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Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives Paperback – October 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This wonderfully researched and elegantly written book provides the reader with a compelling and trustworthy portrait of how the fathers of the church read the story of Adam and Eve. As Bouteneff tells that story we see that the tale of the fall is always contextualized within a narrative that celebrates the restoration and redemption of the human race."--Gary Anderson, professor of Old Testament, University of Notre Dame

"Beginnings takes us back to the beginning of the scriptural creation narrative and to the beginning of the Christian appropriation of this narrative. The reader is initiated into precursors of the Christian tradition (especially the Septuagint and Philo) and then guided through the early Christian thinkers (especially Origen) whose writings underpin current theological reflection on Genesis 1-3. Beginnings allows twenty-first-century readers to wrestle with issues ranging from creation and the image of God to anthropology and gender--all in the context of the community of faith that found its beginning, middle, and end in Jesus Christ. Peter Bouteneff has done the church a valuable service in this focused study."--Joel C. Elowsky, managing editor, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Drew University

"The question of the origin of humankind and the cosmos has perhaps never been so hotly debated as nowadays, with 'evolution' and 'creationism' presenting themselves as polar opposites. In this fine book, Peter Bouteneff presents a carefully researched and scholarly reading of early Christian readings of the creation account in Genesis. What emerges is a range of interlocking insights into God's creative purpose and the human place in the cosmos. Genesis 1-3 is seen as neither a myth nor an outdated scientific account, but a poem of creation, yielding deeper meanings upon closer ponderings. Bouteneff unveils the often surprising riches of our patristic inheritance with a rare intelligence and passion."--Andrew Louth, professor of patristic and Byzantine studies, University of Durham

About the Author

Peter C. Bouteneff (D.Phil., University of Oxford) is associate professor of theology at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York. He is the author of Sweeter Than Honey: Orthodox Thinking on Dogma and Truth and coauthor of Beyond the East West Divide: The W.C.C. and "the Orthodox Problem."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801032334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801032332
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #641,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Chris Heard on January 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Bouteneff does a very nice job of introducing readers to important figures from the history of early Christianity and their individual treatments of the six-day creation narrative in Genesis 1 and the paradise narrative in Genesis 2-3. Reading the book requires some mental investment, but Bouteneff doesn't presume any prior knowledge of the writers whose work he surveys, and he explains the most important technical terms. Bouteneff references Greek words occasionally, but you don't need to know Greek to understand and appreciate the book.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of early Christian approaches to the Bible. It's especially timely for readers who want to know whether early Christian leaders took Genesis 1 and Genesis 2-3 "literally." The short answer is "no," or at least "not entirely." For the longer answer, read this book.
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Profound insights into early Christian readings of Genesis, with very important implications for the contemporary discussion of the origins of humanity and all of nature. Persons of faith who have grown weary of the stale "creation/evolution" debate will love this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a very comprehensive, tightly written, examination of Early Orthodox Christian Fathers interpretations of the Genesis narrative. Makes several cogent points and informative insights into the Early Church's use of Genesis narratives.
Will mainly be of interest to academic theologians and seminarians. Not for casual lay reader.
See detailed review see here:
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