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Meet the Ante-Abrahamic Prophets

Detail from 'The Creation of Adam,' a Sistine Chapel fresco by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, c. 1508-1512From the day Adam began teaching his children about their Creator, there have been prophets and there have been covenants. The holy writ says the first prophets walked and talked with Adam and with angels.

Some of the long-lived prophets who predated Abraham appear not only in canonized scripture, but also in tribal mythology and ancient documents unearthed in more modern times.

The Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) records ten ancient prophets:
  • Adam (aka Adapa, Atab, Atabba, HaAdamah, Ancient of Days, آدم ,אָדָם)
  • Seth ben Adam (aka Shet, Sheth, שֵׁת)
  • Enos ben Seth (aka Anoush, Enosh, אֱנוֹשׁ)
  • Enoch ben Jared (aka Enoc, Chanok, Hanokh, Henoch, Idris, ادريس ,חֲנוֹך)
  • Methuselah ben Enoch (aka Mathusala, Mathusalam, Methusael, Methusalah, Metushelach, מְתוּשֶׁלַח)
  • Noah ben Lamech (aka Noach, Noe, Nuh, نوح ,נוֹחַ)
  • Shem ben Noah (aka Sam, Sceaf, Sem, Seskef, שֵׁם)
  • Salah ben Cainan (aka Sala, Salih, Shâlikh, Shehiah, Shelach, Shelah, صلاح ,שָׁלַח)
  • Eber ben Salah (aka Abin, `Aybar, `Ever, Heber, Hoodh, Hud, هود ,חֶבֶר)
  • Melchizedek ben Malakh (aka Melchisedec, Melchisedech, Melkisedek, Malki-Tzedek, מַלְכִּי־צָדֶק)

Image: Detail from 'The Creation of Adam,' a Sistine Chapel fresco by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, c. 1508-1512


Anonymous said…
I am doing a study of Jewish midrash as a type of story telling. Your line title, "Prophetic Midrash" caught my attention. Does this have an ancient prototype? Was there such a thing as a prophetic midrash genre that goes back into the early centuries CE? Your help would be very much appreciated. Maurice Lusk (
lauramaery said…
As you study you'll find, I think, that much of scripture has both a literal and a figurative component. Some would argue, for example, that the story of Job is a midrash. There perhaps existed a literal Job, a good man who encountered traumatic personal tragedy, and whose response was to exercise faith. Did G-d literally play games with Satan using Job as a pawn? That element of the story may be the midrash -- wrapping a narrative around a fact set that encourages us to discern a larger lesson.