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Manual The Book of Genesis: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books)

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Bill T. ISBN They are born, have a period of maturation and usefulness, and, for most, a period of decline and demise.

The Story of Lucifer's Fall - Before The Book of Genesis.

Fittingly, Ronald Hendel was selected as the biographer for Genesis in light of his numerous other contributions and also for his gifted writing style. There is nothing quite like it. Because of these assumptions driving interpretive models, the realism of young Genesis eventually morphed into a figural dual reality. The universe we know as readers is a flawed version of a more perfect world, and Genesis is a cryptic version of a more perfect text.

The hidden, more perfect world has two modalities, each with its own cryptic, relevant, perfect, and divine ways of understanding the text of Genesis. These other realities have their own interpretations of the cryptic, relevant, perfect, and divine aspects of Genesis, one in the near future and the other in a spiritual plane that is beyond the material world 60— These figural interpretations—the apocalyptic and the Platonic— were dominant in Western culture for nearly two millennia, from approximately BCE to CE.

So, for examples, Enoch, Jubilees, and the Dead Sea Scrolls are apocalyptic in their interpretations of Genesis, while Philo is Platonic, and rabbinic interpretation is a complicated mixture of both Hendel develops these figural readings in several of the next chapters.

Lives of Great Religious Books: Princeton University Press

The conviction that the book of Genesis is a repository of apocalyptic secrets, mostly about the end of days, is the oldest form of figural reading ch. Creation and the paradise of the garden of Eden are especially important to this way of reading Genesis. The other figural reading assumes dual realities, in which Genesis is perceived by the senses and also perceived by the philosophical mind ch. Gnosticism produced several interesting readings that blended Plato and Genesis.

Between the medieval world and the early modern world ca.

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Once the foundations for figural readings were thoroughly undermined, the life of the book of Genesis changed. Hendel traces the return to plain or realistic readings of Genesis in chapters 6 and 7 with an astounding breadth of competence ch.

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Hodge and Benjamin B. Warfield, Emily Dickinson, Franz Kafka, and others. Few scholars other than Hendel could write such a book as this.

The the Book of Genesis: A Biography

His near omnicompetence is evident everywhere. I turn now to a few comments that are not so much a critique or series of objections as they are a warning that any of us might raise about such a book. Such a broad, sweeping treatment is vulnerable to the charge that the paradigm is given too much explanatory power. The dichotomy is not so much false in which case, my objections would be more serious than I intend in this review , as it appears at times reductionistic, coming close at times to serving as a straightjacket into which Hendel squeezes his subjects.

Here I will mention briefly two examples.


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From C. Paradoxically, one result is that Christians of many very different sorts regard Lewis as though he were one of their own. Book of Mormon and Divine Comedy.

Book Review | The Book of Genesis: A Biography

Next up will be the biography of the Talmud by Barry Wimpfheimer, a Northwestern University religion expert, scheduled for next spring. A shorter version of this essay appeared in the Chicago Tribune on 6. Your email address will not be published. Leave this field empty.


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