Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Book: Original Sinners

Since I'm kind of collecting books on Genesis lately (Walton's Lost World of Genesis One, Smith's Priestly Vision of Genesis 1 to name a couple), I was pleased to receive a review copy of this new book from Free Press--Original Sinners: A New Interpretation of Genesis by John R. Coats. The overall thrust of the book is attempting to show readers how reading Genesis is valuable for the depth and breadth of human experience that it reflects. It's geared toward a popular audience and will likely connect with the average person interested in the book of Genesis much more than the typical scholarly work on Genesis because the author is directly concerned with making the book relevant for contemporary life. As I read more of the book, I'll post further reflections, but for now, I want to share this quote from p. 11:
The text that is actually there in Genesis, and what readers assume is there, are often quite different. Indeed, among its other functions, Genesis challenges assumptions, a role made necessary by thousands of years of attempts at interpreting its contents, itself a role to which any interpreter, being human, will bring a point of view. Moreover, people tend to defend their assumptions regarding Genesis -- or, for that matter, any part of the Bible -- with the tenacity of a lioness guarding her cubs. While proponents of this or that assumption, however outrageous, might truly believe theirs to be the product of divine inspiration, some, for their own reasons, likely made it up. Or someone else did, and they believed it. (emphasis original)

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