The Genesis Workshop
Updated May 13, 1998
Bibliography used for the Workshop (in association with Amazon.com). 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.
|R. Alter's Genesis: translation and commentary|
|The Five Books of Moses by E. Fox|
|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 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.|
|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.||
When 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.
|If 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.|
|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. Amazon.com 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
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.