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Picture of Creation, Sin and Reconciliation

Creation, Sin and Reconciliation

Reading Primordial and Patriarchal Narrative in the Book of Genesis

Author(s): Robert Ignatius Letellier
Subject: Religion

Book Description

This volume considers aspects of the Book of Genesis; as the first book of the Torah, and hence of the Bible, its position is unique, especially in its provision of the foundational stories of Creation, the emergence of mankind, and the beginning of human society.

Through close reading of chapters 1–11, 32–33 and 37–50 (the beginning, middle and end of Genesis), with consideration of the language, style and possible implications of the text, this approach explores the fundamental themes of Berishit and the enduring relevance of its powerful message for humanity and our place in the world. The method is both synchronic (a literary, exegetic analysis of the received text), and diachronic (a more historical consideration of other forms of interpretation, whether archaeological, theological, philosophical, generic or comparative). The mystery of creation and the origins of the world and humankind are enduringly important, and with the rise of interest in cosmology and ever-growing ecological concerns for the earth and its sustainability, nothing could be more topical. Where do we come from? What is our place in the world? What is our responsibility for it? Intimately related to Creation are the nature of human origins and the mystery of the beautiful yet disturbing imperfection of human nature and society. Why are we as we are? What does this mean for concepts of family, community and nation?

The Patriarchal Narratives of the forebears of Ancient Israel (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph) provide some of the most enduring stories of election, mission, endeavour and interaction in the annals of world literature. The power and unwavering truthfulness of these stories hold a mirror to human behaviour with seemingly fathomless implications. They provide a dynamic, a positive way forward in reflecting on the intractable hostility that perennially blights the history of humankind. The recurrence of universal themes and symbols generated in Genesis and found throughout the Bible (and in wider folk literature) emphasizes the conceptual unity of a Great Code of meaning, and is pertinent to a canonical reading of Scripture; for example, Joseph’s story prefigures that of Jesus, and posits reconciliation as the very harbinger of salvation.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-8056-5
ISBN-10: 1-4438-8056-6
Date of Publication: 01/10/2015
Pages / Size: 310 / A5
Price: £52.99


Robert Ignatius Letellier was educated in Grahamstown, Cambridge, Salzburg, Rome and Jerusalem. He is a member of Trinity College Cambridge, the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham, and the Institute of Continuing Education at Madingley Hall, Cambridge. His publications number over 90 items, including books and articles on the early and Romantic novel (particularly the Gothic Novel and Sir Walter Scott), the Bible, and European culture. He has specialized in the Romantic opera, especially the work of Giacomo Meyerbeer, and has written on Daniel-François-Esprit Auber, the opéra comique, the operetta, Ludwig Minkus and nineteenth-century ballet. He has also worked as a consultant for the BBC, the Royal Opera House, Naxos International and Marston Records.