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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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This many-sided word, like its equivalents in the modern versions of the Bible, is used to translate the Hebrew "dor" and "toledah" (the latter found only in the plural). The primary meaning of "dor" is "period" the secondary, the period bounded by the life of a man or of a single family. Thus "dor" signifies generations, or ages, of men in the past or future it also designates the men who live in any special period or age (see especially Psalm 145:4 Ecclesiastes 1:4 ). From this idea of men regarded as a group bound together by relationship a transition is made to men of any particular time taken as a class connected only by contemporaneousness. Thus in "a generation that curseth its father" (Proverbs 30:11 ) the class character is so strong that the persons described are spoken of throughout as a single unit.

In "toledot," on the other hand, the idea of descent by birth and family relationship gives its special force to the translating term. Thus "generations" in Genesis 10:32 means a genealogical succession of families in Numbers 1:20 , genealogical divisions by parentage. A secondary and very important usage may be seen where "generations" means the history in the form of a genealogical account of any set of people along with their descendants (Genesis 5:1 ). All early history began with genealogical lists, and even the process of creation of heaven and earth is viewed in Genesis 2:4 as a genealogical history. The word "toledot" is found mostly in the Hexateuch, and there only in the Priestly Code. E. G. H. J. F. McC.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Generation'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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