Actually I am revisting this issue at the moment, so let's here it. Who is Pfizer?
I don't talk about the life spans attributed to the Patriarchs very much in the book. The 777 years attributed to Lamech (Thoth) and the 365 years to Enoch (Ptah) are clearly symbolic. The others I haven't explored. I suspect they also were carefully chosen though. From what I can tell, very few people including kings lived beyond the age of 70. But that doesn't mean that there wasn't a memory of a time when it was possible to live much longer.
It is interesting that the Sumerian King List gives even more extraordinary life spans to the first eight kings in its history, varying from 18,600 years to 36,000. Wow! The total for all eight is 241,200 years. This turns out to be the same order of magnitude of time back to mitochondrial Eve, so perhaps the author was trying to fill in the gap. Certainly any of those eight could represent a whole series of kings who bore the same name. It was fairly common in the ancient world for kings to be called by a traditional name in a particular city. In the Sumerian king list, the name of the king does not change until a city is "abandoned." At least this is true of the first eight kings and cities.
Even after "the Flood swept over (the land)", the Sumerian king list still persists in assigning fantastical year lengths as high as 1,560 years for Etana the shepherd of Kish, "who ascended to heaven." This little snippet comes from the Legend of Etana where the hero is taken up alongside "mistress Ishtar."
So what are we to make of this? Not sure really, other than to recognize that both the Book of Genesis and the Sumerian King List both inflate year numbers or use them in non-literal ways. Their culture was quite a bit different than ours. I don't think it was a matter of them being dumb. They were in fact clever in hiding certain knowledge from the unprivileged, who they deliberately kept dumb.
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