, namely the singular echad with a dalet:

      "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one (echad) flesh" (Gen.2:24, NKJV).

      "Then Elohim (God) said, 'Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one (echad) place, and let the dry land appear'; and it was so" (Gen.1:9, NKJV).

    So what manuscript is the AWAP ('Adam-Was-A-Polygamist') apologist using?

    ii. Sidebones and Tabernacle Sides

    "...and he took one Echat (plural form) [i] of his side bones [ii], and closed up the flesh there; And the side with the bone, which Yahweh-Elohim had taken from man, he made woman, and brought to the man".

    [ii] The NIV renders Genesis 2:21 "he took one of the man's ribs", like almost every English translation I have ever seen, but notes that the alternative translation of "he took part of the man's side" is also admissible [11]. From this the claim is made that since Yahweh took a chunk out of Adam's side, it could mean more than one rib was present, and therefore more than one potential wife. The claim is then made by the AWAP author that the same word is used in building the Tabernacle - for example:

      "And for the second side (tsela) of the tabernacle, the north side, there shall be twenty boards" (Ex.26:20, NKJV)

    And it is perfectly true - the word tsela can be, and is, translated in numerous passages that refer to the side of the tabernacle [12], the side of a hill (2 Sam.18:12) and to a side chamber or room (Ezek.41:5-9,11,26). One side of the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting was constructed with 20 pieces of wood (Ex.26:18,20) these would constitute a single tsela, unless the word is uniplural. However you look at it, you cannot say with any degree of certainty that one or twenty 'ribs' or 'planks' are involved, so the AWAP exegete is right: however, the only way we can know whether one or several ribs is meant (and therefore, women) is the context - and the p'shat or plain sense is that Eve alone is mentioned, and not several women. It seems to me that 'rib' or 'side' can be used in the same sense as referring to a single person, and that is why I am sceptical of the AWAP hypothesis. But let us continue.

    iii. At This Reoccurrence?

    [iii] The AWAP exegete has inserted the text, "at this reoccurrence" which appears in no English translation that I can find, nor can I find any Hebrew text that has been left untranslated. The implication of AWAP's insertion is, of course, that the rib operation is being repeated more than once. This is rather important for the Multiple Eve Hypothesis and if it is a fiction, then the weight of the evidence must at best indicate a 50:50 interpretation or point in the direction of a single woman, Eve. In one of my interlinears, The Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, if a piece of text is left untranslated because of uncertainty of meaning, it is simply marked as "***" [13]. However, the only ***** marks in this text are to the untranslated ta's (alef-taw's). Without this convenient (but imaginary) insertion, the Multiple Eve Hypothesis is considerably weakened, using conventional methods of textual analysis.

    However, the AWAP is not here, it seems, claiming that there is some untranslatable text like a lone floating alef-taw which translators have ignored but rather that meanings are to be derived from the ancient paleo-Hebrew pictograms that form the letters of each word:

    Thus in classical block-script or Ashri Hebrew text a name for Elohim (God), alef-lamed or 'strength', when examined in the earlier paleo-pictogram Hebrew, is seen to be made up of two symbols, an ox head (alef) representing 'strong' and a shepherd's staff (lamed) representing 'leader'. Thus the Hebrew word for 'leader' comes originally from two pictures meaning 'strong leader'. Likewise, in classical block-script Hebrew the word ab 'father', alef-bet, when examined in the earlier paleo-pictogram Hebrew, is seen to be made up of two symbols, an ox head (alef) representing 'strong' and a tent (bet) representing a 'house'. Thus the Hebrew word for 'father' comes originally from two pictures meaning 'strength of the house', that is to say, the 'strong protector of the home':

    Images courtesy of www.hebrew4christians.com

    Though it is true an analysis of the older pictograms can sometimes yield fascinating insights into the etymology of Hebrew words, this relatively new method is not a stand-alone exegetical principle of universal application to all Hebrew words as though it were a linguistic science of its own. The first rule of thumb of any exegesis has to be the p'shat or plain sense historical meaning before we can even think about moving on to others levels of meaning like remez (hint), drash/midrash (search) and sod (secret or mystical) modes. As I said, this is a relatively new and still not very systematic area of study wherein the pictograms are used to infer the latent meanings of various biblical terms, so great care must be taken as it is a relatively easy matter to descend into unhealthy speculation and doubtful interpretations. I am all for pursuing this kind of study provided it is done with caution.

    With this in mind let us carefully consider what the AWAP exegete claims:

      "...the word, haPaam in the ancient paleo-Hebrew hieroglyph has the character of the Heh, the Head for Peh, the Ayin to walk and Mem for plural waters [(mayim)], it means women standing in front of him. The Heh is not just a ‘The’ but “THESE” meaning more than one and that THEY were REPLACEMENTS for Lilith who had occured earlier".

    Since no mention of a 'Lilith' is anywhere so much as hinted at in the p'shat text, let us avoid such speculative eisegesis and simply let the letters speak for themselves. What is important to realise here is that the Hebrew MAYIM, meaning 'water' or 'waters', is a uniplural world like our English word 'sheep' which can mean either one sheep or many sheep. The fact that the pictogram for the letter mem means water(s) does not mean that there are several women standing in front of Adam in the context of our passage under study. The best one can infer is that the one woman, Eve, contains within her, the potential of many other women amongst her descendents. One woman is facing Adam but as the mother of the human race, she represents, first, all men and women after her, and only second, plural women on their own. On a tertiary level it can therefore be argued that she represented future polygamous women like Abraham, Jacob, and David's wives, but no more. The concept that these women were 'replacements' of anyone is pure speculation, the product of a fertile imagination predisposed to an hypothesis about the mystical Lilith, and may not, therefore, reasonably or even remotely be deduced from the hieroglyphs themselves.

    iv. These

    "...because THESE [iv] were taken..."

    [iv] References to 'these' in the AWAP version is likewise pure speculation. The p'shat is 'this' or 'that', not 'these'.

    v. Of Sides and Bones

    "...standing in front of my face are bones [v] of my bones, and flesh of my flesh..."

    [v] The Hebrew word in verse 22 tulx is properly rendered "sides" as it indicates plural planks as found in the Ark of the Covenant. Furthermore, the text says that the sxu or "bones" were taken out of Adam's side, and not the singular "bone". So we must conclude that either Eve was constructed of more than one rib/bone or that several Eves were formed from multiple ribs/bones. One thing we cannot now claim is that if there was only one Eve that only one rib/bone was used. This in turn renderes the text somewhat ambiguous and translatable in one of two ways according to your particular bias depending how you view the text surrounding these words.

    vi. Woman or Women?

    "...they shall be called Ishshah (woman) [vi], because THESE [iv] were taken out..."

    [vi] Though the Greek equivalent (gune) can be rendered 'woman' or 'women' (creating another set of problems in the Messianic Scriptures/New Testament), the Hebrew ishshah does have a plural form, ishim. The problem here is the AWAP translators wants us to believe that ishshah can also mean 'womankind' in the same way that theistic evolutionists want adam to mean 'mankind' rather than a single man. But in order to refer to the whole of humanity (or a portion thereof) the word for 'man' would have to be in the plural form, which it is not. Likewise, even if sucvh a category called 'womankind' existed in the Bible (which it does not), the word for 'woman' would have to be in the plural in Hebrew...which it is not. Therefore it is not possible for imaginary plural 'Eves' to be ishshah, which is in the singular.

    viii. & ix. Ishto

    "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife/wives (ISHTO) [viii] and they shall be Echad (one) flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife/wives (ISHTO), and they were not ashamed".

    A parallel passage in which the usage of ishto is well illustrated, shows that ishto is used in the singular sense, ve'simach et ishto, which means "shall rejoice in his wife" or "bring happiness to his wife" whom he has just married by being exempt from military service for a year (Dt.24:5, NKJV).

    The plural form of 'wife' or 'woman' (ishshah) in Hebrew is nashim (woman, wives), not ishot!

    When a man's wife is described as his own body, the term used is ishto ke-gufo, meaning they are 'one body' or guf echad. Ishto simply does not mean 'women' or 'wives' and certainly does not, in the Genesis passage, mean that Adam was echad or one with more than one Eve.


    SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

    Adam Was Not a Polygamist But Pointed Forwards to It

    To claim that Adam was a polygamist using the Genesis text is to grasp at straws - there is no textual warranty for such a claim. That said, the claim that the text hints at polygamy in the future, as a development of the monogamic state in Eden for certain men to enter special callings and reflect higher divine realities, by its use of tsela imagery, cannot lightly be dismissed. Certainly its importance is preserved for eternity in the layout of the Twelve Gates of the New Jerusalem, each depicting one of the tribes of Israel (Rev.21:12,21), the offspring of the four wives of Jacob/Israel, and in the divine tavnith (pattern) of David's seven wives that point to the Seven Festivals of Messianic Israel and to the sevenfold Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). There are concrete reasons why these men of Elohim (God), and others, had more than one wife - and it was not simply for their own pleasure.

    Wives of the Ruler-Priests of Yahweh: Two Camps

    The ruler-priests among Abraham's people (remembering they were subject to the rule of Melchizedek who was a type of the Messiah - Heb.5-7) always had at least two wives who lived in separate settlements with separate flocks and together these constituted the extent of the ruler's kingdom. Aside from the spiritual tavnith (pattern), Alice C. Linsey points out that there were practical reasons for this [14]. In the event of an attack, the ruler's line was more likely to survive if divided into two camps. It was this fear of being "cut off from the earth" (Ex.9:15, NKJV), and with it the Messianic Line, that motivated Jacob to divide his household into two groups when, on returning to Canaan, he received news that his aggrieved brother, Esau, whom he had cheated of his birthright, was coming to meet him (Gen.32).

    Two Israelite Camps or Nations

    This division is also seen in the separation of the Chosen Nation into two parts, the dispersed and 'lost' Northern Kingdom of Israel (expelled by Assyria in punishment for idolatry) and the remaining Southern Kingdom of Judah (dispersed once by Babylon and finally by Rome). Yah'shua (Jesus) as the Good Shepherd (Jn.10:11,14), speaks of having other sheep in another fold (Jn.10:16), a reference to the 10 Northern Tribes in exile beyond the borders of the Holy Land. He is the Shepherd of Israel (Ps.80:1) and the cohenim (priests) of Israel are referred to as "shepherds" (e.g. Zech.10:3). The cohenim (priests) took the best sheep to offer as sacrifices.

    Shepherd-Priests With Their Flocks at Wells

    Yah'shua (Jesus) comes from a long line of shepherd-priests on both Mary's and Joseph's side. According to tradition, Mary's father, Joachim, was a cohen (priest) and according to the Protoevangelium of James he is said to have had flocks. So there is a tavnith (pattern) of cohenim (priests) maintaining the Tabernacles (or Temple) at major watering places or at wells (e.g. Mamre, Beersheba etc.) who also kept sheep. Moses tended the flocks of his father-in-law, Jethro, the cohen (priest) of Midian. It was at Jethro's well that Moses met his second wife, Zipporah (Ex.2:15-21). Similarly, Abraham's servant found Rebekah at a well (Gen.24) and Jacob first encounters Rachel at a well (Gen.29:9-10). And it was the shepherds of Bethlehem who were the first to receive the news of the birth of the Son of Elohim (God) (Lk.2:15).

    Monogamist and Polygamist Ruler-Priests

    Jacob, renamed Israel, the 'ruler-with-El[ohim]' and cohen (priest) under the Melchizedek Order, had two primary wives, Leah ('Judah' - southern tribes) and Rachel ('Joseph' - northern tribes) with their two servants who would become wives, making four. The chief rulers alternated between monogamists {M} and polygamists {P} in the general tavnith (pattern) {M}-Adam > ... {P}-Abraham > {M}-Isaac > {P}-Jacob/Israel > {M}-Joseph > ... {P}-David. The primary scriptural declaration of the Elohim (God) of Israel is of {P}-Abraham > {M}-Isaac > {P}-Jacob/Israel, reflecting the double polygamous principle balanced by the single monogamous one:

      "I am the Elohim (God) of your father, the Elohim (God) of Abraham, the Elohim (God) of Isaac and the Elohim (God) of Jacob" (Ex.3:6, NIV).

    Dispensations and Menorahs

    This twofold imagery is also cast as dispensations: one consisting of those who lived in expectation of the Son of Elohim (God) - Abraham's people - and the other being the witnesses of His resurrection, which together comprise the Kingdom of Elohim (God). And so the tavnith (pattern) repeats in all sorts of other ways. We even see this, on one level, in the seven-armed candlearbre or menorah which has, as it were, a single foundational 'monogamous' trunk down the middle and three 'polygamous' pairs of branches off it - or two sets of branch-pairs.

    Polygamy the Exception, Not the Rule

    Had Yahweh wanted to enshrine an eternal monogamy-only twelvefold tavnith (pattern) He would have chosen a single woman to bear 12 sons, and not four. So polygamy has its place, for those with a priestly shem tov (good name) called into it by Yahweh, but it is not the default marriage practice for mankind, nor was it ever found in Eden. It is the exception rather than the rule. So beware of the old Mormon heresy that is entering some parts of the messianic movement which claims it is the mandatory lifestyle of the elect - the lives of Isaac and Joseph disprove that.

    Exceptionally Difficult

    Equally, because is is the exception, polygamy becomes exceptional - in the sense of being special and blessed but also putting exceptionally difficult demands on the men and women alike - when Yahweh lays His hand on it for a divine purpose by calling men and women into it for a priestly ministry to exemplify the uniplurality of the Bride of Messiah which is both 'one' (echad) and many. However, like Isaac and Joseph - and their prototype Adam - not all cohenim (priests) are obviously called to be polygamists, and they are not at all inferior because of it. The default, like Adam and Eve, is monogamy which is the foundation of basic Christian, messianic marriage. And it is there that men and women must rest content and not go pursuing the more complex form of marriage without an authentic heavenly calling with the required number of Torah-mandated witnesses. The only exception concerns those who come to Messiah having previously lived a pagan-form of polygamy such as obtains in our East Africa Mission when they are converted. These converted polygamous men, then, have the daunting challenge of demonstrating, by their walk, that they are men of integrity and devotion as Yahweh's own men - men with a shem tov.

    Conclusion

    We see, then, that the Genesis foundation of Creation is monogamy but that for certain of Yah's shepherd-cohenim (priests), multiple marriage is their calling for the glory of Yahweh and the revelation, through incarnation, of heavenly tavnith (pattern). Amen.

    Endnotes

    [1] See, for example, Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek, I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois: 2004)

    [2] See, for example, the rebuttal of Marxist Christopher Hitchens by his Christian brother and famous journalist Peter Hitchens, The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to faith (Zondervan, Grand Rapids. Michigan: 2010)

    [3] There are many fine rebuttals of these men's diatribes and twisted thinking, e.g. Alister McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine (SPCK, London: 2007); John C. Lennox, God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (Lion, Oxford: 2009); R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Atheism Remix (Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois: 2008)

    [4] George V. Wigram, The Englishman's Greek Concordance of the New Testament (Hendrickson Publishers, London: 1903 & 2012), p.206, Strongs #1787

    [5] Mark Wayne Biggs, The Case for Lilith: 25 Biblical Evidences Indentifying the Serpent as Adam's First Failed Wife in Genesis (Samson Books: 2010)

    [6] Lilith in Eden: Examining a New Messianic Heresy

    [7] Written with a logogram, one of whose Akkadian values was sîlu, meaning 'side' or 'rib'

    [8] To see their location, get hold of a copy of Gregory T. Riether, The Aleph-Tav Old Testament (VirtualBookWormPublishing.com, College Statition, TX: 2012) or William H. Sandford, The Complete Aleph Tav Scriptures: Paleo-Hebrew Edition (CCB Publishing, British Columbia, Canada: 2014) or the parallel Messianic Aleph Tav Scriptures: The Holy Grail of the Scriptures (2013) which look not only at all the instances of references of alef-taw but also at words that have other letter prefixes and suffixes. If you decide to purchase one of these, choose the latter.

    [9] Mystery of the Alef-Taw: Establishing the Right Foundations and Genesis 1:1 and the Festivals of Yahweh

    [10] From the translation notes of 'AFNHS' whose identity I am still trying to ascertain.

    [11] John R. Kornberger III, The Internlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan: 1987), p.5, footnote j

    [12] Exodus 25:12 (twice),14,20,26,27 (twice),35 (twice); 27:7; 36:25,31,32; 37:3 (twice),5; 38:7

    [13] John R. Kornberger III, op.cit.

    [14] Alice C. Linsley, Shepherd Priests in Just Genesis Through the Lens of Anthropology (2010)

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