In the Beginning: A New Reading of the Book of Genesis

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9780006280156: In the Beginning: A New Reading of the Book of Genesis

The first book of the Bible has long been a focus for debate, not least over what it tells us about our earliest relationship with God. Here Karen Armstrong offers a compelling introduction to Genesis.

The NRSV version of the text is published alongside for ease of cross-reference. Armstrong’s commentary offers a wise analysis of some of the most complicated human relationships in the Bible. From Adam and Noah to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, these people are constantly wrestling for an insight into God and being hampered by their own imperfections and family feuds. Armstrong argues that Genesis is more about separation than sin, revealing humanity ‘s increasing distance from direct communication with God and our discovery of finding signposts towards the sacred in each other.

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Review:

‘This is a remarkable introduction to perhaps the foundation text of our civilisation. The author has absorbed a good deal of scholarship as well as interpretation from the Jewish world. Yet she wears her learning lightly and with style. The book is a good read; the style meditative.’
Angela Tilby, The Church Times

From the Back Cover:

What does the first book of the Bible reveal about the foundation of civilisation and our ancestors’ relationship with God?

Karen Armstrong offers a compelling introduction to the foundational narratives of the Judeo-Christian story. Her shrewd analysis of the tortuous human relationships found in Genesis depicts the fathers of faith as complex characters who shock and surprise us in their quest for insight into the nature of God. Her profound and telling commentary takes us right through the story of Genesis as it unfolds, the complete text of which is included. Genesis, argues Armstrong, is not meant to be a moral tract but deals more with separation than sin, illuminating God’s increasing withdrawal from direct communication and marking the realisation by men and women that integration and wholeness can only be achieved by coming to terms with their own natures.

“Powerful …insightful.”
John Polkinghorne

Karen Armstrong served as a nun in a teaching order and is now a teacher at the Leo Baeck College for the Study of Judaism. She has a degree in English Literature from Oxford University. Her acclaimed books include' A History of God, Holy War, Through the Narrow Gate, A History of Jerusalem' and 'The Gospel According to Woman.'

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