Unlike any other stories in our culture, those in the book of Genesis confront us with provoking scenes of love and death, stark allegiances and subtle betrayals. At first glance, these narratives may seem straightforward, but as we reread and delve more deeply into them, they begin to resonate with new meaning and force us to reexamine our understanding of the social, ethical and political landscape in which we live.
But in the beginning were the writers of the stories. Over the centuries, the morals and meanings that traditional readings have attached to the stories of Genesis effectively obscured the contemporary culture that produced them. Even experts and commentators have tended to miss the point: they all agree that Genesis is special, but the question of why the book was written has never been properly addressed. Now, for the first time, twenty of our leading novelists, poets, dramatists and essayists turn their attention to a particular story in Genesis and comment on it from the perspective of the storyteller. Together, they begin to discover the imaginative sensibilities of the ancient writer, as the very motivations of the biblical authors and their characters come to light. The result is a stunningly realized literary collection that will forever change they way you read the Bible's first stories.
Genesis: As It Is Written features Grace Schulman on the poet-narrator of Creation; Madison Smartt Bell's look at a more loving creation tale; Arthur Miller's demonstration of how the fall from paradise defines human existence; Ron Hansen casting himself as Cain opposite his brother's Abel; David Mamet unearthing the unquenchable, destructive anger in the story of the Flood; James Carroll illuminating the relationship between God and Abraham; Kathleen Norris' perspective on Rebekah as a mother; and many more insightful original essays.
Throughout this brave and imaginative compilation, our most gifted writers offer startling new ways of looking at these familiar stories. Essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of writing or biblical literature, Genesis: As It Is Written proves that the enduring words of Genesis are as potent today as they were when they were first written.
Table of Contents: Introduction: As It Is Written, by David Rosenberg Grace Schullman on the Story of the Creation Poet Madison Smartt Bell on the Story of the Days of Creation Arthur Miller on the Story of Adam and Eve Michael Dorris on the Story of Abel Ron Hansen on the Story of Cain David Mamet on the Story of Noah David Shapiro on the Story of the Tower of Babel James Carrol on the Story of Abraham Alfred Corn on the Story of Lot Phillip Lopate on the Story of Abraham and Sarah Norma Rosen on the Story of Sarah's Late Pregnancy Lore Segal on the Story of Sarah and Hagar Geoffrey Hartman on the Story of Isaac's Sacrifice Clarence Major on the Story of Rebekah Kathleen Norris on the Story of Rebekah as a Mother Allegra Goodman on the Story of Rachel Edward Hirsch on the Story of Jacob's Wrestling with an Angel Leonard Michaels on the Story of Judah and Tamar Francine Prose on the Story of Joseph in Egypt Robert Pinsky on the Story of Joseph's Interpretation of Dreams