The Medieval Popular Bible: Expansions of Genesis in the Middle Ages

By Brian Murdoch | Go to book overview

THREE

LAMECH AND THE OTHER LAMECH

THE NAME LAMECH appears in the early part of Genesis twice, in the genealogical passages in chapters 4 and 5, and the relevant verses apply, if taken literally, to two different people. On the one hand, the descendant of Cain in Genesis 4, 18―24 is a curious mixture of positive and negative: his two wives, Ada and Sella, provide him with children ― Jabel, Jubal and Tubalcain (plus a daughter, Noema) ― all of whom look like culture- heroes, giving the world tentmaking, music and metalwork. And yet he utters a bloodthirsty sword-song to those two wives, claiming apparently to have killed a man and a young man ― the text is not clear and may rest upon a parallelism 1 ― and reminding us of the curse upon his ancestor, Cain. If Cain is to be avenged sevenfold, he boasts, then he, Lamech, will be avenged seventy-sevenfold. In contrast, the Lamech who is apparently descended from Seth in Genesis 5, 25―30 seems far less exciting. His place in history is due primarily to the fact that he is the father of Noah, whom he welcomes as the saviour of the cursed lands, although we are told that he has other children as well. Only the Sethite list appears in I Chronicles 1 and in Luke 3, 36, and the name-lists provided in Genesis by the Jahwist and in the Priestly Codex were, as modern scholarship makes clear, originally the same; even in the Middle Ages they are occasionally merged, not always intentionally.

More often, though, a literal reading does separate the two Lamechs as entirely different characters, occasionally giving them slightly different names by varying the vocalisation, which the Vulgate does not, although their fathers' names ― Mathusael and Methusalah ― vary more clearly. A famous illustrated manuscript with a text in Anglo-Norman, the fourteenth- century Holkham Bible Picture Book, calls them Lamek and Lamed, for example, although it has to be said that in the second case the writer needs a rhyme for Jared, and in any case, Chaucer spells the same one, the Cainite patriarch, in different ways, though admittedly not in the same work. The German chronicler Rudolf von Ems is one of the few who draws attention to the identity-problem, when he turns from the Cainite to the Sethite Lamech, explaining carefully: 'ez was der niht/ den ich nande é', 'this isn't the one I mentioned before'. Towards the end of the fifteenth century John Capgrave tells us rather sententiously apropos of the Sethite Lamech, 'And here is for to note þat þere were too men of þis same name Lameth: on was of þe kynrod of Cayn and he broute in first bigamie; the oþir was of þe kynrod of

____________________
1
See Stephen A. Geller, Parallelism in Early Biblical Poetry (Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press, 1979), pp. 57―8.

-70-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Medieval Popular Bible: Expansions of Genesis in the Middle Ages
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Medieval Popular Bible - Expansions of Genesis in the Middle Ages *
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Introduction: the Popular Bible 1
  • One - Bedevilling Paradise 19
  • Two - What Adam and Eve Did Next 42
  • Three - Lamech and the Other Lamech 70
  • Four - Noah: Navigator and Vintner 96
  • Five - The Tower of Babel and the Courteous Vengeance 127
  • Six - Patriarchal Trickery: Jacob and Joseph 149
  • Conclusion 175
  • Bibliography 177
  • Biblical Index 203
  • General Index 205
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 209

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.