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2 Bitenosh’s Orgasm (1QapGen 2:9–15)

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Chapter Summary

When asked by her anxious husband, Lamech, who is the begetter of their newborn child, his wife, Bitenosh, reacts with the enigmatic remark that he should remember her "pleasure" (1QapGen 2:9-15). This chapter argues that knowledge of ancient Greek theories of spermatogenesis and embryogenesis may shed light upon this curious utterance by Noah's mother in the Genesis Apocryphon from Qumran. For the early Greek philosophers, the traditional notion of embryogenesis created a theoretical problem in their doctrines of heredity. This problem arose from the observation that the widespread notion that the father alone makes the child and provides the substance for its coming-into-being and development could not explain why children often resemble their mothers. There existed at least three different theories on the coming-into-being of human sperm: (1) the encephalo-myelogenic doctrine; (2) the pangenesis doctrine; and (3) the hematogenic doctrine.

Keywords: 1QapGen; Bitenosh's orgasm; encephalo-myelogenic doctrine; Genesis Apocryphon; hematogenic doctrine; pangenesis doctrine; spermatogenesis embryogenesis



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