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Since the Beginning

Interpreting Genesis 1 and 2 through the Ages

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Few passages in the Hebrew Bible have been subject to more scrutiny than Genesis 1 and 2. In this volume, a diverse international team of experts guides readers through interpretations of the Genesis creation stories throughout history, inviting readers to consider perspectives from the earliest times to the present.

Written with the capabilities and needs of students in mind, this book offers an accurate description of how Genesis 1 and 2 have been read through the centuries and explains each interpretive approach in its own terms. Each chapter includes sidebars and suggestions for further reading. Since the Beginning is well suited for courses on the Old Testament, Genesis and creation, the history of interpretation, and science and religion. It will also appeal to teachers, pastors, and others following the creation debates and discussions.

Preface Kyle R. Greenwood
1. Old Testament Reverberations of Genesis 1-2 Kyle R. Greenwood
2. Interpretations of Genesis 1-2 in Second Temple Jewish Literature Michael D. Matlock
3. New Testament Appropriations of Genesis 1-2 Ira Brent Driggers
4. Early Rabbinic Interpretations of Genesis 1-2 Joel S. Allen
5. Interpretations of Genesis 1-2 among the Ante-Nicene Fathers Stephen O. Presley
6. Interpretations of Genesis 1-2 among the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers C. Rebecca Rine
7. Medieval Jewish Interpretations of Genesis 1-2 Jason Kalman
8. Medieval Christian Interpretations of Genesis 1-2 Timothy Bellamah, OP
9. Interpretations of Genesis 1-2 among the Protestant Reformers Jennifer Powell McNutt
10. Rediscovery of the Ancient Near East and Its Implications for Genesis 1-2 David T. Tsumura
11. Post-Darwinian Interpretations of Genesis 1-2 Aaron T. Smith
Postscript Kyle R. Greenwood


"Kyle Greenwood's volume provides students with a highly useful resource for studying both the background and the afterlife of the first two chapters of Genesis. The volume ably demonstrates that 'literal' readings are hardly ever univocal."

William P. Brown, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary

"The creation narratives found in the first chapters of Genesis have been foundational for Judaism and Christianity, and indeed for Western culture more broadly, for millennia. This volume gathers together excellent studies by leading scholars who offer insight into how Judaism and Christianity have drawn nourishment from these texts and, in so doing, show us how they can continue to stimulate our lives and faith."

Fr. John Behr, Fr. Georges Florovsky Distinguished Professor of Patristics, St. Vladimir's Seminary

"Since the Beginning, edited by Kyle R. Greenwood, offers a kaleidoscopic array of interpretations of Genesis 1-2, two particularly fascinating passages within the larger body of Torah. The contributors provide a symphonic experience as they guide readers through an exploration of the creation narrative within the canonical context and the Ancient Near Eastern context, from the premodern era to the present. Jewish understandings are presented alongside a variety of Christian modes of reading, and a consideration of how science shapes and complicates these traditions. The rich variety makes this volume a useful resource for both classes and personal study."

Laura Suzanne Lieber, professor of religious studies and assistant director of the Center for Jewish Studies, Duke University; director of the Duke-UNC Center for Late Ancient Studies

"One important role scholars have is putting information on the table for consideration. In our time, this is crucial for the early chapters of Genesis. As the relationship between science and the Bible is under constant discussion, many think that a long-standing consensus in church history is being challenged. In this book, however, readers discover that this perceived consensus is actually a controversy that has stretched throughout the history of interpretation. Here they discover various voices and interpretations that have characterized the discussion--always in the context of today's issues. Such valuable information gives us pause before concluding that Christianity has always been of one mind about these issues. This is an extremely important volume that elegantly addresses these fundamental questions."

John H. Walton, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

"The editor and contributors of Since the Beginning are to be commended for producing such a helpful volume. This contribution to the ever-growing body of literature on the book of Genesis fills a void by providing in one volume a thorough examination of the 'afterlife' of Gen 1-2. If read carefully, this volume will make us better conversationalists by helping us to listen more attentively to past conversations on these centrally important texts."

Bill T. Arnold, Paul S. Amos Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, Asbury Theological Seminary

"Kyle Greenwood's Since the Beginning is a welcome addition to the recent spate of books published on the early chapters of Genesis. Readers are treated to a fascinating, centuries-long discussion of the 'afterlife' of Genesis 1-2, which helps them to discern the difference between what the text itself says and what others have said about the text. A must-read for anyone studying the early chapters of Genesis!"

Catherine McDowell, associate professor of Old Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina

The Author

  1. Kyle R. Greenwood

    Kyle R. Greenwood

    Kyle R. Greenwood (PhD, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion) has taught at Colorado Christian University and Denver Seminary. He is the author of Scripture and Cosmology: Reading the Bible between the Ancient World and Modern Science.

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