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Understanding Genesis

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"This book...is designed to make the Bible of Israel intelligible, relevant and, hopefully, inspiring to a sophisticated generation, possessed of ... Show synopsis

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Overall customer rating: 5.000
StBrendanMission

Understanding Genesis

by StBrendanMission on Mar 27, 2014

Nahum Sarna's Understanding Genesis, is for me, a must read for both Jewish and Christian readers. His approach does not attempt to reveal deep, hidden spirituality within the text of this book of scripture. That job is to be done by others (who should read this book first). Neither does he dismiss anything within the text as religious contrivance or an artifact of ancient myths. In fact, it is a work dedicated to understanding Genesis in the context of its origin while accepting the importance of divine revelation. He uses Hittite, Assyrian, Babylonian archaeological finds with the ease of one long familiar with them. For instance, he notes a find in Nineveh, from a library discovered in the early twentieth century. The find was a legal document granting the status of sister to the wife of a particular man, thereby changing her status and rights as a wife. This clarifies the uncomfortable possibility that a man married his sister: it is rather a legal status than a familial bond. What those rights were is unclear but appears to be common at the time of Abraham. This helps to explain why Sarah is both wife and sister. She was not his blood sister. It is with these kinds of offerings that he gives his readers insight into the ancient Mesopotamian world. This is indubitably a scholarly work but also accessible to both lay and academic readers who are sure to be edified. I, personally, would recommend it for seminaries as part of theological, Pentateuchal and biblical studies. For those seeking incarnational substrata for new testament study, this would make for a solid beginning textbook. Certainly this work does not have to be read in isolation from other works. It is nonetheless a strong means to inform study in the realm of biblical studies, Jewish and Christian.

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