Genesis as Literature

Genesis is ancient literature. It was written almost 3000 years ago in a far away land, in a culture we do not really understand, in an ancient language called Hebrew that we are still learning about. And it was written in a narrative style.  It is in a sense a collection of stories – stories most of us know very well because we grew up learning them. It is written in prose.  The significance of that is all the other religious literature of the ancient near east was written in poetry. But the ancient author of Genesis rejected poetry as unsuitable for telling their story. So because it is literature we will try to bring literary analysis to the stories to help understand why they were told in the way they were.

It is important to understand how literature is experienced in older cultures. We do it by silent reading.  In the ancient world it was a very different experience based on oral and aural transmission.  The mouth and the ear. That experience puts a great responsibility on the writer, the reader and the listener.

We will explore how the writer(s) of Genesis created new literary styles to tell religious stories in prose. And in doing that we may learn new ways of understanding the themes of Genesis.

The  Classes

On Reading Genesis                                                                                                              The Creation Story                                                                                                                  An Overview of Israelite History                                                                                        The Ancient Near East                                                                                                          The Documentary Hypothesis                                                                                            Noah and the Flood                                                                                                              The Abraham Story                                                                                                                Abraham - where was he born and when?                                                                      An Appreciations of the Literature of Genesis                                                                The Joseph Story and Its Egyptian Background                                                            The Whole Text of Genesis                      

Genesis as Literature

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