Nearly everyone in the Western world is familiar with the stories in the book of Genesis. Its language is simple. Its powerful sentences are short. And its messages glisten with clarity. But is it possible that the understanding of the book of Genesis we've all grown up with isn't as complete as we'd like to believe? That its deceptively simple sentences and surface appearance hide from contemporary readers a purposeful and intricate structure designed to let its depth and detail and implication resonate with the readers and listeners of its own time?
These 24 fascinating lectures offer the necessary tools to change our perceptions of the book of Genesis, showing us how we might read, hear, think about - and feel - its words as an ancient Hebrew would have, allowing us to gain a new appreciation of "one of the most remarkable literary compositions from the ancient world," as Professor Rendsburg calls it, the book with which both Jews and Christians alike begin their Bible.
With a detailed, line-by-line literary parsing that gently probes its language, exploring how and why its effects were achieved and what the book's author-or authors-were saying, Professor Rendsburg reveals more insights than most of us have ever dreamed were there. Among those insights, you'll learn why the book of Genesis has not one but two creation stories, what hints the book's many contradictions offer about its authorship, and more.
Although this is a course whose emphasis is literary, with detailed analysis dominating, Professor Rendsburg is mindful that the book of Genesis is, for many, a theological pillar of religious faith. And he is both respectful of that reality and aware of it in an even broader historical, social, and archeological context.