By David N. Livingstone
Although the concept all people are descended from Adam is a long-standing conviction within the West, one other model of this narrative exists: people inhabited the Earth prior to, or along, Adam, and their descendants nonetheless occupy the planet.
In this attractive and provocative paintings, David N. Livingstone lines the background of the assumption of non-adamic humanity, and the debates surrounding it, from the center a long time to the current day. From a multidisciplinary point of view, Livingstone examines how this substitute suggestion has been used for cultural, non secular, and political reasons. He finds how what begun as biblical feedback grew to become a theological apologetic to reconcile faith with science—evolution in particular—and was once later used to help arguments for white supremacy and segregation.
From heresy to orthodoxy, from radicalism to conservatism, from humanitarianism to racism, Adam's Ancestors tells an interesting story of twists and turns within the cultural politics surrounding the age-old query, "Where did we come from?"
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Additional resources for Adam's Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins
Although the tribunal failed to come to any formal verdict, the hearing nonetheless highlighted several things: the lingering influence of Aristotle, whose benediction was sought by interlocutors on both sides of the argument; the political, legal, and moral significance of questions about human origins; and the stresses and strains to which the conventional adamic narrative was progressively subjected. In the wake of Columbus’s transatlantic adventure, genetic theories of native American origins—more or less implausible—abounded.
Either they were of American derivation, or they were aboriginal to Greenland itself. ”12 In passing, it is worth pausing to note something of the anthropological particulars that La Peyrère conveyed in his regional picture. ” Additionally: “They are fat but active, and their skins are of an olive colour; it is believed that there are black among them like Ethiopians . . The shirts of the men and the chemises of the women are made of the intestines of fish, sewn with very fine sinews. Their clothes are Heresy: Isaac La Peyrère and the Pre-Adamite Scandal 29 large, and they bind them with straps of prepared skin.
When Pope Julius II decreed in 1512 that the Indians were descended from Adam, it might have seemed to settle the impassioned rhetorical questions posed by the Dominican missionary in Hispaniola Antonio de Montesinos the previous year: “Are these Indians not men? ”53 Nothing could be further from the truth. In the half-century or so after Columbus’s venture, the debate on the nature and status of the American peoples was engaged and nowhere so conspicuously as in the papal junta at Valladolid, Spain, in 1550, when the doyen of Spanish Aristotelian scholarship, the humanist Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, and the former Dominican vicar of Guatemala and now bishop of Chiapa, Bartolomé de Las Casas, vigorously disputed the subject of how the American Indians should be treated by Europeans.