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July 17, 2006



" Also, until very recently, many humans lived in small, fairly isolated communities and didn't have a lot of opportunity for marrying outside their neighbors..."

But if you study American Indian history, you will see that although they did live in small, isolated groups, they did however travel hundreds of miles every year, and there was extensive tribal intermarriage.


Of course, what society thinks constitutes incest has changed over the last couple of centuries. Until fairly recently, it was standard for people to mary their first cousin without comment, including all the progenitors of Israel, the house of David, and Jesus.

Isaac married his aunt, Rebekah. His son Jacob, named Israel, also married his cousins, Rachel and Leah, who were the daughters of Laban, i.e. his neices. Now that's backwoods.

Lauhed outloud from the backwoodscomment!

David B.


Are you saying Jesus was married? I'm not obsessed, it's just that, IMHO, that was a poorly-worded part of your comment.


The fact that most people marry within their own group and have done so historically suggests that this is a weak desire, but there is still an attraction to the exotic. People from other cultures can seem mysterious and romantic or their accents may be perceived as sexy.

Reminds me of how in the Victorian era there was a bit of a fad for all things eastern, men liking the idea of "geisha girls", and so on. And I remember one gentleman of that era, or perhaps it was an earlier period, who was only interested in black women. This goes against people's commonly held ideas about people living at that time.


Hmm... in the last few days you have covered science fiction over an IPod, a science fiction convention, Pirates of the Caribbean II, British to American Spelling, Losing pounds while you sleep, Green Beards, and more Green Beards. I wonder where the jimmyakin.org site went that I enjoy.

Dean Whinery

This was a well-written essay on incest, and a worthy subject for someone involved in apologetics and biblical history. The Church does delineate just how close is too close, or as Christopher West hs remarked, "If you have extra fingers, you're too close."
Even today, one man's incest is another man's normal society, depending upon the definition of the subject. There are places in the world that are just now coming out of relative isolation, where marriage to cousins has been common simply because there was nobody else to marry. And then there's Utah.
By the way, has anyone answered the small boy's question, "Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?"


You forgot cooties. Brothers and sisters have cooties. And there's no intrigue to them; their purpose is to annoy the crap out of you until you can move out on your own.


Without the incest taboo, there would never be anyone close to you who didn't regard you as a potential sex partner.

I mean, obviously, there's something to be said for regarding yourself as a man or a woman. But there's also something to be said for knowing yourself, and having others know you, as simply a person. There should be someone who doesn't care whether you're sexually attractive or not.

I suspect this is also something of the power behind celibacy.


Leon Kass, in his book Genesis--The Beginning of Wisdom, adds another dimension on the incest topic. This forum is too short to elaborate his points but a key observation of his is his insight into what was Abram thinking when he passes off his wife, Sarai, to the Pharoh and Abimelech as his sister, and how Abram has to be taught what is upright and just. It's only in the Genesis account with Abimelech that we indeed learn that Sarai was indeed Abram's sister because their father was Terah. Sarai had a different mother than Abram tho. I found Kass' book to be quite extraordinary. He even has insight into a hidden secret in the Genesis 5 geneology of the 10 generations from Adam to Noah. If you haven't had a chance to read Kass' book, here is an excerpt ~


Good call, Maureen. Makes a whole lot of sense to me.



I've heard that there is an uncommon amount of incest between relatives who meet each other first as adults. I've also noticed that men and women frequently marry someone who could pass for their sister or brother; part of the like-me effect. How does this work into the conversation?


When I was a little girl I always wanted to marry my brother. He was so protective of me and defended me in my silly little battles. (he once beat up a boy who had pushed my head through narrow iron railings and had left me there while he went off home for his tea...ah, those were the 'good' ole days)

My brother loved me though I annoyed him and even gave me his snotty tissue to blow my nose on after he'd made me cry...what better qualities could a husband have? (lot's methinks)

It made perfect sense to me in my childish way that since we shared our lives as children, we would do so as adults (and of course, we do, though not in the way I had imagined).

As I got older, I found my brother to be an annoying idiot. I remember thinking, "thank *** 'I' don't have to marry the jerk"

And then I went and married another one. LOL!


So, Jimmy:

Who was Cain's wife? You can't leave us hanging like that! ;-)

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