Genesis

When I first decided to read the Bible I thought, “1400 pages? No sweat.” I’ve read Battlefield Earth and most of The Wheel of Time. But page numbers can be deceiving, the font is very small but more than that the text is very dense and since I’m reading every word I can’t skip over the huge chunks of “X begat Y begat Z…”
Anyway, I’m 50 pages in and here are my thoughts on Genesis;
The Bible starts out with a collection of folk tales. The creation, the fall, Cain and Abel, the flood and the tower of Babel. They don’t feel to different than other bronze age stories and by that I mean they lack depth, that’s just the way stories were. Reading any deeper and you’re just reading into yourself.
Abraham’s tale is a tale of faith, but I really don’t think that much of faith. Faith is easy, just accept without question. I’ve had to fight my need for faith all my adult life.
But Jacob’s where it gets interesting. Jacob robs his brother of his birthright, cons his father into giving him his brother’s blessing and robs his employer. He convinces a friendly town to circumcise all their males and then two of his sons slaughter them and he only gives them a slap on the wrist. Why does God like this guy?
Then there’s the story of Joseph but that works better as a musical.

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  1. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the other books. When I read the bible Genesis made the most sense to me. It’s a creation myth with some folk tales tacked on the end. The other books got more complicated.

    Also, it’s really interesting to list just the actions from bible stories. When you spell it out like that they make NO sense.

    Comment by Melissa — October 5, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

  2. When I tried to read the whole bible, it was only after learning about the *highly* dynamic translation called “The Message”. I thought it might be easier to get through, and it was to an extent. Here’s an example of Isaiah in this translation:

    Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water! Are you penniless? Come anyway—buy and eat! Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk. Buy without money—everything’s free! Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest. Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love. I set him up as a witness to the nations, made him a prince and leader of the nations, And now I’m doing it to you: You’ll summon nations you’ve never heard of, and nations who’ve never heard of you will come running to you Because of me, your God, because The Holy of Israel has honored you.

    What translation are you reading? I feel for you if you’re trying to read the whole thing in something translated before 1950. But in that you might find the historical-literary value.

    Comment by Derek — October 12, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

  3. I’m reading the New Jerusalem Bible, it was recommended by my comparative world religions professor. It’s not easy but it was translated from the earliest Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic sources which I like.

    Comment by Tone — October 13, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

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