In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis by Karen Armstrong (EPUB)



Ebook Info

  • Published: 2011
  • Number of pages: 207 pages
  • Format: EPUB
  • File Size: 0.29 MB
  • Authors: Karen Armstrong


“Karen Armstrong is a genius.”—A. N. WilsonAs the foundation stone of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, The Book of Genesis unfolds some of the most arresting stories of world literature—the Creation; Adam and Eve; Cain and Abel; the sacrifice of Isaac. Yet the meaning of Genesis remains enigmatic. In this fascinating volume, Karen Armstrong, author of the highly acclaimed bestseller A History of God, brilliantly illuminates the mysteries and profundities of this mystifying work.BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.“A lyrical chronicle of one woman’s wrestling with Genesis that can serve as a guide to others . . . As notable for its scholarship as it is for its honesty and vulnerability.”—Publishers Weekly“Armstrong can simplify complex ideas, but she is never simplistic.”—The New York Times Book Review

User’s Reviews

Reviews from Amazon users which were colected at the time this book was published on the website:

⭐Karen Armstrong’s “In the Beginning” came to me at the tail end of a two year study of Christianity. I looked at its dustjacket (a reproduction of Adam from the Sistine Chapel) with indifference, and decided to read it only because it was brief. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. For one thing, Armstrong is a lyrical writer — as a copyeditor, I truly marveled at her sentences for both their clarity and poetry. For another, in this book she does something many clerics and scholars have failed to do: successfully apply meaning to the garbled message of Genesis.She states her case pretty early on: there is no way to get a coherant understanding of God from reading Genesis. He is utterly contradictory — creative and all-powerful in one story; vengeful and capricious in the next. This paradox has befuddled many of reader. I, for one, had come to think of Genesis as typical of the flawed meaninglessness of the Bible. But Armstrong has me reconsidering my conclusion. It seems clear, she says, that all the characters in Genesis have to endure afflictions and unfairness. Whether they are favored in God’s eyes or not, their lives are difficult. A relationship with God doesn’t spare them difficulties — instead the meaning in their lives is derived in part by making it through their difficulties with their faith intact.I really enjoyed this book. Just when I had grown tired of a subject, a new author has revived familiar terrain with a fresh perspective. I look forward to reading Armstrong’s other books.

⭐This is the first Armstrong book I have read and I intend to read more of her works. In this book, Armstrong presents commentary and some interpretation of the book of Genesis. I think most readers will find Armstrong’s views eye openers. I’ve never read the book of Genesis critically or in much depth, my thinking being that it was written primarily to present the creation stories (yes, plural). However, with Armstrong’s guidance I now appreciate Genesis as a foundational book that sheds light on God’s purpose for the creation, and failings. Failings may be too strong a word for many to associate with God, but after all God did create humanity in His image, and as exemplified by humanity, that must mean that God at least strives for perfection which implies His sometimes falls short. Read this very well written and entertaining book and the reader will surely come to understand my meaning.

⭐I was not a sympathetic fan of Armstrong’s and was pleasantly surprised at the delightful writing and the provocative ideas. She raises questions seldom raised (but real) and suggests conclusions outside the mainstream. If you are at all familiar with the book she is writing about, you should find new insights and possibilities. I did not agree with everything she said (of course), but would suggest that anyone who avoids this study of Genesis will miss too much.An example of what she does can be found in her treatment of Noah and Abraham. Both men are seen as obedient and accepting of God’s destructiveness and lack of concern for the innocent (the Flood and the Sacrifice of Issac). Abraham goes off to sacrifice Issac with the same submissiveness with which Noah builds his ark. But in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham argues with God and God reduces the absolute severity of his punishment! Perhaps this is the true beginning of Judaism in the Bible.

⭐Armstrong writes confidently. Too confidently. The book acknowledges the mythic nature of the Genesis stories, but curiously asserts God to be the reality confronting humans. A somewhat novelistic treatment of the Genesis stories follows, in which God appears as a character and the motivations of the patriarchs imagined rather as if the author were their counsellor. If you are prepared, as I am, to agree that myth is the basis for the book of Genesis (where else but in myth does a talking snake seduce an innocent woman to seduce a gullible man – whose rib provides the basis for her being – to eat fruit which will yield knowledge of good and evil?). The primal myths of an immaterial world of spirit beings, and of magical thinking about causation without physical basis are taken for granted throughout the book. So, for a fanciful re-working of the ancient stories it’s OK. As an insight into the musings on religious themes by a former Catholic nun, the book has interest, engaged with human concerns but not much help with serious religious insights.

⭐Background: my reason for purchasing: I had to read this book for a class called “The Bible as Literature.” No, the book definitely does not constitute a literary analysis of Genesis!One cannot miss Armstrong’s hostility toward the God of Genesis. Sadly, her hostility toward the book’s most important character blinds her to both the spiritual (sorry for using a word that can mean almost anything, depending on your background) meaning and an objective understanding of the plot and character development. If you want a “new” interpretation of Genesis, you probably won’t find it here or elsewhere – neither her open theism, her textual criticism (sorry for the misnomer), her exegesis (if you can call it exegesis), her psychoanalysis, nor especially her hatred for God are anything new! If you want a scholarly approach to Genesis, you won’t find anything helpful here – even if she were to do research, her hatred for God blinds her from any objective analysis – whether literary or theological analysis.If you want to truly understand and fully enjoy the book of Genesis, read the rest of the Creator’s book, repent of your sin, and trust the crucified and risen Messiah as the only one who can take away your sin and reconcile you to the Father, and then you will not only understand the book better, you will also know its divine author, and you will find Genesis and the rest of the Creator’s written self-revelation (the Bible: 66 books if you count 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, etc as separate “books”) more enjoyable than you ever imagined.

⭐In this short book Karen Armstrong sheds more light on the meaning and continuing relevance of the book of Genesis than many authors have done in far longer works. In a series of short chapters she discusses the vividly drawn men and women who, with their very human mixtures of strengths and weaknesses, people these remarkable stories. She sees Genesis as the story of God’s withdrawal from an intimate involvement in his creation and of the human response to the dilemmas of living in the complex world he has left us. This book makes it abundantly clear why the Hebrew Bible continues to fascinate both believers and non-believers; it will send you back to the book of Genesis with renewed interest.

⭐Great book as are all her books. Scholarly yet accesible.Would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject matter.

⭐Another stunning examination of early humanity

⭐Very helpful for the research I was doing. Author is very well versed in her material. I recommend this – it is an easy read.

⭐muy interesante disección capítulos genesis y su significado según diversos redactores textosUna lectura desde la lógica con respeto a la idea central y sin desprecio a otras interpretaciones


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