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In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis
     

In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis

by Karen Armstrong
 

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In this fascinating book by the author of A History of God and Jerusalem, one of the best-known and least-understood books of the Bible is clarified for modern readers. Armstrong shows readers how the ancient tales of the Creation, the Fall, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph illuminate our most profound and impenetrable problems.

Overview

In this fascinating book by the author of A History of God and Jerusalem, one of the best-known and least-understood books of the Bible is clarified for modern readers. Armstrong shows readers how the ancient tales of the Creation, the Fall, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph illuminate our most profound and impenetrable problems.

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679450894
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/17/1996
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.05(w) x 7.83(h) x 0.86(d)

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