Cainan or Arphaxad?

Luke 3:35-36—”Who was the father of Shelah; Cainan (Luke 3:35-36) or Arphaxad (Genesis 11:12)?

There are two ways to look at this. Some argue that Genesis is using the term “begot” and “father” in its wider Hebrew connotation of “grandfather,” and thus Cainan was the generation in-between. On that same note, if we refer to Genesis 11:12 in the Septuagint manuscripts, we find that Apharxad was 135 years old, rather than 35 (which would allow more time for him to be Shelah’s grandfather).

The other approach argues that we should follow the text of the earliest known extant copy of Luke1 which omits the extra Cainan. Further evidence for this is that Cainan is similarly omitted from the early records of historian Flavius Josephus2, the third-century historian Julius Africanus3, and the oldest Septuagint manuscripts. In this scenario, an early scribe would have inadvertently copied the “Cainan” of verse 37.4

  1. the 102-page papyrus codex of the Bodmer Collection labeled P75 (dated between AD 175 and 225)
  2. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 6, Sections 4-5.
  3. Julius Africanus, Epistle to Aristides , chapter 3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers.
  4. This approach is credited to Eric Lyons.

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