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Original Sinners: A New Interpretation of Genesis Hardcover – November 17, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1ST edition (November 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439102090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439102091
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. An entertaining narrative voice, personal reflections from the author's life and insightful interpretations combine to produce this accessible and lively new addition to Genesis scholarship. Coats, a former parish priest and management consultant, cogently applies source theory—the hypothesis that four separate documents went into the first five books of the Bible—to familiar stories whose ethical and spiritual DNA seeps through Western culture. Through his approach, the author makes complex biblical scholarship comprehensible, while challenging the reader to examine the actual text. Asserting that biblical characters are rather relentless in their mirroring, Coats uses second-person hooks (Imagine yourself as the first human being) to invite readers to use their own perspective to interpret the text. Cheeky chapter headings entice and inform; First, about the ark, which is most definitely not a boat begins his analysis of Noah and the flood. While cultural references from Maimonides to Mae West spice up the narrative, Coats's exploration of how his own history and self-understanding inform his interpretations makes the most compelling reading. His reflections on his own aging and his analysis of the stories of Noah and Abraham prove compelling and thought provoking. (Nov. 17)
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Review

"An entertaining narrative voice, personal reflections from the author's life and insightful interpretations combine to produce this accessible and lively new addition to Genesis scholarship." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

My heritage is Southern Baptist, but it was in a Roman Catholic church that, in the fall of 1958, a few months after my twelfth birthday, I was left more than a little undone by what was either an "ecstatic experience" or "surely an allergic reaction, perhaps to the incense." It was a split second in my sixty-three years, yet the man I've become, and all that I've done in my professional life--Episcopal priest, speaker and trainer for an international foundation, management consultant, writer--can be traced back to that moment which, these five decades later, remains a mystery.

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It's good fun as well.
Charles True
Once you understand what the biblical author was trying to say, and thanks to Mr. Coats, place it into our world, the story comes alive and becomes more relevant.
Paul Hosse
He makes me jump up and say...."That's what I thought", with a silly girlish grin...while other times I must stop and say..."hum!!!"
roman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By professor on November 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Coats is a damn good storyteller, and Original Sinners will help you examine what you know or think you know about both religion and the world. It matters not if you are versed in religion or just discovering how it fits your life - an entirely new understanding of these people, places, and times unfolds beautifully.

This is also not a book about religion - it is a book about life and all that it is and all that leads one through it. It is about Mom's favorite brother, Uncle Robert, and great-aunt Catherine. About Second Cousin (once removed) Larry and that woman what's-her-name he married. It about you, and me and us. It is about life.

- Michael Goins, professor of writing, University of Texas at San Antonio
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William C. Boothe on November 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've known John Coats for a long time. When he told me he was writing a book on Genesis, I thought, "Well, that will be erudite and thoughtful". What i didn't realize was that it would also be engaging and poignant and really funny as well. It has given me fresh eyes to see Genesis as it truly is, and to appreciate my relationship to its mythologies. Its also given me a renewed appreciation for John. I'm grateful, and congratulations for writing a book that I had difficulty putting down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BRFG on November 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Prepare to be challenged, educated, intrigued and entertained...in Original Sinners, John Coats has expertly woven the past with the present, creating a fresh relevance that compels the reader to reflect and continue their page turning journey through Genesis. This inspiring read succeeds in separating spirituality and religion, applying an appropriate dose of reality, resulting in a newly realized understanding and appreciation of what may have previously been considered "known".

Congratulations, John...we're looking forward to the next one!"
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles True on November 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed John Coats' work and the voice of this book as it makes the biblical creation story more accessible through the lens of the humanity of the recorders, players, and interepreters in and of Genesis. Well done, well said. Believers and non believers can enjoy Coats' analysis and its' invitation to relate to the lives of the characters in the context of the time. He helps to enlighten many misconceptions heard over the years while giving the reader's common sense and own experiences weight and value in the matter of constructing belief, priming the pump with reflections of his journey as a man and priest. It's good fun as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Hosse on June 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I just recently finished reading Original Sinners, a 213 page book written by John Coats. As a lifelong student of theology, the Bible can be confusing and often contradictory. Many people complain about being able to relate to the characters, removed from us by thousands of miles and thousands of years. Empires come and go. Cultures rise, evolve, and fade. But the one thing that hasn't changed that much, and remains pretty much the same regardless of time or place is human nature. In that, we are pretty much the same. What motivated Eve, Jacob, Rebecca, or Joseph pretty much motivates us today. The other thing many people have difficulty with is the language. The Bible is very difficult to accurately translate. The words often don't have the same meaning to us as they did for their original audience thousands of years ago.

The beauty of this book is that Mr. Coats does a masterful job of "humanizing" the characters, from Adam to Joseph (did you know, for instance, that "adam" was actually a Hebraic word for "human being" and not a person's name? Just as Adam was, well, an "adam", so was Eve!). At the same time, the author takes the core of the story, such as Noah and Flood, and places it in a modern context by relating his personal experiences, and in doing so, offers the reader to do the same thing. Once you understand what the biblical author was trying to say, and thanks to Mr. Coats, place it into our world, the story comes alive and becomes more relevant. I strongly recommend you check out this book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sean Roark on November 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Coat's remarkable book spans at least two chasms; first, he brings background, tradition and historical correlation to each of the stories in the first book of the Bible. Secondly, he relates personal experiences and contemporary anecdotes that draw parallels and meaning between the ancient text and modern daily life.

The result is an enjoyable and entertaining read with real-world lessons in living. While the term "Living Bible" has been out there for a while, this book actually brings the traditional text to life for me in a way that allows the ancient stories to help me better understand and experience my daily life in the modern world.

All this "deep stuff", and an engaging read, too! I can't wait to see what he does with "Exodus"!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bigfoot on November 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
""Original Sinners", shook my heart and rattled my brain. Author John Coats is poking a badger with a spoon. Sure to enlighten readers with his mind expanding views on a journey through Genesis."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By citygrl on August 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Coats offers a thoughtful, humorous, and human commentary on the "characters" presented in The Book of Genesis. The discussions he presents include information from the most recent Biblical scholars and insight on how these stories apply to our lives. He is never preachy or insistent that his is the only correct interpretation. In fact he offers more than one possible explanation of what motivates some of the "characters" actions. Indeed he presents the patriarchs as true "characters" not necessarily pious or religious, but often humorous and flawed. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a more in depth understanding of Genesis, not the mainstream explanations, but a thoughtful look at the oldest stories in the epic of man's understanding and relationship with The Creator.
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