There are three timelines with minor variations in one at least, for the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies. Septuagint (LXX), Masoretic Text (MT) and Samaritan Pentateuch (SP).
CMI, but not Cosner and Carter, but Sarfati, actually gave an overview back in 2003.
CMI : Biblical chronogenealogies
by Jonathan Sarfati | This article is from
Journal of Creation 17(3):14–18, December 2003
Adam's creation to Flood is 2242 in LXX, 1656 in MT, 1307 in SP. Flood to birth of Abraham is 1070 in - standard - LXX, 290 in MT and 940 in SP.
Smith seems to get more (publically announced) attention from Lita Cosner and Robert Carter for the fact of being an accredited scholar, which I am not, so, they deal with his hypothesis, not identic to mine. I am so far only adressing Smith through what Cosner and Carter quote or restate.
Smith claims that Rabbi Akiba (AD 50–135), who was executed by the Romans at the end of the Bar Kokhba rebellion, had the authority to make the ‘changes’ we see in the MT genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. This would have necessitated that every Jewish synagogue change their Torah scrolls. This includes Jewish congregations across Europe, Africa, and Asia.6 As ridiculous as this is, even if we grant it, the MT text type cannot have originated here, because, as we have shown in Is the Septuagint a superior text for the Genesis genealogies?, all three major text types existed by the end of the first century. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Akiba wanted to change all the synagogue scrolls to the MT text type for anti-Christian reasons. Akiba wasn’t the Jewish Pope. He couldn’t simply demand that every rabbi, from Italy to Mesopotamia, destroy the set of scrolls kept in every synagogue throughout the Jewish diaspora and replace them with new ones. And we wonder how much infighting would result if he had tried.
I think there is a grain of truth to the position, Kent Hovind claimed Jews changed the "intertestamental" time (no such thing really, OT lasted to Crucifixion of Christ), and did that to fit chronology of Bar Kokhba to seventy weeks of Daniel.
But the Genesis 5 and 11 timelines, I think that one was already agreed by then.
I have pointed to a key passage in Josephus : he adds up Flood to Abraham as 290 years, then gives specifications as to age of each patriarch at birth of next without adding them up, but which, added up, give more like ... 865 or 891 (1019 - 128) years. Reference is Antiquities, book I, chapter 6:5. I quoted it back here:
Creation vs. Evolution : Resp. to Carter / Cosner : In the Lifetime of Josephus
So, options on when an MT remake was agreed on are not just Smith's Rabbi Akiba, but also my own "in the lifetime of" - but not by - "Josephus".
There is not even a need for conspiracy of changing text, all that is needed is a sudden preference for one text variant already extant over the other one.
And for the ones who did not share the preference to get out of Jewish infighting and into Christian Church - before the writing of the Gospel of St. John.
And yes, "how much infighting" is echoed both in Apocalypse 2 and 3 (where Christ is adressing Christian Jews as the real Jews!) and in Josephus by implication stating that A + B + C ... > Σ(A+B+C ...) which is impossible.
Why would siding with what is in retrospect (since Gospel of St John and since Jamnia period, Sanhedrin or not, starting before that Gospel) called Judaism imply the short timeline 290 years for Genesis 11? Because claiming Shem was Melchisedec was in contradiction with St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews (I am not considering St. Ephrem was, if Cosner and Carter got him right, deliberately contradicting Hebrews, I am just suggesting he may have taken a hint on OT from a Jew and missed this had an implication contradicting NT, much like Father Vigoroux accepted Day-Age more than 100 years ago, missing the contradiction with Mark 10:6).
Accepting the longer timeline and Shem absolutely not being Melchisedec, would just after Hebrews was written, have been tantamount to letting St. Paul score a point. Shem had a known father, Noah, and the statements on him in Hebrews for "neither father nor mother" refer to known genealogy, not his being some kind of new Adam or being born by modern medical technologies.
The timeline of Genesis 5 has no bearing on Melchisedec, but it could have been tampered with even earlier in an attempt to harmonise with Samaritan Penteteuch. Note that SP certainly has 130 and not 230 for age of Adam at birth of Seth, but equally certainly too long a timespan in Genesis 11 for Shem to be Melchisedec.
And among early Christians, CMI has left out St Jerome's reference to a timeline already established by Julius Africanus.
Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Background to Christmas Martyrology
Referring back to my earlier work, where relevant work by St Jerome and by Julius Africanus are referenced. So far, I have not seen Carter and Cosner reference this by St Jerome and by Julius Africanus.
However, Genesis 11 in the MT version may have already been extant in one version : since concurring with Book of Jubilees.
So, the thing I propose is:
- in the decades between Hebrews and Gospel of St John, around the quote from Josephus, either a proto-Masoretic was tampered with to agree with Jubilees or two versions of proto-Masoretic were sifted with agreement to Jubilees being crucial;
- the book of Jubilees got an upsurge in popularity from deprecation of Hebrews (inferred, not documented);
- Jews not siding with Jubilees against Hebrews generally became Christians and disappeared (with their manuscripts) from circulation within the synagogue;
- this may have happened while Jews still had a kind of papacy, the Cohen Gadol. In that case, the Anti-Christian position may have been made by one Anti-Christian Cohen Gadol (not all were, and according to one theory on St John the Evangelist, he was a Cohen, and if I got one term right, at one moment a Cohen Gadol, but died among Christians - the theory says the Beloved Disciple was a young Cohen, owner of the house where the Last Supper took place, not identic to son of Zebedee).
Now, a Cohen Gadol was like a Jewish Pope. Note, the last before NT began as new valid covenant was called in Hebrew Caiaphas. The first Pope Jesus named for the Catholic Church was in Aramaic Cephas. I think there was an intended pun on God's side. Anyway, in the time period, I consider as crucial, Caiaphas had a successor.
Hans Georg Lundahl