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Creation and the Patriarchal Histories: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Genesis Paperback – June 15, 2008
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In Christian catechism the questions begin with inquiries about who is God? The next questions ponder who is Man and for what was he created? It is in Genesis where we Orthodox Christians find the answers to these universal questions. Archpriest Patrick Henry Reardon has given us a new map to find the time tested answers that are part of the treasury of the rich Tradition of the Orthodox Church. This trenchant commentary is indeed a new gem to be added to the library of those who love Holy Scripture. --The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of St. Vladimir s Seminary, NY
Genesis needs to be freed from some broad cultural assumptions that color our reading of it argues Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon in Creation and the Patriarchal Histories. We must unshackle Genesis from the strictures of philosophical materialism (evolutionary theory and its flip-side: scientific creationism), and rediscover its literary character to discern its deep theological penetration into the nature of the creation. All too often Genesis is read as an apologetic tract or dismissed as 'unscientific.' Both conclusions miss the point. Genesis, Fr. Reardon teaches, reveals that the creation is logo-centric -- it was created by the Word of God, and it is held together by the Word of God's power. The word of Scripture, then, is primarily a literary text, not history (itself a narrative) or a scientific tract. Only by first approaching Genesis as literature can the theological content of the book (which Fr. Reardon provides in this commentary) be properly discerned, and only then will Genesis' rightful place as the foundational narrative of Christian culture and civilization be restored. And serious student of scripture and culture will benefit from reading the book. --Fr. Hans Jacobse, editor of OrthodoxyToday.org
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I am not disappointed. In this brief devotional book, Reardon goes through the book of Genesis, chapter-by-chapter, and provides the reader with deep devotional thoughts on each. At times, he provides thoughts on the chapter as a whole and its place within the Genesis narrative. At other times, Reardon limits himself to only a small section of the chapter. At other times still, Reardon's focus is on later persons' use of the material (e.g. the Israelites at the time of the Exodus or the Church).
Throughout, Reardon is highly engaging. He treats each Biblical individual as an old friend with whom he is intimately acquainted, and not as a cold, distant person with an unpronounceable name about whom we know nothing. The narrative of the text is artistic and contemplative as Reardon talks up to the reader, treating him as a beloved friend. Also (and most importantly), throughout this work, Reardon keeps Christ at the center of his thought; from reflections on the Fall to the Flood to the many genealogies to Melchizedek to Judah to Joseph, Christ is always at the first consideration.
It should be noted that the text of Genesis is not reprinted in this book. While there may be an annoyance for the reader in having to use two books at once, this slight inconvenience is well-worth the effort.
This book is recommended most highly; please journey through Genesis with this wise and faithful guide.
I would recommend this book to non-Orthodox as well as Orthodox. The writing is easy to understand and would be an excellent compliment to personal bible study, as well as providing fresh words for any evangelical pastor's next sermon on Genesis.