Before we read the book together, I decided to read the book by myself and match it up to the actual passages in Genesis that accompany each chapter:
Why so much controversy about this book?
I took a look at the 1-star reviews for this book on Amazon.com, because I had heard a few people mention that this book was full of fictional, untrue ideas. I wanted to check it out for myself.
Here's what I learned from those reviews:
1. Staunch Christians who are opposed to reading Adam and His Kin with their children do not believe it is okay to place any portion of the Scriptures into a narrative form. For example, we do not know all of the conversation that took place between Adam and Eve in the first few weeks of their lives, but Mrs. Beechick writes some conversation that could have realistically taken place between Adam and Eve. If you believe it is absolutely morally wrong to surmise what other details and conversations might have taken place between two biblical characters, then you won't want to read this book.
Mrs. Beechick explains: "Having spent thirteen years writing Sunday School lessons and hearing from concerned teachers that we were adding to the Scripture if the donkey went "clop, clop," it was difficult for me to begin this work. At first, I wrote that "maybe" Adam and Eve walked in the garden on their first day, "perhaps" they enjoyed the flowers, and so forth. Later I realized that I couldn't annoy my readers with "maybe" all through the story. So I have decided to say one big "maybe" here in the preface and hope that will suffice."
She also mentions: "Secular history books do not balk at guessing. It is common for a writer to say that several centuries must have passed because one artifact he examined is stone, while another is copper. Or an archeologist may say that several millennia of development must have preceded his findings because he uncovered some writing or sculpture, and people could not learn to write or sculpt like that in a short time. Events are moved around as needed to fit the preconceived evolutionary idea of history - that man began as a brute and slowly raised himself to a higher kind of life. So if we begin with the preconceived idea that man began as a God-like creature, [meaning he is] made in the very image of God, we, too, should set events in what we believe is their most likely position."
2. The other camp of people who don't like this book are those who don't believe in the 100% accuracy of the Bible, and admit that they are not Christian believers. They feel like this book is full of nonsense that goes against other historical ideas.
What did our family think?
This is just our own family's opinion. Take it or leave it! But I do hope that if you are studying ancient history with your children, and you are including the biblical accounts of creation through the time of Abraham, you will consider reading this with your junior high or high school children.
While the style of writing doesn't flow quite as smoothly as some stories or narratives, it was interesting. (If your children are used to only reading the most popular, low-quality/low vocabulary books available on the market these days, they may have more difficulty with the style of this writing.) Mrs. Beechick brings out a lot of details that she has garnered from true historical writings. We recognized many facts and details that aren't necessarily found in the book of Genesis, but are found in historical writings. I remembered many details we read about in our history curriculum, The Mystery of History, Volume 1.
I would recommend that this book be used with children ages 12 and older, who are solidly grounded in their understanding of the book of Genesis. There are bits and pieces here and there which are suppositions, things we can't really know, and she has surmised and added parts in where we don't know all of the facts (the Nephilim, for example, and the "mighty men of old"). Children and teens who are new to Christianity and the Bible, or who don't know much about the true Genesis account, could get confused on which parts of Adam and His Kin are 100% truth, and which are surmised.
Some sections and chapters were more interesting than others. It took us about five weeks to read through the book, one chapter most nights (although we took some of the Olympics nights off).
I know that for me, I will never think of these phrases in the same way as I used to when I would read them in Genesis:
...This is the written account of Adam's line.
...This is the account of Noah...
...This is the account of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, Noah's sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.
...This is the account of Shem...
...This is the account of Terah...
If you've read Adam and His Kin, then you will understand why I list those here. I'm so glad I read this book, and I plan to read it again in another couple of years. This book was on our list of literature books to read with our ancient history studies for this upcoming school year, but because of the controversy surrounding it, we decided to read it ahead of time, together. I'm really glad we did! It caused us to think deeply about what we read in the Bible. We had some good discussions!
Have you read Adam and His Kin? If so, what were your thoughts about this book?
Hi! I'm Julieanne!