The  Genesis Workshop

Updated May 13, 1998

Welcome to the Genesis Workshop Page. This page is currently under construction. Eventually I will be posting a synopsis of the workshop I gave to the Bible Class for Adults during the academic years 96-98 at Saint Edmond's Academy. With the text, there will be space for input -- I would like to know what you think about it and what the Passage is telling you.  My purpose is to create an opportunity to grow, and to share the Word on the Web.  In the meantime, I have listed some of the books I am using as references.  If you do not have them, you can order them through (please use the link below). Feel free to send your comments if you have read any of them.  There is a form you can fill out which will arrive in my Email. After receiving and reviewing it, I will post it.

  Bibliography used for the Workshop (in association with As always, you can click on the link to get your own discounted copy of the book. Please, note that it might take few extra seconds to load the covers.

These are the books I have used as references in the Workshop

Translations ---- Commentaries and Studies --- Literary approach 
Translations --
You can't study Genesis without a good translation. These are the ones I used for the workshop. I deliberately have not used King James Version.

Alter's GENESIS  R. Alter's Genesis: translation and commentary
Five books of Moses  The Five Books of Moses by E. Fox

  New Jerome Biblical CommentaryFundamental -- The New Jerome Biblical Commentary by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Ronald E. Murphy (Editor), Raymond Edward Brown, Roland E. Murphy

Speiser's Genesis : A New Translation With Introduction and Commentary (Anchor Bible, Vol 1) is the textbook to have on your shelf. Some say that this book is now dated. I do not know, maybe that is true, but the material still makes sense. Large introduction, notes and commentary make the text of Genesis available to all kinds of readers. Harold Bloom's The Book of J is very nicely written and it is easy to read. His style is entertaining, and his ideas very challenging. He proposes, for example that "J" might be a woman writing during the time of King Solomon. 

Genesis: A Living Conersation  Genesis:A living Conversation is not really a commentary but the official companion of the PBS serie with Bill Moyer. It offers the transcript of hte program. Increbibly interesting to read.

Nahum Sarna seems to be one of the #1 Genesis scholars. 
On my shelf, I have two of his books, Genesis : The Traditional Hebrew Text With the New Jps Translation (the Jps Torah Commentary), and the shorter version Understanding Genesis: the Heritage of Biblical Israel. I found a lot of good information in both books (even though they repeat each other) delivered in a good way. For a first time Genesis student, I'd strongly suggest the shorter version. 
Genesis : The Beginning of Desire by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg. It's a collection of reflections on Genesis arranged according to the cycle of Torah reading. I found it tough. I think I would have felt more comfortable reading it had I known some of the background material she quotes constantly. On the other hand, the insights are worth the effort.
 The Ethics of Genesis Reading the book  Of Burton L. Visotzky, I have read The Genesis of Ethics and Reading the Book. Both are very easy reading, nothing scholarly to deal with. He participated in the PBS "Genesis" program with Bill Moyer. In The Genesis of Ethics, he brings up some of the intricacies of the stories, and proposes a new way of reading the difficult passages. 

Harlot by the side of the roadWhen I found J. Kirsch's The Harlot by the Side of the Road ,I knew that I had in my hands a book that would satisfy my curiosity and give me some new information and insight about those bible story that nobody wants to talk about. Each story is first retold by the author (who in my opinion took many liberties) and then analyzed. I like this book very much. 

Wrestling with AngelsIf you're looking for a commentary that is based more on the spiritual approach, N.H. Rosenblatt's Wrestling With Angels : What Genesis Teaches Us About Our  Spiritual Identity, Sexuality and Personal Relationships,  is a good one. Nicely balanced with good basic information. She, too, participated in PBS's Genesis.

In the BeginningA nice little book with portrait meditations is K. Armstrong's In the Beginning. She is the same author of A History of God. Strong scholars make good books. 

These are books that I also have on my shelf, but I have not studied them completely. I continue to refer to them now and there. 
(1) The Curse of Cain : The Violent Legacy of Monotheism  by Regina M. Schwartz 
 (2)  In Potiphar's House by J.L.Kugel 
(3) Our Fathers' Well by P. Pitzele (this book can be difficult to find. can help you get your own copy.) (4) Genesis: An Introduction by C. Westermann is a valuable but too technical book. (5) The Akedah : The Binding of Isaac by Louis A. Berman

Literary Approach

I think that R. Alter's The Art of Biblical Narrative is the fundamental book to have to understand how this approach can enrich our study of the book of Genesis, and the Hebrew Narrative in general. A must have. With F. Kermode he also edited the Literary Guide to the Bible. It is a collection of essays on the various books of the Bible.

An easier book, in my opinion, is Narrative in the Hebrew Bible (Oxford Bible) by David M. Gunn, Danna Nolan Fewell. It's a very well written book, and less technical than Alter's.




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