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Rethinking Genesis 1–11: Gateway to the Bible

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ISBN: 9781498217439

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Genesis 1-11 contains some of the best-known stories in the world. To modern Westerners they may look like no more than entertaining tales that children can enjoy, but modern adults cannot take seriously. However, when read in the context of the ancient Orient, Genesis 1-11 looks very different. It turns out to be a truly revolutionary document. In retelling the history of the ancient world, it puts a new spin on it by introducing an all-powerful, all-knowing, unique God whose greatest concern is human welfare.
The God who appears in Genesis 1-11 is the God presupposed by all the Old Testament writers, indeed by the New Testament as well. The gripping tales of Genesis thus provide the theological spectacles for a sympathetic reading of the Bible. They are the gateway to a valid understanding of its message and can even help modern believers construct a worldview that integrates both the discoveries of modern science and the insights of Christian theology.

Top Highlights

“By describing mankind as the ‘image of God,’ the Creator is assigning a unique status to the human race: its many members are God’s representatives on earth, given the duty of managing the rest of creation for God.” (source)

“The first and fundamental point it makes is that there is only one God” (source)

“Creating the cosmos is like building a shrine for God: he intended to dwell on earth with man. Though subsequent chapters of Genesis record the frustration of this plan, it is important to recognize the divine intention. This ideal of rest and harmony hangs together with the implied vegetarianism of man and beast indicated by God assigning them the plants to eat. Peace between all God’s creatures and the divine presence on earth is the essence of the divine scheme.” (source)

“It has long been observed that the six days of creation are paired: that though the first three days must have differed from the last three because there was no sun to define the first group, the first day corresponds to the fourth, the second to the fifth, and the third to the sixth.” (source)

“Through this comparison the garden is portrayed as the archetypal sanctuary, where God and man should dwell together in harmony. And Adam is the archetypal priest of this primeval temple.” (source)

"In this revisiting of Genesis 1-11 by a leading commentator on Genesis, the main foci of discussion are the creation narratives and the account of the flood. Wenham skillfully utilizes the opportunity to concentrate on the main features of the narratives, in their own right and in comparison with relevant ancient Near Eastern traditions. The result is an impressive statement of the message, abiding value, and significance for the whole biblical canon, of the 'Genesis protohistory.'"
--Robert Gordon, emeritus Regius Professor of Hebrew, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

"Another book on Genesis 1-11! Are these chapters myths? Are they borrowed from Babylon? Gordon Wenham builds on his notable Word commentary to focus on central ideas. He demonstrates the literary art in them and traces themes present at first, resurfacing later, then integral throughout Scripture to its fulfillment. Oft-emphasized similarities with Babylonian stories fade beside differences, notably in theology. . . . This small volume deserves to be added even to laden bookshelves."
--Alan Millard, emeritus Rankin Professor, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

"In this revisiting of Genesis 1-11 by a leading commentator on Genesis, the main foci of discussion are the creation narratives and the account of the flood. Wenham skillfully utilizes the opportunity to concentrate on the main features of the narratives, in their own right and in comparison with relevant ancient Near Eastern traditions. The result is an impressive statement of the message, abiding value, and significance for the whole biblical canon, of the 'Genesis protohistory.'"
--Robert Gordon, emeritus Regius Professor of Hebrew, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

"Another book on Genesis 1-11! Are these chapters myths? Are they borrowed from Babylon? Gordon Wenham builds on his notable Word commentary to focus on central ideas. He demonstrates the literary art in them and traces themes present at first, resurfacing later, then integral throughout Scripture to its fulfillment. Oft-emphasized similarities with Babylonian stories fade beside differences, notably in theology. . . . This small volume deserves to be added even to laden bookshelves."
--Alan Millard, emeritus Rankin Professor, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Product Details

  • Title : Rethinking Genesis 1–11: Gateway to the Bible
  • Author: Wenham, Gordon
  • Publisher: Cascade Books
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • ISBN: 9781498217439

Gordon Wenham (PhD, University of London) is an adjunct professor at Trinity College, Bristol. He previously studied theology at the universities of Cambridge, London, and Harvard, and taught Old Testament at Belfast and Gloucestershire Universities. He has also authored a number of critically acclaimed Bible commentaries and books. Gordon and his wife, Lynne, have four children.

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    $9.60

    Digital list price: $16.00
    Save $6.40 (40%)