Thomas Paine: Of Cain and Abel

 

Of Cain and Abel

 

The story of Cain and Abel is told in Genesis iv. Cain was the elder brother, and Abel the younger, and Cain killed Abel. The Egyptian story of Typhon and Osiris, and the Jewish story in Genesis of Cain and Abel, have the appearance of being the same story differently told, and that it came originally from Egypt. 

In the Egyptian story, Typhon and Osiris are brothers; Typhon is the elder, and Osiris the younger, and Typhon kills Osiris. The story is an allegory on Darkness and Light: Typhon, the elder brother, is Darkness, because Darkness was supposed to be more ancient than Light: Osiris is the Good Light who rules during the summer months, and brings forth the fruits of the earth, and is the favorite, as Abel is said to have been; for which Typhon hates him; and when the winter comes, and cold and darkness overspread the earth, Typhon is represented as having killed Osiris out of malice, as Cain is said to have killed Abel. 

The two stories are alike in their circumstances and their event, and are probably but the same story. What corroborates this opinion is, that the fifth chapter of Genesis historically contradicts the reality of the story of Cain and Abel in the fourth chapter; for though the name of Seth, a son of Adam, is mentioned in the fourth chapter, he is spoken of in the fifth chapter as if he was the firstborn of Adam. The chapter begins thus: 

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God created He him; Male and female created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.  And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years and begat a son, in his own likeness and after his image, and called his name Seth." The rest of the chapter goes on with the genealogy. 

Anybody reading this chapter, cannot suppose there were any sons born before Seth. The chapter begins with what is called the creation of Adam, and calls itself the book of the generation of Adam, yet no mention is made of such persons as Cain and Abel. 

One thing however is evident on the face of these two chapters, which is, that the same person is not the writer of both; the most blundering historian could not have committed himself in such a manner. 

Though I look on everything in the first ten chapters of Genesis to be fiction, yet fiction historically told should be consistent; whereas these two chapters are not. The Cain and Abel of Genesis appear to be no other than the ancient Egyptian story of Typhon and Osiris, the Darkness and the Light, which answered very well as an allegory without being believed as a fact. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






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