To acknowledge all that has helped me to understand Genesis is like trying to acknowledge all that has ever been done for me. The stories of Genesis seemed to come with life itself, and as I write I have in front of me the battered Illustrated Bible History (“Schuster”) that my father used in our primary school and for our confirmation. Even now its simple illustrations seem like icons. They shaped the world and planted seeds of Genesis in our souls.
Those seeds were nurtured by later teachers in Ireland, Rome, and Jerusalem, and they were particularly developed by decades of students—in the West Indies, Florida, Berkeley, St. Louis, and Kwa-Zulu Natal—who accompanied me on repeated journeys through the soul-searching landscapes of Genesis.
During the final years of writing I have been helped by many others. The meetings of the Boston Theological Institute sharpened my sense of the problems. Richard Clifford S. J. and John Kselman S. S. of Weston Jesuit School of Theology provided various forms of encouragement and help. Reverend Michael Tunnicliffe of Luther King House, Manchester, United Kingdom, corrected some final details. Cynthia Read of Oxford University Press guided the process of publication. Philip McShane O. P. and Joe O'Brien O. P. rescued me from several computer crises. There seems to be no end to the patience of librarians, particularly those at Weston Jesuit School of Theology and at Harvard Divinity School. Gloria Korsman tracked down the illustration for the cover.
Others were patient in a different way. The Dominicans allowed me time and freedom. My family of origin, especially my surviving parent, my mother, did not complain. Relatives and friends tried to make allowances for a fascination with an old book.
To all, from the beginning until now, thanks indeed.
Centre for Biblical Teaching and Research T. B.
Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick October 2000