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Author Topic:   I found a Midrash (Genesis creation) that says man was first an animal with a tail.
Posts: 1819
Joined: 12-22-2015

Message 1 of 2 (848825)
02-15-2019 11:28 PM

I was reading a book, with the section:

“First Adam” and “Second Adam” in 1 Cor 15:45–49 in the Light of Midrashic Exegesis and Hebrew Usage
by Menahem Kister, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in:


The New Testament and Rabbinic Literature


Reimund Bieringer - 2010


Note also Gen. Rab. 14:10 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 134), where Rabbi Yehuda the son of Rabbi Hiyya infers from Gen 2:7c that Adam was first created with a tail like an animal. 14 “For not all flesh is alike, but there is one (kind) for men, another ...

Here is a broader quote



The Hebrew expression nepesh ḥayya and its Greek rendering, ψυχὴ ζῶσα, “living soul,” occur in Gen 1:24 and Gen 2:19 (cf. also Gen 1:21 in the Hebrew), and in these contexts it refers to the animals.


A plausible interpretation for he usage of this expression in Gen 2:7 could be that it was perceived as designating the lower faculties of the human being, common to both human beings and animals.13 Especially important is Gen 1:24, in which God’s actions on the sixth day of creation, before creating the human being(s), are described as follows: “And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living soul according to its kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” A possible way to harmonize Gen 2:7 with Gen 1:24–27 is to assume that “living soul” in Gen 2:7c refers to human beings inasmuch as they have the same “soul” as non-human creatures.


I found the text online:

(I looked like hell for the Neusner translation, but failed)

This is the actual Midrashic text.


And man became a nefesh hayyah (E.V.
'living soul'). Judah b. Rabbi said": This teaches
that He provided him with a tail, like an animal, but sub-
sequently removed it from him for the sake of his dignity.

I am not going to comment on any implications for biological evolution.

Or anything else (such as "soul" issues).

(actually, I thought of something)

Creationists have had a difficult time interpreting ER 1470.


In 1985, Gish said, ER-1470 "may not have been human-like at all", while the author of Bones of Contention: a Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils( Marvin L. Lubenow) said, it had "true human status".

I have learned that almost every inconvenient fact, to a theory, gets ignored. This Midrash might not be worth a wisper as it is just a small line in an ocean of ancient Jewish text.

Posts: 1819
Joined: 12-22-2015

Message 2 of 2 (849192)
02-27-2019 11:26 PM

The notes to the Midrash translation say chayyah literally means "beast", "animal".
Look at the very bottom verse on my first link (it continues to the top of the page in the second link).

See the last note on bottom of page in first page (the note section is lower than the text section).



Compare this to what Paul said (in Greek).

1 Corinthians 15


43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a LIVING SOUL; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

Verse 45 has the very words (in the Greek) as the Septuagint Genesis 2:7.

(Septuagint) Gen 2:7

ψυχήν ζώσαν

I Corinthians 15:45

ψυχὴν ζῶσαν·



Here is the Midrash (English) text again:


And man became a nefesh hayyah (E.V.
'living soul'). Judah b. Rabbi said": This teaches
that He provided him with a tail, like an animal, but sub-
sequently removed it from him for the sake of his dignity.

It could be that "him", in the Midrash, refers to MANKIND and not simply a single man (and not in a single generation).

Compare Hosea 11:1


When Israel was a child, I loved him

This verse was covering about 1000 years of history. It was not just a single man (Jacob) being discussed.

Were there evolutionary views among the ancient-Jewish readers of the Torah?

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