Adam's Ancestors

Adam's Ancestors

Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins

Book - 2008
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Beginning in the Middle Ages, says Livingstone (geography and intellectual history, Queens U. Belfast), a story arisen now and then that there were people around before Adam. He describes it and its significance and reception, mostly since the 17th century. Among his perspectives are pre-Adamism and the harmony of science and religion, evolution and the birth of Adam, the politics of racial supremacy, and the continuing legacy. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Johns Hopkins University Press

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?"

Publisher: Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008
ISBN: 9780801888137
Characteristics: x, 301 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm


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