Course Description

From the creation of the world to the call of Abraham, and from the promise of children to the establishment of the people Israel, the Book of Genesis is one of the greatest origin stories ever told. Biblical scholars today write about the “lost world” of Genesis, and so try to account for the genesis of Genesis. There is indeed much to learn about the history behind the first book of the Bible. The book has given rise a major history of its own, however, and this history of reception has lately become an area of interest in modern research. The history of the text thus includes the question of how Genesis relates to the so-called Abrahamic religions, and so invites ecumenical study. This course will consider multiple approaches to the text. It ultimately seeks to integrate what can be known about worlds behind and before the Book of Genesis into a comprehensive theological vision that includes both its prehistory and its role as Jewish and Christian scripture, from antiquity down through the present day. Students will have an opportunity to sample some of the best ancient and modern interpretations of the book, and to develop their own expositions of it.

Download the Syllabus (Winter 2017)

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Required Texts (Winter 2017)*

Gary A. Anderson. The Genesis of Perfection: Adam and Eve in Jewish and Christian Imagination. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002. ISBN 978-0664226992.
Order it in Canada or the USA.
Jon D. Levenson. Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0691163550.
Order it in Canada or the USA.
Iain Provan. Discovering Genesis: Content, Interpretation, Reception. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016. ISBN 978-0802872371.
Order it in Canada or the USA.

Please note that textbook selections for my courses often change with each iteration of the course.

Making Sense
Margot Northey, Bradford A. Anderson, and Joel N. Lohr. Making Sense in Religious Studies: A Student’s Guide to Research and Writing. 3rd ed. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 2019.
This title is optional but highly recommended. It includes basic advice on things like reading religious texts, writing essays and book reviews, making oral presentations, and learning languages. It should help you master fundamental tasks in nearly any course in religion or theology.
The SBL Handbook of Style, 2nd Edition, is the definitive style manual for biblical studies and related disciplines.
A blog ( and free Student Supplement (PDF) should cover the issues most common to term papers. The AST library copy is in the reference section at PN 147 S26 2014.
Serious students of biblical studies will want a copy of their own. Order one from SBL Press or elsewhere online. ISBN 978-1589839649.
See my resources page for further advice on writing, style, and research.

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