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Berit Olam: Genesis

Berit Olam: Genesis

David W. Cotter, OSB

ISBN: 9780814650400, 5040
Details: 408 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 04/01/2003


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The central thesis underlying this study of Genesis is that the God who is revealed as a character in Genesis is always a savior. In Genesis, David Cotter, OSB, helps readers discern a structure in the book whereby the least and the weakest are the object of God's saving help.

Genesis begins with an introduction to the methodology that is used throughout the book. The introductory essay deals with the theory of Hebrew narrative and the challenges posed to biblical exegesis by contemporary literary theory.

The theme of the commentary itself is that the God who is revealed as a character in Genesis is always a savior. This is true in the Stories About Beginnings (Genesis 1-11) and the Stories About the Troubled Family Chosen for Blessing (Genesis 12-50). The Egyptian slave Hagar, not Abraham, is read as the central figure of the family's first generation and Tamar, the cast-off daughter-in-law as the moral center of the fourth generation. God is savior above all for those whose need is greatest.

Chapters in Part OneStories About Beginnings: Genesis 1-11 are "The Story of the Creation of All That Is: Genesis 1:1-2:3," "The Story of the Creation of Man and Woman, the Paradise in Which They Lived and Which They Chose to Lose. And the Sin That Ensued: Genesis 2-3:4," "The Story of the Great Flood and the Covenant that Ensued: Genesis 6-9," and "The Story about Babel: Genesis 11:1-9."

Chapters in Part TwoStories About the Troubled Family Chosen for Blessing: Genesis 12-50 are “In the Time of the First Generation: Genesis 12-25," "In the Time of the Second Generation: Genesis 25-28," "In the Time of the Third Generation: Genesis 28-36," and "In the Time of the Fourth Generation: Genesis 37-50."

David W. Cotter, OSB, STD, is general editor of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, published by The Liturgical Press.

In this excellent contribution to the Berit Olam series, David Cotter, a Benedictine monk and priest, focuses on the final form of Genesis, using narrative analysis to produce what he considers to be the first commentary to read ‘the entire book as a story' (p. xxiv). The volume is peppered with helpful references to literature, Jewish readings, and ancient Christian interpretations.

This work is an invaluable summary of narrative criticism applied to Genesis. . . . Overall this work will be valuable not only to specialists, but also to teachers of introductions to the Hebrew Scriptures who need to draw students into the richness and variety of biblical texts.
Catholic Books Review

Any seminarian would glean much insight from this commentary.
Religious Studies Review

Cotter is a pleasant conversation partner in the interpretation of Genesis and offers a wealth of literary insights.
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society