Adam and Eve and Evolution

Kenneth W. Kemp reviews The Genealogical Adam & Eve, by  S. Joshua Swamidass  (IVP, 2019)

1. Background of the Issue

In accounts of the origin of the world, perhaps no aspect is of more interest  — at least to us, who are the only species capable of understanding those accounts — than the origin of the human race. I hope within a year or so to complete a book on the history of “Catholic evolutionism,” that is, on the attempts to reconcile the central ideas of biological evolution and Catholic theology. As that history shows, there were two issues of particular concern to theologians, both of which focused on man.

The first issue concerned the origin of the human body. Genesis 2:6 seemed to many theologians to say that God formed the first human body directly from dust. The most developed Catholic alternative was offered by English biologist St.-George Mivart (1827-1900), according to whom the first human being was the product of the infusion of a divinely created soul into an evolved body.1 His idea gradually spread and, despite the determined resistance of its theological opponents, the question was explicitly recognized as open in Pius XII’s encyclical Humani generis (1950).2

Of greater theological concern, however, was the second issue regarding human origins, namely the question of “Adam and Eve” and “Original Sin.” Traditional Catholic doctrine, the proximate source of which was the “Decree Concerning Original Sin” produced by the Council of Trent in 1546, taught that human sinfulness (peccatum originale originatum) was the result of an original sin (peccatum originale originans), committed by the first human beings and inherited by all other human beings.3 That seemed, said Humani generis, to require that the human race originated in a single place and with exactly one couple (“monogenism”).  The strict monogenism of the Catholic view did not go unchallenged, however.

Even long before the issuance of the encyclical, some critics argued that the human race could not have originated in a single place. This idea has appeared in various forms under various names: “Pre-Adamitism” (Isaac de La Peyrère4 and Alexander Winchell5); “polygenism” (Josiah Clark Nott and George Robin Glidden6); and “polyphyletism” (Ernst Haeckel7). Some of its proponents (Nott and Gliddon, Haeckel, Karl Vogt8) added to it the idea that there were multiple distinct human species, whereas others (La Peyrère, and sometimes Louis Agassiz9) denied this. Some were evolutionists (Haeckel, Vogt), whereas others (Agassiz) were not. Some of its defenders (Nott and Gliddon) argued that multiplicity of geographical origin was not consistent with Christian doctrine; others (Agassiz) argued that it was.

A second line of criticism accepted the existence of what Darwin called a “single center of creation” for each species, including man, but argued that these centers of origin hosted not just a single first couple, but an entire initial population. Haeckel said that the idea of there being a first human being was as strange as would be the idea that there was a first Englishman.10 Moreover, a single center of origin did not guarantee a single human species (“specific unity”), since it did not preclude the human race, after its origination, splitting into several species  (“cladogenetic speciation”). So, while Darwin and Huxley defended the idea of a single human species,11 other generally-Darwinian scientists (e.g. Haeckel12) did not.

The Darwinian answer to the numbers questions — namely, a numerous initial population in a single location — was reinforced, in particular with regard to human origins, by developments in genetics. Once scientists were able to compare distinct alleles across species, they noticed that the diversity found at certain loci in the human genome corresponded to a similar diversity found in chimpanzees. The variation must have originated before these lineages split and was too great to have passed through a phylogenetic bottleneck as narrow as a single couple. These results were presented by Francisco Ayala to the American Catholic bishops in 1998.13

The encyclical Humani generis, to be clear, had not been definitive about the incompatibility of polygenism (in the sense of a numerous initial human population, rather than a single couple) and the traditional understanding of original sin. It had said only that it was by no means clear how the two could be reconciled. Archival materials on the drafting of the encyclical were opened to researchers on March 2, 2020, and I was able to review these documents in the week before the imposition of a general curfew made continued work impossible. The archival records make clear that the non-definitive language was deliberately chosen over the stronger language of early drafts of the encyclical.

There have been various attempts by Catholic theologians, in the seventy years since the publication of Humani generis, to find some way to reconcile polygenism with the traditional understanding of original sin.  Indeed, in 2004, the International Theological Commission prepared a document (ultimately issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) that referred to “the emergence of the first members of the human species (whether as individuals or in populations).”14 Nevertheless, other authoritative documents, in particular the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) present the Fall in a fairly traditional way.15

It was this apparent tension between science and the more traditional theological account of the origin of the human race that I attempted to resolve in an article which I published in 2011.16  Building on some work by Josephite priest Andrew Alexander,17 and applying the adage, “When faced with a contradiction, make a distinction,” I suggested this possible account of the origin of the human race:

Evolution of a population of primates sufficiently large to carry the genetic diversity in question and with cognitive development sufficient to allow the infusion of a rational soul.

Transformation of two of those primates into rational and, therefore, “fully human” beings by infusion of a created rational soul18 without destruction of their reproductive compatibility with the primate population out of which they were selected. At that point, there would have existed both “fully human” (i.e., rational) beings and “merely biologically human” beings.19

Interbreeding between the fully human beings and their merely biologically human neighbors.

Creation of rational souls for each of the descendants of every fully human being. (Strictly, “for many of the descendants” is all that is necessary.)

In that scenario, there would be no genetic bottleneck of the kind which geneticists say never existed. In addition, it seemed to me, within a reasonable amount of time every living biologically human being would have among its ancestors the first couple of fully human beings, and would also themselves be fully human.  Consequently, in accord with experience, there would be no “merely biological humans” walking around today. And, in accord with traditional Catholic teaching,  every fully human being who ever lived would be a descendant of the first fully human couple.

That would dissolve the apparent contradiction. The idea received favorable notice. Still, there were questions that might be asked that I had not been able to answer. How long would it take until all biologically human beings were also theologically human? Would full humanity be able to spread to the ends of the earth, even to long-isolated populations, such as in Tasmania? How long ago would our first parents have to have lived in order to make it plausible that every human being (including any prehistoric hominins that show signs of rationality) would be descended from them? How recent could they have been?

I was happy to hear last year that S. Joshua Swamidass had, in the book under review, offered scientific answers to some of those questions. Swamidass is a Washington University biologist and an Evangelical Protestant. Raised as “a young earth creationist … following a literalistic interpretation of Genesis,” he was also “drawn to science” and was determined to “resolve the conflicts between these two accounts” (p. 7).

2. Swamidass’s New Book: Its Contribution

In his new book Genealogical Adam & Eve: The Surprising Science of Universal Ancestry, Swamidass does two things. First, building on the work of others, he offered scientific answers to some of questions which I had not been able to answer in any detail. Second, he offered a narrative of the origin of the human race that differs in some important respects from my own, and which, moreover, is not in all respects compatible with Catholic doctrine. I will begin by discussing the very important contributions that he makes to the question. Then I will go on to express some concerns and objections that I have. Some of those are based on Catholic doctrine, others just on my own judgment about the matters in question.

Swamidass begins by offering “a speculative narrative of origins contain[ing] the traditional de novo account of Adam and Eve alongside evolutionary science” (p. 13). Science, he says, shows both that man originates in an entire population (with no bottleneck) and that man and apes have ancestors in common. The “traditional account” of Adam and Eve, he says, is that “Adam and Eve were real people, who (1) lived in the Middle East, just several thousand years ago, (2) were the ancestors of everyone, and (3) were created, with no parents, by a direct act of God” (p. 5). Swamidass argues, as I did, that if the descendants of Adam and Eve interbred with a larger population, both the scientific and a traditional religious account could be true. Of course, Swamidass’s formulation of the traditional account includes points that many Catholics would no longer include (such as Adam and Eve having no parents, and their living in the Middle East just a few thousand years ago), but none of those additional points affects the possibility of combining other parts of his work with more standard Catholic formulations.

He was able to offer scientific arguments for important points that I was only able to suggest. Three conclusions vary from what one might at first expect: “(1) universal ancestors arise recently in our past, (2) this finding is robust, not tightly dependent on any strong assumptions, and (3) universal ancestors are common, arising everywhere” (p. 46). How recently? There are people who lived as recently as a few thousand years ago who are ancestors of everyone who is alive today (p. 42). Indeed, one can also calculate an “identical ancestor point” where “everyone at that point and more ancient is either ancestor of everyone alive today or ancestor of no one.” A fourth conclusion, that most of them are “genetic ghosts,” who left “no evidence of their existence in our genomes” (p. 46), is also worth noting, since Swamidass comments that “Adam and Eve are most likely genetic ghosts that pass us no DNA” (p. 84). If they really were genetic ghosts, that fact would complicate an old Catholic proposal first suggested (though not explicitly defended) by Zeferino Cardinal González in 1892,20 namely divine modification of an evolved animal body. Presumably, such a modification would have to be passed on to many (if not all) of the descendants of Adam if it is to do the theological work required of it. There are, however, perhaps complex ways of reconciling the two ideas.

Swamidass’s results permit dates recent enough to satisfy even those who take the Genesis chronologies relatively literally, but that only shows how recently universal common ancestors could have lived, not how recently they must have lived; they do not rule out, for example, a pre-CroMagnon Adam.

3. An Objection: The Nature of the “People outside the Garden”

Despite my appreciation of the contribution which he has made to the topic, I do have two lines of concern about the book. One is about some terminological (but not merely verbal) matters as well as some associated historical questions. Those will be left for an appendix to this article. The other line is about more substantive issues.

The core of the book, as I indicated above, seems to me to be sound and to make an important contribution to the topic. He does, however, go on to elaborate his view in ways that call for separate comment. None of the details of the elaboration are central to what I think are the most important contributions of the book, discussed above.

His speculative narrative differs from mine in one particularly important respect, namely the nature of the individuals in the larger population within which Adam and Eve lived and with which their offspring interbred. In my 2011 article, although I acknowledged that the step beyond merely biological humanity could be made either on philosophical or on theological grounds (i.e., on the basis either that human beings have rational powers or that they have some distinctive relation to God), I meant to minimize the difference between those grounds, suggesting that Adam and Eve had both features while the merely biologically human beings, by contrast, had neither.

That did, to be sure, leave my account vulnerable to the charge that the interbreeding between the “fully human beings” and the “merely biologically human beings,” which was central to my thesis, constituted bestiality. The sexual relations in question were with beings that looked like and were reproductively compatible with fully human beings but were not rational. Such relations would be impersonal, to be sure, but that would make them more like casual sexual acts than like bestial ones. The objection of “bestiality” is what, in prosecutorial practice, is called “overcharging.” In any case, sexual relations between fully human and merely biologically human beings was not necessarily part of the divine plan for the human race. (Perhaps the original plan, aborted after the Fall, included the later infusion of rational souls into other members of the original population of biological humans.)

Swamidass develops a different scenario, which avoids the bestiality objection but, as we will see, at considerable theological cost. Swamidass divides the relevant population somewhat differently. His fundamental distinction is between Adam and Eve (who are “inside the Garden”) and their descendants, on the one hand, and “people outside the Garden,” i.e., the other biologically human beings with whom they interbred. These are “fully human,” at least “in important ways” (p. 149), though his terminology is a bit unsettled, for elsewhere he suggests that they not be called “humans” (rather than just “people”) outside the Garden (p. 134).

This allows him to avoid the idea that fully human beings interbred with merely biologically human beings (i.e., with what are really only animals). To avoid this, however, would require assuming that those “outside the Garden” were philosophically human. And since these were not descended from Adam, they could not have original sin either by personal act or by inheritance. Catholic doctrine, however, holds that all philosophically human beings who ever lived have original sin, with only two exceptions: Jesus and Mary. The usual Protestant objection to Catholicism on this point is that Catholics make one-too-many exceptions (namely Mary) to the otherwise universal guilt of original sin. Swamidass, however, though a Protestant, gives us a whole tribe more of such exceptions.

There are, it seems to me, two important respects in which Swamidass’s account is inconsistent with Catholic theology. The first is with respect to its anthropology, the second is with respect to the nature of sin.

Leaving theology aside for the moment, what makes a being “fully human”? I think that the answer is its rational powers (reason and free will), or, equivalently, possession of a rational soul (each of which, individually, has to be created by God). Swamidass says that “the image of God … and ‘rational souls’ might arise much earlier than Adam” (pp. 171 and 178). If that was the case, what would those earlier people have lacked that made them less than “true men”? What makes a being a true man has to be its nature, not (as Swamidass apparently would have it) just its vocation or history. His view, it seems to me, does not succeed in avoiding the idea that there were “true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from Adam,” which would make it inconsistent with the Catholic account presented in Humani generis.21 

Second, the distinction between the wrong-doing of those rational beings and the sin of Adam is unclear. They did wrong, Swamidass says, though their sins were of a sort different from Adam’s (p. 182). It may be that we can make a conceptual distinction (as Swamidass does, p. 189) between “imputation of debt” and “moral corruption;” but original sin (peccatum originale origanatum) is more than the former and, if “moral corruption” means actually having sinned, not equivalent to the latter. It is a dispositional property (like fragility). To say that a newborn baby has original sin is not just to say that it owes a debt due to Adam’s sin, but also that, if it reaches the age of reason, it will commit sins.

Swamidass’s book also takes up a number of other matters, some primarily of theological interest. I will mention here two questions that seem to me to be more closely related to scientific matters than some of the others.

First, when did Adam and Eve live? Swamidass emphasizes that genealogical considerations allow a surprisingly late date. Universal common ancestors of all human beings alive at the time of Christ could have lived as recently as about 10,000 years ago. He recognizes that Adam and Eve need not be our most recent universal common ancestors. For the reasons given above, however, Catholic theology will be guided here not merely by genealogical issues, but by evidence of rational behavior. Adam and Eve must be the ancestors of all rational human beings with any biological relation to us.22

Second, did the first human beings lack biological parents, their bodies being formed by direct divine action (from dust, or from a rib)? The controversy over whether Adam’s body was formed from the dust of the earth had a long run in Catholic theology, with repeated attempts on the part of the immediate-formationists to suppress the work of their evolutionist rivals. They achieved limited institutional success in the case of Dalmace Leroy and John Zahm at the end of the nineteenth century,23 but not in the case of Henry de Dorlodot, E. H. Messenger, or later authors.24 That controversy died down in the wake of the official tolerance of evolutionism (about human bodies) in Humani generis and is no longer a feature of most Catholic discussion of the question, where an evolutionary origin of the human body is taken for granted. Swamidass points out that it would by no means be impossible for God to form from dust a body like the evolved bodies of beings already in existence. Indeed, if God intended for them to interbreed with those other beings, the bodies of Adam and Eve would have to be like the bodies already in existence. In this, he is surely correct, a consolation for formationists, but not an option congenial to those, like Catholics, who think that God makes use of the natural processes which He has already established when they are available for the task at hand.

4. Conclusion.

Catholics interested in the question of the historical reality of Adam and Eve should definitely read this book. It makes some important new contributions to the subject that are entirely consistent with Catholic orthodoxy. There are, to be sure, also parts of the book that address questions that (rightly, I think) have not been of particular concern to Catholics, at least not in the last hundred years, and parts where Swamidass proposes ideas that, it seems to me, contradict relatively authoritative (though perhaps not unrevisable) Catholic teaching. Passages of these latter two types are, however, severable (to use the legal term) from the contributions he makes to the resolution of this putative conflict between science and theology.

[Kenneth W. Kemp is Professor of Philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota and author of the forthcoming book “The War the Never Was: Evolution and Christian Thought” (2020, Wipf  and Stock)]

Appendix: Terms (Their Definitions, Histories, & Associations)

My other point of criticism of the book concerns its use of, and what it has to say about, several terms central to the debate: mono- and polygenism, mono- and polyphyletic, and pre-Adamites. Its discussion of these terms includes some historical errors.

First, the book’s definition of “mono- and polyphyletic” is idiosyncratic. These terms ordinarily refer to unity or diversity of origins—mammals is a monophyletic taxon; Linnaeus’s worms is polyphyletic. Swamidass, by contrast, defined these terms by reference to sameness or diversity of biological type (p. 120). He has since acknowledged that that is not standard usage; readers will want to see his revision of the relevant passages.

The question of the proper meaning of the term “polygenism” is more complex. It was coined by Gliddon in the nineteenth century to name his view that human races were different species, originating in different places,25 in contrast to the monogenism of, for example, his theological opponents. Within a few years, however, the term often meant merely diversity in origin (independent of unity or diversity of species).26 Neither term quite characterized the Darwinian account. Even an entire population in a single center of origin was less diversity than the term “polygenism” had originally meant, but an entire population was a broader origin than the traditional sense of “monogenism” allowed. Haeckel’s term fit Darwin’s account better. It was monophyletic.

Catholic theologians, though not at first, broadened the term “polygenesis” to include any alternative to their doctrine that there was a single first human couple (which they called “monogenism”), acknowledging that there were both polyphyletic (Agassiz’s, or, more recently, Carlton Coon’s 27) and monophyletic (Darwin’s) versions of polygenism.28

My second terminological concern is that the book recommends avoiding some terms that are fairly standard, and, I think, quite useful, namely “polygenism” and “pre-Adamites.” Swamidass thinks that both terms should be abandoned because they are too closely associated with the idea of a diversity of human species and that, in turn, with racial injustice (pp. 120, 134). His recommendations are, I think, based partly on mistakes about the strength of the historical associations of the terms and partly on an excessive rigor about the proper response to such associations as there are, indeed a Draconian approach to lexical ostracism.

The facts of association are complex, concerning ontology (the specific unity of the human species), comparison of groups (whether some are superior to others), and ethics (whether any superiority alleged would justify, say, imperialism or slavery). The connections among those various ideas are not tight. I think that Swamidass is not always correct about the connections which he asserts.

Some authors (e.g., Darwin and Huxley) defended the original and specific unity of man. Swamidass incorrectly presents Huxley as a polygenist (p. 125), apparently thinking that Huxley said that there was more than one human species. Huxley in fact wrote that the polygenists “have as yet completely failed to adduce satisfactory positive proof of the specific diversity of mankind.” 29

Others (e.g., La Peyrère and, at least in his earlier writings, Agassiz) defended original diversity and specific unity of humans. Swamidass says that La Peyrère divided human beings into “biologically distinct species” (p. 123), but that is not correct. When La Peyrère said that there were different “species” of men,30 he meant only something more like “ethnic groups.” 31 Elsewhere, La Peyrère referred to the human species in the singular.32

The connection between the idea that there were superior and inferior races, and the proper treatment of the latter, if there were any, is also complex. There is no trace of prejudice in the work of La Peyrère, though there is much in Gliddon. A general belief in the superiority of European over other human beings was a prejudice fairly widespread among European and American participants in the debate. Both “polygenism” and “pre-Adamites” were used in works that defended the superiority of some races over others.33 Nevertheless, those ideas about superiority were in no sense a conclusion from premises about original or even specific differences among human beings and judgments about superiority did not always lead to attempted justification of the unjust practices of the day. Even some defenders of strong versions of the superiority thesis (e.g., Vogt) condemned slavery.34

So, although the term “polygenism” was coined by an author who believed in plurality of human species, as well as in diversity of origin, it has not, pace Swamidass, invariably traveled together either with the former concept or with invidious attitudes and practices. How shall we decide whether the terms should be abandoned? “History is critical for understanding these terms,” Swamidass says (p. 120). I agree, but what part of history and how critical? Is history decisive or just relevant? And what history—the origin of the term or its later use? Is the basis for decision first use or worst use? Of course, historical associations do sometimes taint originally symbols and gestures that were once unobjectionable. That’s why the 45th Infantry Division removed the Native-American swastika from its shoulder-sleeve insignia in 1939 and American school children stopped pledging allegiance with the straight-arm Bellamy Salute in 1942.

Defenders of racism did put polygenistic and pre-Adamitic theories to invidious use (as they have done with other ideas and symbols, ranging from Biblical literalism and the Cross to the American flag), but no one remembers Gliddon anymore, and everyone knows Greek. By now both terms have had a long run as completely neutral terms. The term “polygenism”  is still useful in making the trichotomous Catholic taxonomy (polyphyletic polygenism, monophyletic polygenism, and monophyletic monogenism) despite the complications introduced by the Interbreeding Thesis to which Swamidass and I both subscribe. For that reason, I think that it is best to allow etymology, long neutral usage, and utility to trump any bad odor that the terms might have gained when they flowed from the pens of less reputable authors. While I do not want to force use of terms on those who continue to dislike them, I do think that the case for their continued use is very strong.

As I mentioned, the Interbreeding Thesis that is central to Swamidass’s work and to my own, does complicate the application of the term “monogenism” by uncovering an imprecision. In the past, monogenism had been understood by most of its adherents to mean collapse of all ancestral lines on a single pair of human beings, i.e., descent only from them, but not from anyone else who is neither a (pre-human) ancestor nor a descendant of theirs (or, more briefly if less precisely, not at all from any of their neighbors). The Interbreeding Thesis proposes an account in which there is no such collapse. There is a single couple which is included among the ancestors of all later human beings (or, for Swamidass, at least all those alive at some point in the past), even though those later human beings have also among their ancestors other fully human beings contemporary with that first couple (Co-Adamites, I would call them, though Swamidass does not like the term (p. 134)). I am content to say about that scenario that it is monogenistic in the way the Church requires (one fully human couple, ancestors of all other human beings), but polygenistic in the way that geneticists require (with no populational bottleneck). Swamidass, for the reasons given above, does not want to say that it is polygenistic at all.


1..   Mivart, On the Genesis of Species (Appleton, 1871), 278–286.

2..   Pius XII, Humani Generis ¶¶35–37.

3..  The Tridentine formulation was that “The sin of Adam is in its origin one and, being transfused into all by propagation, not by imitation, is in all men and proper to each” (Decree Concerning Original Sin, 3).

4.. La Peyrère, Pre-Adamitae (1655) (trans. Men before Adam) and Systema Theologicum (1655) (trans. Theological Systeme).

5..  Winchell, Adamites and Preadamites (Roberts, 1878) and Preadamites (Griggs, 1880).

6..  Nott and Gliddon, Indigenous Races of the Earth (Lippincott, 1857), ch. 5.

7.. Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte (Reimer, 1868), 511 (trans. of a later ed., The History of Creation (Appleton, 1880), 303).

8.. Vogt, Vorlesungen über den Menschen: Seine Stellung in der Schöpfung und in der Geschichte der Erde (1863) (trans. Lectures on Man).

9.. Agassiz, “The Diversity of Origin of the Human Races,” Christian Examiner (1850), 49, 110-145, at 140.

10.. Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, 1889 ed., p. 721 (History of Creation, 4th ed, 2: 411).

11..  Huxley, “The Methods and Results of Ethnology,” Fortnightly Review (1: 257–277).

12..  Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, 512.

13.. Ayala, “Molecular Genetics of Speciation and Human Origins,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (USA) (1994), 91: 6787–6794; and “Evolution and the Uniqueness of Humankind,” Origins: CNS Documentary Service (1998), 27: 565–74.

14..  Emphasis mine. “Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God,” ¶70.

15..  Catechism, ¶390.

16.. Kemp, “Science, Theology, and Monogenesis,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (2011), 85: 2: 217–236.

17.. Alexander, “Human Origins and Genetics,” Clergy Review 49 (1964): 344–53, at 350–1.

18.. I tried to accommodate non-Thomistic approaches to the question by acknowledging that one might also focus on a theological criterion at this point in the scenario.

19.. Some of my critics have objected that I should not call Adam’s neighbors “biologically human” since, not being rational, they are not human at all. I wonder what those critics call counterfeit money.

20.. González, La Biblia y la Ciencia (Izquierdo, 1892), I: 514–515.

21..  Pius XII, Humani generis, ¶37.

22.. Perhaps not of all rational beings. On extra-terrestrials and Pre-Adamites unrelated to us, see A. J. Maas, “Pre-Adamites,” The Catholic Encyclopedia (1911), 12: 370–371.

23.. On which, see Mariano Artigas et al., Negotiating Darwin (Johns Hopkins, 2006).

24.. For which, you will have to wait for me to finish my own book.

25.. Gliddon, Indigenous Races of the Earth, ch. 5.

26.. Huxley, “Methodology,” 274–5; Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte (1868), 511; Augustus Henry Keane, “Ethnology,” in James Hastings, ed., Encyclopedia of Religion & Ethics (1912), 5: 522.

27.. Coon, The Origin of Races (Knopf, 1962).

28.. See James R. Hofmann, “Catholicism and Evolution: Polygenism and Original Sin,” forthcoming in Scientia et Fides.

29.. Huxley, “Methodology,” 275, but see also p. 257.

30.. La Peyrère wrote “Judae species hominum distincta a specie gentilium,” for which his English translator of 1655 put “the Jews [are] a species of men distinct in species from the Gentiles” (Theological Systeme, Bk. 2, ch. 11), but his Latin “a specie” does not mean “in species from the Gentiles,” but “from the species of the Gentiles.” The term “species” should be read there only to mean “kinds.”

31.. For another 17th-century author using the word in the same way, see Adam Olearius’ comment (in his The Voyages and Travells of the Ambassadors, Engl. trans., 2d ed. (1669), p. 126) about what he called the “four species of Tatars”—Volga, Crimean, &c.

32.. La Peyrère, Systema theologicum, Bk. 5, ch. 1.

33.. Gliddon and Nott for “polygenism;” Winchell, for “pre-Adamitism.”

34.. Vogt called it a “cursed institution” (Lectures on Man, 92).


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