In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis

Overview

"KAREN ARMSTRONG IS A GENIUS."
--A. N. Wilson

As the foundation stone of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, The Book of Genesis unfolds some of the most arresting stories of world literature--the Creation; Adam and Eve; Cain and Abel; the sacrifice of Isaac. Yet the meaning of Genesis remains enigmatic. In this fascinating volume, Karen Armstrong, author of the highly acclaimed bestseller A History of God, brilliantly illuminates the mysteries and profundities of this mystifying work.

"A lyrical chronicle of ...

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Overview

"KAREN ARMSTRONG IS A GENIUS."
--A. N. Wilson

As the foundation stone of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, The Book of Genesis unfolds some of the most arresting stories of world literature--the Creation; Adam and Eve; Cain and Abel; the sacrifice of Isaac. Yet the meaning of Genesis remains enigmatic. In this fascinating volume, Karen Armstrong, author of the highly acclaimed bestseller A History of God, brilliantly illuminates the mysteries and profundities of this mystifying work.

"A lyrical chronicle of one woman's wrestling with Genesis that can serve as a guide to others . . . As notable for its scholarship as it is for its honesty and vulnerability."
--Publishers Weekly

"Armstrong can simplify complex ideas, but she is never simplistic."
--The New York Times Book Review

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Having written A History of God (1993) and Jerusalem (1996), prolific and bestselling author Armstrong turns her considerable imaginative skill and critical acumen to an interpretation of the first book of the Bible. In a series of short meditations, Armstrong explores each of the major scriptural units in Genesis, from the creation accounts (Genesis 1-3) to the death of Joseph (Genesis 50). In her reflection on and interpretation of Adam and Eve's fall from grace, she notes that the act of plucking the forbidden fruit renders the couple like God, in that they use their "wisdom and the power that comes with it for apparently evil ends as well as for good." Armstrong integrates the sophistication of biblical scholarship with the more raw inquisitiveness of the common reader. The result is a lyrical chronicle of one woman's wrestling with Genesis that can serve as a guide to others grappling with the book. While many of Armstrong's readings may provoke controversy, she provides a model of scriptural interpretation that is as notable for its scholarship as it is for its honesty and vulnerability. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The best-selling author of A History of God (LJ 9/15/93), Armstrong gives us here essentially a highly personal modern-day midrash. She interprets selected accounts of Genesis using an archetypal approach to literature so as to offer insights into the problematic nature of human religion, especially the problems of separation between humans and God. The author presents the human predicament not as the consequence of a fall that led to the guilt of original sin (per Augustine) but as the "inevitable" result of a process "inherent" in creation. Not all readers will accept her thesis that the God of Genesis is portrayed as no less, and sometimes more, culpable than humans for an ever-widening gulf between them. Nevertheless, one will find here many helpful insights drawn from the religious paradigms of Genesis, such as those concerning the relationship between myth and modern culture. Included here, the text of Genesis (NRSV) makes up a third of the book's volume. For readers of popular religious books. [For more on this book, see "Something To Talk About,'' LJ 9/1/96, p. 140-143.Ed.]Robert H. O'Connell, Colorado Christian Univ., Denver
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345406040
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 436,315
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.45 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2001

    Insightful, Illuminating

    As an author who has also taken a long look at the book of Genesis (Eric Westra, 'A New Beginning', 2000), I am well aware of the complexities and subtle nuances found within the text of Genesis. I was very impressed with Armstrong's firm grasp of the biblical text with all of its complexities, while at the same time never coming across as being pedantic, obtuse, or closed-minded. Armstrong opened my mind to things I had not previously considered. To anyone interested in probing the layers of meaning that can be found beyond a simple reading of Genesis, I recommend this book.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 8, 2010

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