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Genesis (New Cambridge Bible Commentary) Paperback – October 6, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


Advance quote: "Arnold's commentary is a welcome addition to the current proliferation of Genesis commentaries. Because of the care, depth, scope, and interpretive sensibility of the author, it is sure to become a major and definitive work for subsequent interpretation. Arnold moves easily between synchronic and diachronic questions and makes his way knowingly from Ancient Near Eastern materials to contemporary theological concerns. The several topical studies amid the commentary are judicious and illuminating. The commentary is well researched with ready appeal to the vast literature on the texts. This book is of particular interest because it exhibits for us the working processes of an interpreter who brings his readers along in the venture." - Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

Advance quote: "Arnold succeeds brilliantly in drawing together in an accessible manner the best of previous scholarship on Genesis in order to inform his fresh, positive and theologically insightful commentary. This work will quickly become a first port of call for busy readers who require a sure guide to the range of responsible interpretations of this seminal biblical book." H.G.M. Williamson, Regius Professor of Hebrew University of Oxford

"This excellent commentary also benefits from Arnold's Assyriological expertise. Highly recommended."
International Review of Biblical Studies

Book Description

This commentary is an innovative interpretation of the book of Genesis. The author combines older critical approaches with the latest rhetorical methodologies to yield fresh interpretations accessible to scholars, clergy, teachers, seminarians, and interested laypeople.

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Product Details

  • Series: New Cambridge Bible Commentary
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (October 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052100067X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521000673
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bill T. Arnold (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College) is the Paul S. Amos Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary. While at Asbury, he has held administrative positions first as Director of Postgraduate Studies and then as Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost.

His primary interests are biblical exegesis and ancient Near Eastern history, resulting in publications on specific texts (Genesis and 1-2 Samuel), as well as a Hebrew grammar ("A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax," with John H. Choi), and introductory materials ("Who Were the Babylonians?" and "Encountering the Old Testament," with Bryan E. Beyer).

Arnold was an editor for the Old Testament notes in "The Wesley Study Bible" (Abingdon, 2009) and co-translator of Genesis for the "Common English Bible" (Abingdon, 2011). An ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church, Arnold was a delegate to the UMC's General Conferences in 2012 and 2008 (first clergy alternate), representing the Kentucky Annual Conference.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on February 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very learned and interesting book. Bill Arnold was my Hebrew professor 15 years ago at Ashland Seminary, and I was looking forward to this book. Dr. Arnold believes that Genesis should be read as proto-history and as Israel's national epic. Generally speaking, the commentary has more exegesis and reflection on chapters 1-22, thinner comments on chapters 23-36 (summing up the Jacob-Laban narrative in one section), and a fuller discussion of the Joseph Novel (Genesis 37-50).

He makes some shrewd insights based on the Hebrew text. He notes that Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit because they wanted to become shrewd, but instead, they became aware that they were nude (shrewd and nude are very similar words in Hebrew). Arnold also mentions that the shorter and shorter lifespans leading up to Abraham could be because of the consequences of sin.

There is a full discussion of Abraham's life. He notes that Lot based his decision on choosing the land east of the Jordan based on what he saw, but that Abraham based his future on what God wanted him to see.

Arnold believes in something like the JEDP theory of Pentateuchal composition, but he does his level best to interpret the text as we have it. He does show that the repetitions in Genesis 6-9 are strong evidence for a multitextual tradition behind the narrative.

He also believes that Genesis 37-50 were composed independently of the rest of Genesis (though we see many of the same themes), and that this section could be the finest narrative in the Old Testament.

I think that this is a good, fast reading book. You should read it to get a feel for the ebbs and flows of Genesis. I thoroughly enjoyed it in this way.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Lee on August 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
[The following is a selection from a review on For the full review, see [...]
The expressed purpose of the New Cambridge Bible Commentary series is to "elucidate the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures for a wide range of intellectually curious individuals" in a way that is "accessible" and "jargon-free." As readers of this review will know, commentary series are typically aimed at a range of readers, and we might generally divide commentaries into devotional (aimed primarily at the reader with no specialist training, but hoping to be useful to pastors and teachers), expository (aimed primarily at someone with a degree of training - like pastors - but useful to lay readers; the best ones will be useful to specialists, as well) and exegetical categories (focusing on philology, diachronic analysis, comparative literature and historical-critical issues; contemporary application of the text is often absent or secondary). In the tradition of the Cambridge Bible Commentary, the NCBC series aims to be an example of that second category, the expository commentary. But not all expository commentaries are made equal, and not all volumes within a series are of equal value. The best ones bring out from the biblical text treasures old and new, effectively digesting and communicating recent developments in scholarship without being carried away by trendiness and combining this data with the strengths of the history of scholarship. Bill Arnold's Genesis does this and in such a way that it should be accessible to virtually any reader.
Bottom line: Genesis, by Bill Arnold, is an easy-to-read expository commentary that should be useful to a very wide range of readers, from layperson to specialist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joel D Ruark on August 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
Dr. Arnold's commentary on Genesis is an excellent resource for pastors, theological students, and lay theologians. His down-to-earth writing style makes this work easy to read while interacting with critical scholarship. This work is best read from beginning to end, but the key themes are repeated throughout the book sufficiently enough that it is also helpful as a resource for the individual narratives as well. One major focus of Arnold's commentary is the etiological aspects of the book of Genesis, an approach typically neglected among conservative scholars.

Perhaps Arnold's most significant contribution in this work is his treatment of the dialogue between Abraham and God in the latter part of Genesis 18 concerning the impending judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. He sets the narrative within the ancient Near Eastern framework of economic bartering, offering a satisfying explanation that hinges on the sustained tension between justice and grace that forms a major theme of the entire book.

I highly recommend this work for anyone who is already familiar with Genesis and wishes to deepen their understanding of the book both as a work of literature and as a religious document.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TheraP on August 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The writing itself is excellent and very helpful. But unfortunately the Kindle version cuts off some of the text which is highlighted as explanatory. So for that, I've downgraded by one star.
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