Fall 2023: Offered On Campus and Online (Hybrid)

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 Bible’s first book. The book has given rise a major history of its own, too, and this history of interpretation has become an area of interest in recent research. The history of the text includes the question of how Genesis relates to the so-called Abrahamic religions, and so the book also invites ecumenical and interreligious study.

This course will consider multiple approaches to the Book of Genesis. It seeks to integrate what can be known about worlds behind and before the text into a comprehensive theological vision that includes its role as Jewish and Christian scripture, from antiquity down through the present day. Students will have an opportunity to sample ancient and modern interpretations of the book, and to develop their own expositions of it.

Required Texts (Fall 2023)*

Cambridge Companion to Genesis
Bill T. Arnold, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Genesis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022. ISBN: 978-1108438322.

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

NJPS Study Bible
Berlin, Adele, and Marc Zvi Brettler, eds. The Jewish Study Bible: Second Edition. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0199978465. If you need a Study Bible, I recommend this one. Its notes on Genesis are superb. The NJPS is the translation I will reference most in this course, though other modern translations like the NRSV will work, too.
Anderson, Gary A. The Genesis of Perfection: Adam and Eve in Jewish and Christian Imagination. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002. ISBN 978-0664226992.
Davis, Ellen F. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0521732239.
Ephrem the Syrian. Hymns on Paradise. Translated by Sebastian Brock. Popular Patristics Series 10. Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1990. ISBN 978-0881410761.
Levenson, Jon D. Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0691163550.
Levenson, Jon D. The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity. Rev. ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. ISBN 978-0300065114.
Provan, Iain. Discovering Genesis: Content, Interpretation, Reception. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016. ISBN 978-0802872371.
Schneider, Tammi J. Mothers of Promise: Women in the Book of Genesis. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008. ISBN 978-0801029493.
Making Sense
Northey, Margot, 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 (sblhs2.com) 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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