Adam's Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins

Adam's Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins

by David N. Livingstone
     
 

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Although the idea that all human beings are descended from Adam is a long-standing conviction in the West, another version of this narrative exists: human beings inhabited the Earth before, or alongside, Adam, and their descendants still occupy the planet.

In this engaging and provocative work, David N. Livingstone traces the history of the idea of non-adamic

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Overview

Although the idea that all human beings are descended from Adam is a long-standing conviction in the West, another version of this narrative exists: human beings inhabited the Earth before, or alongside, Adam, and their descendants still occupy the planet.

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?"

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Sciences Humaines
As David Livingstone shows in this fascinating book, which carefully traces the history of speculations about Adam's ancestors, debates about human origins have always had, and continue to have, moral and political dimensions.

Midwest Book Review
Provides both college-level and general-interest lending libraries with a fine history of non-Adamic humanity and the debates surrounding it.

Anthropology Review Database - Jack David Eller
Livingstone has obviously done a tremendous amount of reading in preparation of his project, and the sheer detail of the persons and positions in the centuries-long debate is impressive, nearly overwhelming.

Progress in Human Geography
One of the great strengths of this book lies in its demonstration that the history of a concept long since accepted by many, but by no means all, remains strikingly relevant to science and society.

Tablet - Ernan McMullin
Livingstone traces in detail a fascinating and sometimes troubling story... A book to ponder.

Books and Culture: A Christian Review - Michael Ruse
The mark of the true scholar, the really inventive one, is that he or she shows us that there are problems and issues worth discussing that we simply did not know about or even speculate about... I really recommend David Livingstone's book. It informs and leaves you with more questions than when you started. What more could you ask of scholarship?

Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith - Donald A. Yerxa
Adam's Ancestors is a model of meticulous historical scholarship. It is greatly enhanced by a geographer's sensitivity to the role of place in intellectual history.

British Journal of the History of Science - John M. Lynch
The amazing scope of Adam's Ancestors contributes to its appeal, and it can be highly recommended both for its sweeping synthesis and for the nature of the questions it raises in the mind of the reader.

Reports of the National Center for Science Education - J David Pleins
Richly detailed, amply illustrated work.

Journal of Anthropological Research - Heather J. Edgar
Adam's Ancestors is a very well researched history of the idea that there were multiple creations prior to that recorded in Genesis. The text is extremely well referenced and is an excellent source for anyone wanting to learn about this topic.

Journal of Ecclesiastical History - Mitchell B. Hart
Engaging and important book.

Isis - Brad D. Hume
Adam's Ancestors offers a rich discussion, ranging from the sober and serious to the wonderfully bizarre, representing the best summary of pre-Adamite materials to date.

American Historical Review - Craig R. Prentiss
The book is rich in detail, revels in marvelously obscure figures, and brings long forgotten characters to life. It is ideal for graduate students and professional scholars and a must for those interested in the politics of racial and ethnic identity, as well as the history of biblical exegesis.

Reviews in Religion and Theology - Stephen H. Webb
What I finally took away from this fascinating book is that far from being an eccentric and obscure debate, the substance of the argument over pre-adamites is still with us, and perhaps even growing in importance.

Annals of Science - Matthew R. Goodrum
An original and useful contribution to the history of human origins research and the history of science and religion.

Tablet
Livingstone traces in detail a fascinating and sometimes troubling story... A book to ponder.

— Ernan McMullin

Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith
Adam's Ancestors is a model of meticulous historical scholarship. It is greatly enhanced by a geographer's sensitivity to the role of place in intellectual history.

— Donald A. Yerxa

British Journal of the History of Science
The amazing scope of Adam's Ancestors contributes to its appeal, and it can be highly recommended both for its sweeping synthesis and for the nature of the questions it raises in the mind of the reader.

— John M. Lynch

Reports of the National Center for Science Education
Richly detailed, amply illustrated work.

— J David Pleins

Journal of Anthropological Research
Adam's Ancestors is a very well researched history of the idea that there were multiple creations prior to that recorded in Genesis. The text is extremely well referenced and is an excellent source for anyone wanting to learn about this topic.

— Heather J. Edgar

Journal of Ecclesiastical History
Engaging and important book.

— Mitchell B. Hart

Isis
Adam's Ancestors offers a rich discussion, ranging from the sober and serious to the wonderfully bizarre, representing the best summary of pre-Adamite materials to date.

— Brad D. Hume

American Historical Review
The book is rich in detail, revels in marvelously obscure figures, and brings long forgotten characters to life. It is ideal for graduate students and professional scholars and a must for those interested in the politics of racial and ethnic identity, as well as the history of biblical exegesis.

— Craig R. Prentiss

Reviews in Religion and Theology
What I finally took away from this fascinating book is that far from being an eccentric and obscure debate, the substance of the argument over pre-adamites is still with us, and perhaps even growing in importance.

— Stephen H. Webb

Annals of Science
An original and useful contribution to the history of human origins research and the history of science and religion.

— Matthew R. Goodrum

Anthropology Review Database
Livingstone has obviously done a tremendous amount of reading in preparation of his project, and the sheer detail of the persons and positions in the centuries-long debate is impressive, nearly overwhelming.

— Jack David Eller

Books & Culture: A Christian Review
The mark of the true scholar, the really inventive one, is that he or she shows us that there are problems and issues worth discussing that we simply did not know about or even speculate about... I really recommend David Livingstone's book. It informs and leaves you with more questions than when you started. What more could you ask of scholarship?

— Michael Ruse

Books and Culture: A Christian Review - Michael Ruse

The mark of the true scholar, the really inventive one, is that he or she shows us that there are problems and issues worth discussing that we simply did not know about or even speculate about... I really recommend David Livingstone's book. It informs and leaves you with more questions than when you started. What more could you ask of scholarship?

Books and Culture: A Christian Review

The mark of the true scholar, the really inventive one, is that he or she shows us that there are problems and issues worth discussing that we simply did not know about or even speculate about... I really recommend David Livingstone's book. It informs and leaves you with more questions than when you started. What more could you ask of scholarship?

— Michael Ruse

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781421400655
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
01/21/2011
Series:
Medicine, Science, and Religion in Historical Context
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,023,500
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.76(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Nicolaas Rupke

A great piece of scholarship and an equally great read. Particularly instructive is Livingstone's discussion of monogenism, polygenism, and the various ways these theories of human origins were used in the social and political arena. This is a substantial contribution to the history of anthropology, of evolution theory, of race and racialist thought, and of science and religion.

Colin Kidd

A remarkable achievement. It is a tightly organized and coherently packaged account of a set of ideas which mainstream scholarship now ignores. Controversial themes and explosive issues abound in Livingstone's work, which is important, topical, and fascinating.

Meet the Author

David N. Livingstone is a professor of geography and intellectual history at the Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, and author of several books, including Putting Science in Its Place: Geographies of Scientific Knowledge, The Geographical Tradition, and Darwin's Forgotten Defenders.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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