The Genius of Genesis: A Psychoanalyst and Rabbi Examines the First Book of the Bible

The Genius of Genesis: A Psychoanalyst and Rabbi Examines the First Book of the Bible

by Dennis G. Shulman


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As the first man and woman leave the Garden I am with them. I feel their longing to return, their guilt and shame, and their fears about the future. I feel their anxiety about their Creator: Is He still with them? Does He still love them? I feel their rising panic as they realize that this no-longer-so-cozy world might make life impossible for them.

As Abraham walks silently up the mountain to sacrifice his son I ask the questions he asks. Should I obey the dictates of my God, or is there a higher good involving the sanctity of human life? Can I be Abraham if I refuse to listen to the God I revere? Can I be Abraham if my beloved God demands human blood for His adoration?

As Jacob wrestles throughout the long dark night I am with him. Like Jacob, I sweat as he faces his betrayal of father and brother; as he witnesses, full-face, his character, naked and base. Then, the next morning, I weep as he and his brother weep.

Join me on this pilgrimage into the wisdom that is Genesis. For this journey, it is Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and even God who serve as guides. It is my fervent hope that by journey's end we will find ourselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780595280254
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/05/2003
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 981,297
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.48(d)

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The Genius of Genesis: A Psychoanalyst and Rabbi Examines the First Book of the Bible 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
After hearing Dennis Shulman give an inspirational and scholarly presentation at my university about how the biblical book of Genesis has much to teach each of us when we are searching for our life's meaning, I bought his book. It is a true treasure. No other book that I have read on Genesis specifically, or the Bible generally is so readable, comprehensive and interesting. It is a text of less than two hundred pages, but with a thousand lessons. Its major lesson I guess is what Dr. Shulman concludes with--that Genesis is a text in which the individual is always nested within a multigenerational landscape, that the point of the Genesis narratives is to help us understand that the meaning of our lives is in direct proportion to how grateful we are for all things past, how much we serve all things present, and how much we take responsibility for all things future. Bravo and thank you to Dennis Shulman for this beautiful book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A month ago, I heard Dennis Shulman, a psychoanalyst and rabbi, discussing his book on National Public Radio. During that interview, I was impressed with his ideas, his scholarship and his poetic use of language. I just finished reading Dr. Shulman's book. All of these characteristics also come through in his book, what he calls his 'biblical lovechild.' If you are interested in reading a fresh perspective on the Bible, which draws on the ancient Jewish and Christian sources for its inspiration, The Genius of Genesis is the book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Now that I have retired from my firm on Wall Street, I finally have the time to read the books I always wanted to. These are mostly books on psychology or religion (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and others). Last week, my daughter gave me a true gift, The Genius of Genesis by Dennis Shulman. I could not put it down. After reading myriad tomes on the Book of Genesis, Shulman¿s Genius book is a breath of fresh air. It is well written, scholarly and religiously tolerant. These are unusual traits for a book on religion especially in these days of competing rigid dogmas and tightly drawn ideological battle lines. If you want to learn something new and inspiring about the biblical book you have known about since you were a child, Shulman¿s Genius of Genesis is the book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A graduate student of mine discovered, she said quite by accident, Dennis Shulman¿s Genius of Genesis on the Internet, and gave me a copy. I am very glad she did. This book is a well written, careful, respectful and I would even say loving analysis of the foundational stories of the Book of Genesis. It is an essential addition to any library devoted to the examination of the Bible, Old or New Testament. Shulman writes with deep appreciation for complexity and with a tolerance for multiple understandings of the biblical texts, both of which are truly rare in contemporary books about religion. His breath of knowledge ranges from the traditional commentaries of the talmudic rabbis to those of John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Milton and even Mark Twain. Although Shulman is a Jew, this book is quite appropriate for use in a classroom, like most of mine are, in which we study the Old Testament from a Christian perspective. As far as I can tell, this is Shulman¿s first book. I look forward to his future work on the Bible. I congratulate Dennis Shulman on a job well done.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished the Genius of Genesis and I wanted to recommend it for others while it is still fresh in my mind. I learned of this book from my aunt who has heard the author, Dennis Shulman, speak two times at her synagogue. After just finishing four college classes on the Bible (I am a Jewish Studies major), I would have to say that this is, by far, the best thing I¿ve read on the subject. For the first time, I feel like I finally understand what the creation stories are about and why Abraham would almost sacrifice his son who he loves. I wish my professors had assigned this book instead of some of the others they chose when we were talking about Genesis. This book is not only intelligent but also well written. I didn¿t have to constantly go back and try to figure out what the author was saying. I recommend the Genius of genesis for anyone interested in learning more about the Bible and Judaism. You don¿t have to be a Jewish Studies major to really like this book or learn a great deal from it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Genius of Genesis is an excellent resource for college classes on the Old Testament. Dennis Shulman, the author, has a deep appreciation for the biblical stories and a keen insight into them. His analysis is wide-ranging and ecumenical. This book is well written. Its level is appropriate for undergraduates and, I believe, will hold their interest. This coming semester, I will be using this book in my two undergraduate intro classes to the Old Testament and my graduate seminar on the Pentateuch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For years, I have thought about the relationship between what I do in my psychotherapy practice and what I learned about when I went to Hebrew school thirty years ago. Dr. Shulman's book answers many of my questions. And what's amazing about the book is that Dr. Shulman writes so well that you don't even notice that the book is quite profound and scholarly. The book looks at each of the major stories in Genesis that I studied when I was eight years old, and, so carefully studies them, analyzes them and elaborates on them, that you come out of reading each chapter with a message that is very modern and very important. In the last chapter, Dr. Shulman examines three questions. Two of these, who the human is and how we change, are questions that are central to both contemporary psychology and the ancient biblical text. He makes a strong argument that the third question, I think he would say the most important of these, what gives our life purpose, is one that is dealt with much better by the ancient biblical 'author' than by the contemporary psychologists and psychoanalysts. You don't have to be a practicing religious person or a mental health professional to gain a great deal from this book. Whoever you are, this book takes you gently by the hand and makes the study of Genesis quite a lovely learning experience. Sharon Simon-Jones, Ph.D., Chicago, IL