Encountering the Book of Genesis

Encountering the Book of Genesis


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This accessible introduction to the Book of Genesis examines introductory issues, overarching themes, and the overall argument of the book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801026386
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/01/2003
Series: Encountering Biblical Studies Series
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 6.75(w) x 9.75(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Bill T. Arnold is professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the coauthor of Encountering the Old Testament and coeditor of Readings from the Ancient Near East.

Table of Contents

Editor's Preface11
Publisher's Preface13
Author's Preface15
To the Student16
Before You Begin ...17
Part 1Encountering God's Creation (Genesis 1-11)
1.The Grandeur of God's Perfect Creation (1:1-2:3)21
How Did It All Begin? Details of Genesis 1
The Recurring Creation Formula
The Symmetry of Genesis 1
The Role of Genesis 1:1-2
Significance of Genesis 1
Sovereignty of God
Goodness of Creation
Role of Humankind
Key Terms
Study Questions
2.The History of the First Human Family (2:4-4:26)31
What's Different about Genesis 2-4?
Events inside the Garden of Eden (2-3)
Adam and Eve in the Garden (2)
Adam and Eve Expelled from the Garden (3)
Events outside the Garden of Eden (4)
Key Terms
Study Questions
3.What's Wrong with This Picture?43
Who Were Israel's Neighbors?
The Mesopotamians
The Egyptians
Peoples of Syria-Palestine
Ancient Theories of Creation and Early Human History
Ancient Near Eastern Parallels to Genesis 1
Ancient Near Eastern Parallels to the Themes of Genesis 2-4
Israel: A Picture, a Mirror, or a Window?
Significance for Modern Christians
Key Terms
Study Questions
4.Sin's Contamination of Creation (5:1-11:26)55
So, What Happened Next? The Children of Adam and Eve (5:1-6:8)
The Flood (6:9-9:29)
Review of the Narrative
Parallels with Ancient Literature
Problems after the Flood (9:18-29)
Where Did All These Nations Come From?
Shem Again?
Postscript on Genesis 1-11
Key Term
Study Questions
Part 2Encountering Abraham: God's Faithful Servant (Genesis 12-25)
5.The Beginning of Our Faith Heritage (11:27-14:24)69
Terah's Family (11:27-32)
The Call of Abram and the Promises of God (12:1-9)
Abram in Egypt (12:10-20)
Trouble with Lot (13-14)
Study Questions
6.Tracking Abram and His Family77
Where in the World Are These Places?
Ur of the Chaldeans
Oak of Moreh
Bethel and Ai
The Negev
Oaks of Mamre
Gerar and Beersheba
Looking for Mr. Abram
Categories for Ancient History
The Early Bronze Age
The Middle Bronze Age
The Late Bronze Age
The Iron Age
Possible Dates for the Patriarchs
A Date in Early Bronze III
A Date in Middle Bronze I
A Date in Middle Bronze II
A Date in the Late Bronze Age
A Date in the Iron Age
Religion of the Patriarchs
Key Terms
Study Questions
7."Then God Gave Him the Covenant" (15:1-17:27)89
Melchizedek and the King of Sodom (14:17-24)
Defining Abram's Special Relationship with God (15)
"I Am Your Shield" (15:1-6)
"I Am the Lord" (15:7-21)
Hagar and Ishmael (16)
Signs of God's Covenant (17)
Study Questions
8.Standing on the Promises of God (18:1-25:18)99
Promised Son and Problem Nephew (18-19)
Abraham and Sarah Entertain Guests (18)
Sodom and Gomorrah (19)
Abraham and Abimelech (20)
The Promised Son--At Long Last! (21:1-21)
Agreement with Abimelech (21:22-34)
Abraham's Great Test (22)
Family Matters (23:1-25:18)
The Death of Sarah (23)
A Suitable Wife for Isaac (24)
The Death of Abraham (25:1-18)
Key Term
Study Questions
Part 3Encountering Jacob: God's Troubled Servant (Genesis 25-36)
9.Jacob Struggles with His Family (25:19-31:55)117
Of Twins and Birthrights (25:19-34)
Birth of the Twins (25:19-28)
Stolen Birthright (25:29-34)
Isaac and Abimelech (26)
Jacob Steals the Blessing (27)
The Ladder (28)
Jacob's Escape from Esau (28:1-9)
Jacob's Dream (28:10-22)
Jacob and Laban (29-31)
Jacob Marries the Daughters of Laban (29:1-30)
Jacob's Children (29:31-30:24)
Jacob's Prosperity (30:25-43)
Trouble with Laban (31)
Jacob Leaves Mesopotamia (31:1-21)
Laban Pursues Jacob (31:22-42)
Jacob and Laban Make a Parting Covenant (31:43-55)
Study Questions
10.Jacob Struggles with God (32:1-37:1)131
Jacob Meets God, Jacob Meets Esau (32-33)
Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau (32:3-21)
Jacob Meets God (32:22-32)
Jacob Meets Esau (33)
The Violation of Dinah (34)
Back to Bethel (35)
Esau Epilogue (36)
Key Term
Study Questions
Part 4Encountering Joseph: God's Model Servant (Genesis 37-50)
11.Joseph in Egypt (37:2-41:57)
The Context of the Joseph Narrative143
Contrast between Esau and Jacob
What Is Different about the Joseph Narrative?
What Is the Same about the Joseph Narrative?
Joseph and His Brothers (37)
A Tale of Two Dreams (37:2-11)
Joseph in the Pit (37:12-24)
Joseph in Potiphar's House (37:25-36)
The Judah Interlude (38)
Judah and Tamar (38:1-30)
The Place of Genesis 38
Joseph's Rise over Egypt (39-41)
Joseph in Charge of Potiphar's House (39)
Pharaoh's Cupbearer and Baker (40)
Pharaoh's Dreams (41)
Key Term
Study Questions
12.Joseph over Egypt (42:1-50:26)155
The Rationale for the Joseph Narrative
The Sons of Jacob Are Reunited (42-45)
First Trip to Egypt (42)
Second Trip to Egypt (43-45)
Settling in Goshen (46-47)
Vision at Beersheba (46:1-4)
In Egypt (46:5-47:12)
Joseph during the Famine (47:13-31)
The Deaths of Jacob and Joseph (48-50)
Jacob Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh (48:1-22)
Jacob Blesses His Sons (49:1-28)
The Death and Burial of Jacob (49:29-50:21)
The Death of Joseph (50:22-26)
Key Term
Study Questions
Part 5Encountering the Authorship of Genesis
13.Evidence for Authorship167
Evidence on the Authorship of the Pentateuch
Biblical References
Jewish and Christian Tradition
Grammatical Evidence
Sociopolitical Evidence
Manuscript Evidence
Redactional Evidence
Ancient Near Eastern Parallels
Religious Perspective
Requirements of the Evidence
A Word about Words
What Is the Most That Could Be Said?
What Is the Least That Could Be Said?
Possibilities of the Evidence
Moses, the Yahwistic Innovator
Moses, the Delegator of Authority
Moses, the Fountainhead of Prophecy
Scribes of Israel's Monarchy
The Role of the Exilic Community
Key Terms
Study Questions
14.Interpretations of the Evidence181
Nature of Biblical Criticism
Survey of the Methods
Textual Criticism
Source Criticism and Redaction Criticism
Form Criticism and Tradition Criticism
Historical Criticism
Literary Criticism
Canonical Criticism
Survey of Scholarship on the Book of Genesis
Eighteenth Century
Jean Astrue
Johann G. Eichhorn
Nineteenth Century
W. M. L. de Wette
Heinrich Ewald
Wilhelm Vatke
Herman W. Hupfeld and Eduard Riehm
K. H. Graf and Abraham Kuenen
Julius Wellhausen
Conservative Responses
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg
James Orr
Early and Mid-twentieth Century
Archaeology and the Ancient Near East
William F. Albright
Hermann Gunkel
Albrecht Alt and Martin Noth
Gerhard von Rad
Recent Developments
Thomas L. Thompson and John Van Seters
Rolf Rendtorff
Canonical and Literary Criticism
Key Terms
Study Questions
Conclusion: Genesis and Beyond199
From Paradise to the Patriarchal Promises
The Problem with Paradise
The Promises to Abraham
The Promises to Isaac
The Promises to Jacob and Joseph
From the Patriarchs to Moses
From Moses to Jesus
Study Questions
Subject Index225
Scripture Index231

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