The Book of Genesis : The Great Courses: Christianity

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Gary A. Rendsburg
  • Series: The Great Courses: Christianity
  • 12 hrs and 33 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Clear, illuminating but without a PDF study guide

What made the experience of listening to The Book of Genesis the most enjoyable?

Prof. Gary A Rendsburg uses clear and simple language to reflect on the subject matter at hand (some of which might be a bit technical to new comers to the book). He furthermore approach the Book of Genesis from a historical, theological, and archaeological angle and ultimately evaluates its quality as literature. He covers a vast amount of issues not only related to the Book of Genesis but to the Old Testament/ Torah in general.


What did you like best about this story?

It is very difficult to single out a specific part. Prof. Rendsburg was able to give an excellent overview on current scholarly insights on Genesis. His explanation of Genesis 1 is top notch. He doesn't get into nit picking about the historicity of the account but places it squarely within its Ancient Near Eastern framework. He was able to show the function of the various doublet stories in various parts of Genesis. He also challenged the JEPD hypothesis convincingly. He leaves you with a lot of food for thought.


Have you listened to any of Professor Gary A. Rendsburg’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No I haven't. He started of a bit staccato in the first two lectures, but got more relaxed as he continued with the lectures. I think he did an excellent job.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

It more than just a beginning or a big bang, its a journey!


Any additional comments?

The Great Courses comes the study guides for easy reference. Unfortunately the Audible downloads have that lacking which is very disappointing. For that the overall rating drops with one star.

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- Jacobus "When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else."

Great Book

Would you listen to The Book of Genesis again? Why?

This book has a lot of relevant information that are both academic and spiritual. I'd like to go back occasionally to refresh my memory about the topics discussed as I continue my research on the stories and history of the bible.


What did you like best about this story?

I like the fact the author is very open minded and was prepared to back up his arguments and views with supportive materials. I may not agree with all his views 100% but I can respect them because he makes his reasoning clear.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The title of the movie would be "The End Begins".


Any additional comments?

If you have questions about the bible or biblical stories in general, read this book. It doesn't really try to justify the unexplainable but it does a good job of deducing what could have caused them and though it only covers the first book, it's a start.

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- Seleena "Seleena Y.T"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses