Monday, November 12, 2012

Meaning of the name "Adam"

Meaning of the name "Adam"







In Sanskrit Adima means ‘the first;’ in Hebrew Adam (given almost always with the article) means ‘the red,’ and it is generally derived from adamah, mould or soil. But Professor Max Müller (Science of Religion, p. 320) says if the name Adima (used, by the way, in India for the first man, as Adam is in England) is the same as Adam, ‘we should be driven to admit that Adam was borrowed by the Jews from the Hindus.’ But even that mild case of ‘driving’ is unnecessary, since the word, as Sale reminded the world, is used in the Persian legend. It is probable that the Hebrews imported this word not knowing its meaning, and as it resembled their word for mould, they added the gloss that the first man was made of the dust or mould of the ground. It is not contended that the Hebrews got their word directly from the Hindu or Persian myth. Mr. George Smith discovered that Admi or Adami was the name for the first men in Chaldean fragments. Sir Henry Rawlinson points out that the ancient Babylonians recognised two principle races,—the Adamu, or dark, and the Sarku, or light, race; probably a distinction, remembered in the phrase of Genesis, between the supposed sons of Adam and the sons of God. The dark race was the one that fell. Mr. Herbert Spencer (Principles of Sociology, Appendix) offers an ingenious suggestion that the prohibition of a certain sacred fruit may have been the provision of a light race against a dark one, as in Peru only the Yuca and his relatives were allowed to eat the stimulating cuca. If this be true in the present case, it would still only reflect an earlier tradition that the holy fruit was the rightful possession of the deities who had won in the struggle for it.
Nor is there wanting a survival from Indian tradition in the story of Eve. Adam said, ‘This now is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.’ In the Manu Code (ix. 22) it is written: ‘The bone of woman is united with the bone of man, and her flesh with his flesh.’ The Indian Adam fell in twain, becoming male and female (Yama and Yami). Ewald (Hist. of Israel, i. 1) has put this matter of the relation between Hebrew and Hindu traditions, as it appears to me, beyond doubt. See also Goldziher’s Heb. Mythol., p. 326; and Professor King’s Gnostics, pp. 9, 10, where the historic conditions under which the importation would naturally have occurred are succinctly set forth. Professor King suggests that Paṛsî and Pharisee may be the same word.

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