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The name of Seth and facts from his life in Jewish and Christian Literature

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Chapter Summary

In Jewish and Christian literature, names are frequently given etymological or quasi-etymological explanations. The author of the Masoretic text of Gen. 4, 25 tried to provide an explanation of the name "Seth" saying that the name was given to Adam's son. It was assumed that the name was chosen because it was on Seth that "was founded the world". This chapter assembles some ideas about the life of Seth. It only discusses those facts with no direct bearing upon a later generation, but strictly related to his life. There are a few such data in the Old Testament about Seth. According to the Masoretic Text, Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. This is in accordance with Aramaic Jewish sources. Jubilees and the Vita Adae et Evae follow the Hebrew Text, but the figure 230 appears in Josephus. Pseudepigraphical literature helps to explain the stories about Adam's burial.

Keywords: Adam's burial; Christian literature; Jewish literature; Josephus; Jubilees; Masoretic text; pseudepigraphical literature; Seth; Vita Adae et Evae

10.1163/9789004266575_004
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