Genesis 1-11: Tales of the Earliest World

Genesis 1-11: Tales of the Earliest World

Genesis 1-11: Tales of the Earliest World

Genesis 1-11: Tales of the Earliest World

Synopsis

This book invites readers to reconsider what they think they know about the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis, from the creation of the world, through the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel, to the introduction of Abraham. Edwin M. Good offers a new translation of and literary commentary on these chapters, approaching the material as an ancient Hebrew book. Rather than analyzing the chapters in light of any specific religious position, he is interested in what the stories say and how they work as stories, indications in them of their origins as orally performed and transmitted, and how they do and do not connect with one another. Everyone, from those intimately familiar with Genesis to those who have never read it before, will find something new in Genesis 1-11: Tales of the Earliest World.

Excerpt

This book had an origin somewhat unusual. I was having a conversation one evening with my wife, Anita Sullivan, about the creation story in Genesis, chapter 1, not a regular subject of conversation between us. Afterward, I thought that I ought to look again at the Hebrew text. Doing so, I was pleased to find that my knowledge of Hebrew, though somewhat rusty, had not completely abandoned me, and I thought I’d just try a bit of translating. Coming up for air several days later, I realized that I had drafted about twenty-five pages of a book that looked to turn into a reading of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. And here it is, mercifully slender and the product of some rather unaccustomed thinking about things I had not thought about for some time. When I retired from Stanford University in 1991, I thought I had published my last book about the Hebrew Bible, a sizable one on the Book of Job (In Turns of Tempest: A Reading of Job with a Translation, Stanford University Press, 1990). Well, I was mistaken.

If I read Genesis, chapters 1–11, with as much attention as I can, it may be one way to persuade those who read this discussion to do the same with their own eyes and minds. My point is not to set forth . . .

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