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on December 15, 2010
This first offering of the Old Testament canon from the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible continues in the great tradition of the New Testament booklets in the same series (now compiled into one volume).

Each volume of the series begins with a general introduction to the entire series. This section covers Catholic Church teaching on inspiration and inerrancy, biblical authority, the senses of Scripture, criteria for biblical interpretation, and using the study guide. A great overview that is required reading for anyone new to the series but, I dare say, it should be read every time one begins a new study. It provides Catholic and non-Catholic users alike an authentic and concise (but thorough) explanation of official Church teaching regarding the Bible.

The next introduction is devoted to Genesis itself. Authorship and dating, structure, literary background, and more are covered here. Written in a fairly scholarly manner, but accessible to any educated and interested reader, it provides a fine overview and jumping off point to begin one's study.

In the text itself, extensive footnotes often fill up a third of a page, and sometimes a half a page or more. Icon annotations related to the Church's three criteria for biblical interpretation (content and unity, living tradition, and analogy of faith) are once again used, as appropriate, in the footnotes. These icons are particularly helpful to a user who may be pursuing a particular angle in his study or research. In substance, the footnotes are loaded. There is frequent reference to other Scripture passages, non-canonical religious and secular ancient texts, works of the Fathers of the Church, official Church documents (especially the Catechism of the Catholic Church), and explanation of Hebrew, Greek (LXX), and Latin (Vulgate) words and names. In addition, an appreciation of the culture and mores of these ancient times is provided to the reader through clear explanations.

Deeper dives into the material are provided through maps, charts, essays, and word studies distributed generously throughout the text. All are valuable and should be used, but the charts and essays are absolutely indispensable.

Study questions for each chapter fill up a dozen pages at the end of the booklet. Questions "for understanding" reinforce important passages and themes in the text and information found in the footnotes. "For application" questions challenge the studier personally here and now. All questions are substantial and well thought out, thus helping to ensure retention of material and provoking of thought. Great for all users, but particularly helpful for Bible study facilitators, since the latter will not (necessarily) have to provide questions for discussion themselves.

I was surprised to find that the booklet is in large format (8 ½ x 11) compared to the NT series (6 x 9). This allows for easier reading and larger margins for notes, while permitting the user to lay it flat. The notes pages in the back of the NT booklets have been eliminated with this volume; retaining a couple pages or more specifically for notes would have been nice, particularly anticipating its use in formal Bible studies.

Although it is touched upon in the general introduction to the series, I would have liked to have seen a dedicated overview of the Old Testament in general in this volume. Expanding on the Church's teaching on Catholic understanding of the OT (as found succinctly in Dei verbum 14-16), would have helped the reader or Bible study facilitator to better orient himself when reading this and subsequent OT texts.

This booklet provides an excellent study of the first book of the Bible. Indispensable for personal study or devotion, group study, homily aid, or scholarly research, this volume should be in the library of every Christian (and non-Christian for that matter) serious about understanding the Scriptures better and appreciating them more deeply.

Hopefully this introduction to the Old Testament will spur a new appreciation for these books, which "written under divine inspiration, remain permanently valuable" (DV 14), and inspire many to lead or form Bible study groups. For anyone who finds the Hebrew Scriptures intimidating or not particularly relevant, The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Genesis works powerfully to eliminate both of these issues.
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on December 6, 2010
This volume of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible -- which kicks off the release of the Old Testament volumes -- has been much anticipated by fans of the New Testament volumes. Genesis is no small book of the Bible, and so this Study Bible has some heft to it though it still costs the same! Another positive: Ignatius chose to publish this as a full workbook size at 8.5" x 11" with larger print and more room in the margin for notes. All of the content is still there as in the other individual study guide volumes, including the study/discussion questions, and they continue to use the Revised Standard Version Second Catholic Edition translation of the Bible. Overall, this is a very good and usable resource for Scripture study for individuals or groups.
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on September 26, 2011
I really love Genesis ... it has such great "stories" and such important life lessons. I ordered this Ignatius book based on the other reviews, and the book exceeded my expectations by far. The notes on the sections, chapters, and individual verses are quite interesting. The "Study Questions" at the end were quite thought provoking. As a Protestant, I had to look up the "CCC" sections on the internet to know what they contained, but that was enlightening, too. This is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED if you are a serious student of the Bible.
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on April 11, 2012
I've had the Ignatius Catholic Study New Testament since it came out. Commentary by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch open up the scripture. Here in the Old Testament, they provide supporting or interpretive texts such as apocryphal Hebrew scriptures which help you understand the context of Genesis. It also shows how St. Stephen in the book of Acts sometimes quotes the Hebrew tradition based on the aprocrypha to support his belief in the Messiah. And reading it on Kindle is great!

Ever hear that rebel angels were responsible for the children of humans? The commentary authors show where that story came from. (And if you read their commentary to Philemon, you'll see a tie-in you never knew was there.) They also show how historical sources support the story of Joseph in Egypt.

I wish I were a famous theologian rather than a nobody so my hearty recommendation would get you to try this first book of a promising series!
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on May 21, 2013
It all starts with Genesis if you are a believer. Yet, so many controversies swirl around the topic of our beginning in the church. This clarifies and keeps consistent that God created the world and all that is in it from absolute nothingness. God started everything according to HIS plan, and not just chance. After creation he allowed free will at almost every level, yet still is in control. A comforting fact for all I hope.
If every believer would read just this book, they'd be more steeped into the reverence we should hold for God. Each verse of the creation is covered and it's meaning which I believe sets the record straight on the Catholic teaching consistent with the Second Edition Catechism of the Catholic church.
Nothing is more central than this belief, from this book starts the physical world and human lineage that leads to Christ our Savior. Try as we may, we can't save ourselves and we're born into a sinful world now. Salvation clearly starts with Genesis as you read it and learn you'll become more thankful for God's forgiveness and grace. It also really reminds us of God's so wanting to be near us. Don't reject him, he still calls us while we are in the "Garden" here on earth. Sometimes we run and hide as did Adam and Eve, but he still loves us so very much so we can be forgiven and let him teach us if we will only listen.
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on December 31, 2015
I thought this was different than it is. I already have a full bible with commentary on the bottom about certain words, and connections to other passages which this basically is. So if you are looking for that, this would be fine. I was hoping to get more of a discussion on the religious themes and practical relevance to life today, which this is NOT. Will not be buying the rest of the series.
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on April 28, 2013
I am in a group of 8 ladies using this as a study together. We are finding the study well organized, and full of information we had not heard before about some of the more obscure passages in Genesis. We are appreciating the way the study gives insights into the New Testament and the New Covenant. Besides that, it seems to give us plenty of subject matter for tangentail discussions. We are thoroughly enjoying it.
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on April 15, 2016
These little booklets by Scott Hahn are a great way for Catholics to start reading the Bible. The footnotes are pretty decently scholarly and they're orthodox-- no worries for those Catholics worried about that.
Only 2 reasons not to give them a solid 5 stars. 1. They're not the only Bible or commentary you should have in your library,even though they're a good start. Keep going. 2. Cost. These should be packaged in larger units. Buying very many of these will set you back quite a bit. Catholic materials are generally more expensive. That's a shame.
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on March 12, 2013
Same information as in Exodus book. These are fabulous study bibles. It has concise concordance, maps. Also has maps on page.
Text and commentary are on the same page. Easy to use. Great version, easy to read and understand. Best study Bible I have ever seen. Makes the Bible come alive!
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on October 25, 2014
Content is 5 stars. Format is 3 stars. I view this on the Kindle app on Windows RT. The information that the hyperlinks take you to in the back of the book... that information is for some reason in a different format. It is bolded and smaller making it more difficult to read. As with all books like this, scripture references outside of the book are not hyperlinked. This is not a surprise but I think it would be very helpful if it were to link to a bible website like the USCCB (which of course as a the NAB vision). In the end, the content is what is important and that is top notch.
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