My Genesis-theology recommendations

As I prepare for a course I am teaching next year, I wanted to share some of my favorite resources.  This week and next week are my times to prepare for my Genesis (chs 1-3) lectures.  Through the help of my readers and other guides, I have found the following resources useful:

A Theological Introduction to the OT (Birch et al.; 1999) – I tire of historical “surveys” that leave you with dates and bare facts, but have no discussion of theology and modern relevance.  With the aid of Fretheim and Brueggemann, this is an excellent clear guide (that is meant to be used alongside a traditional textbook).

How to Read Genesis (T. Longman, 2005).  Though a very basic guide, for non-specialists (like me) teaching undergrads (like me), it is clear and hits all the major issues of interpretation.

The Lost World of Genesis One (J. Walton, 2009).  Walton argues well that we really need to focus less on proving the Creation texts right scientifically and more on comparing the Genesis story with ANE origin stories to show just how unique and peculiar this God is.  He also makes the argument that God made the earth to dwell in it, so the story of Genesis One is about designing the parts of Creation with this function in mind.

The Faith of Israel (W. Dumbrell; 2002): Another theological introduction to the OT, this time by an evangelical.

Dictionary of Old Testament Pentateuch (2003) – One-stop shopping for all your Genesis needs (and more!)

Reverberations of Faith (Brueggemann, 2002).  A short dictionary of OT concepts – entries are usually about a couple pages long.  An excellent handbook.

Encountering the Book of Genesis (Bill Arnold, 1998): Very textbook-y.  Simple without being simplistic and well-produced with pictures and lots of excurses.

From Paradise to Promised Land (T. Desmond Alexander, 2002).  An excellent theological reflection on the Pentateuch – especially how Eden is set up as God’s temple.

Genesis (Walter Brueggemann, 1982)  – WJK Interpretation.  Until it arrives ILL, I have to enjoy it on googlebooks….

Genesis (2 vols; Gordon Wenham, 1994) – WBC.  Wenham is such a level-headed trustworthy scholar.  And a nice man.  His detailed study is first-rate.

The Book of Genesis (V. Hamilton; 1990) – NICOT.  A solid commentary.

Genesis (J. McKeown, 2008) – Two Horizons – a theological commentary.  I have only dipped into Genesis 1-2, but already very insightful and concise.  When you only have a few hours to design a lecture, these kinds of short treatments are invaluable!

Genesis (T. Fretheim; 1994) – New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary Vol. I.  Fretheim offers a fresh and unique perspective on Genesis 1, arguing that while most people find the God of this chapter as removed and transcendent, he shows how God includes his creation in the act of creating (he made humanity out of dirt, he uses humanity to name other things, etc…).  This gives special dignity to all of creation.

The Theology of the Book of Genesis (Walter Moberly, 2009) – in the beloved Theology series from Cambridge, I have not had a chance to pick up this resource, and yet I already know it is going to be great!  I am reviewing it for Reviews in Religion and Theology, so it is in the mail and I will offer some words of reflection on it in a few weeks I am sure.  BTW – I studied at Durham and had many interactions with Prof. Moberly (esp. at SCR lunch gatherings for St. John’s people).  I don’t always agree with him, but he is fair, judicious, and wiser than many people at his level.  If you want to study OT theology, Moberly is your man and he is an excellent supervisor.


6 thoughts on “My Genesis-theology recommendations

  1. wow, no use of Collins? His book is by far the best i’ve seen including the above. He’s such a great scholar.

    1. Remember, John, I am a tyro, and I feel quite lost in the OT academic world. So, I have no idea what you are talking about. I am assume John Collins. Which book? Also, I only have a few hours a week to prepare each lecture, and I am only doing three lectures on Genesis. So, unless it is an easy and short read, sadly it might have to be backburnered until I can revisit lectures that need more work. But please do inform me of which book(s) you are referring to.

  2. Interesting list. Although I have not read the second edition yet, A Theological Introduction to the OT did come out in a second edition in 2005.

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