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Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary Paperback – September 1, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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  • Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"From every standpoint—methodological and theological, structural and syntactical, linguistic and literary, apologetic and and worldview—this expository survey is a model of 'good reading' of the text. Here you have a landmark treatment of Genesis 1-4 as canonical communication from God, a work of detailed scholarship that no serious student or honest teacher will henceforth be able to ignore." --J. I. Packer

About the Author

C. John Collins (PhD, University of Liverpool) is professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary. He is the author of The God of Miracles and Science and Faith.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875526195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875526195
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wesley L. Janssen on March 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
Having just begun a study of Genesis when I purchased this book, I must say that it was money well spent. Collins is the general editor of the Old Testament translation of the English Standard Version (ESV), a newer and highly 'literal' Bible. His proficiency in ancient languages and literature, philology, theology, exegetics, source studies and theories, and biblical scholarship generally (ancient, modern, recent, and current) is evident throughout this volume and is consistently a necessary antidote to dogmatic and sometimes reckless expositions by supposed experts of both the conservative and liberal varieties. At once Collins is orthodox, cautious (appropriately tentative), informed (scholarly), and given to carefully analyzing the interpretational assertions and shortcomings of all commonly touted exegetic and scholarly schools. Most importantly, he rightly asks that we not defer so readily to our post Enlightenment expectations of 'normal' narrative and instead cooperate with evidences of the author's intent.

There have always been questions and disagreements as to the correct understanding of these texts, and, for the last two centuries, questions and disagreements as to the sources and motives involved in the texts. For Collins, all of these issues, as they relate to the chapters being studied, are scrutinized. After explaining why we must reject the expositional assertions of some readers and scholars--that these texts not be viewed through the lenses of subsequent ancient writers, Collins examines the "allusions, echoes, and reverberations" relating to these texts that we find in later Old Testament, inter-testamental, and New Testament writings.
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Format: Paperback
Collins has produced a truly scholarly and masterful exegesis of the opening chapters of Genesis. With careful attention to the language and conventions of the text, and with an eye towards historic Reformed theology, he argues that the narrative is an "exalted prose narrative" that is at once historically grounded in and analogical to the ordinary human experiences of the text's original readers. This is a useful corrective to those who insist, for example, that the "days" of creation are "ordinary" days, as well as to those who hold that the text is merely mythopoetic. He does this while addressing other views critically but respectfully. Whatever position you hold on the meaning of the Biblical creation narrative, you should admire Collins' work for both its substance and spirit.
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Format: Paperback
I was privileged to read this book in manuscript form. In this commentary, Collins follows up on his intriguing insights developed briefly in his previous book, Science and Faith: Friends of Foes? For anyone searching for a thoughtful, informed, orthodox, and persuasive explanation of the first four chapters of the Bible, this book is simply the best there is.
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C. John Collins (Professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary) has written an excellent study of Genesis 1-4. After introductory material and a description of his methodology, the heart of the book is a chapter each on The Creation Week, The Garden of Eden, The Fall, and After Eden. Each of these four chapters includes sections on translations & notes, literary-theological exposition, extra notes, and reverberations (ways in which the material from Genesis has been taken up in the Psalms and the New Testament). Extra Notes include topics like creation from nothing, "evening and morning," the meaning of kind, the image of God, use of the words create and make, the goodness of creation, what were the two trees, how long was the creation week (he favors the analogical days interpretation), was Adam made mortal, the curse and nature, are Adam and Eve the parents of all mankind,where did Cain's wife come from, etc.

These are followed by chapters on Sources, Unity & Authorship (in which he discusses the arguments for the Documentary Hypothesis, then gives his reasons for concluding that Moses is the primary author), The Communicative Purpose, questions of history & science, and appropriating Genesis 1-4 today.

He even explains why he chose to include Genesis 4 in this book about "The Beginning." I found Genesis 1-4 to be a well-documented, well-reasoned study that is eminently suitable for a layman like myself.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Collins has offered an intelligent commentary on Genesis which takes us another step in the right direction toward understanding the literary conventions of Hebrew storytelling.

I am an Evangelical Protestant Christian, so I come to a book like this with some presuppositions about the inspiration of Scripture. Traditionally, our perspective has focused on the words - or "verbal" inspiration. While I remain convinced the whole Bible - from Genesis to Revelation - is uniquely inspired by God, it seems our focus on "verbal" inspiration has created a blind spot; we seem to miss the literary forest for the lexicographical trees.

This commentary is very helpful in this respect. Collins does not dispense with nor disregard the traditional views, but believes they need to cooperate with the Hebrew literary conventions of the time when Genesis was written. He remains true to the traditional view of Mosaic authorship, but cautions us to understand the concept of "authorship" in a broader sense, for which he shows evidence even within later Scripture. He interacts with the "documentary hypothesis" (the idea that Genesis was "stitched" together from disparate sources) and shows convincingly (and helpfully from an Evangelical perspective) that regardless of the provenance of the stories, what we have before us is a highly unified, artistically stylized text. He argues we should be less concerned with what can only be a speculative enterprise (the form of the putative "original" sources) and more interested in the literary art of the whole.

The two things I did not like about the book (and thus 4 stars and not 5) were:

1) As a reader of commentaries, I expect a certain structure to them.
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