Tremper Longman, III on Studying Genesis

ZA Blog on January 12th, 2017. Tagged under ,,.

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We recently sat down with Tremper Longman to discuss some of the challenges in studying the book of Genesis. Take a look at what he had to say:

Genesis, like the rest of the Old Testament is a difficult book for us as twenty-first Christians to understand. After all, we’re distant from this book in many ways.

For one thing, it’s an ancient book. This is a book that was written three thousand five hundred years ago and has many strange and ancient customs.

The book of Genesis is also distant from us in terms of culture. It was written in an Ancient Near Eastern culture, and we are modern people.

The way the Hebrews told stories isn’t exactly the way we write stories today, so we need to know exactly what to expect when we’re reading a chapter of Genesis.

Why isn’t the narrator telling us about the motivations of characters that so intrigue us? Why doesn’t the narrator more explicitly evaluate the action of the characters, and how can we do that?

This course is designed to help you understand the book of Genesis.

To understand the book of Genesis, like any book of the Old Testament, we really have to, in the first place, put ourselves back in that ancient context, and read it like the first recipients would have read it.

We’re going to spend a lot of time in this course on the big themes of the book of Genesis. We’re going to encounter fascinating characters and we’re going to understand how to read ancient narrative.

After you take this course, you’ll be able to better understand the book according to the intention of the original author. And you’ll also be able to understand its significance for us today.

Learn more about the Old Testament.

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  • Kapali Lyon 2 years ago

    Genesis was written 3,500 years ago? The author(s) writes that there are no longer Canaanites in the land and that there were Edomite dynasties before there were any kings in Israel. How would a writer in 1500 BC know such things? Also, we have lots of evidence about what Canaanite languages (like Hebrew) looked like in 1500 BCE, especially in Ugaritic. Genesis is, however, written in Classical Hebrew. I am curious as to why you would propose such a date.