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How to Read Genesis (How to Read Series How to Read) Paperback – June 12, 2005
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This book helped me think through some cirtical issues in new ways and helped me understand that many of the questions we want Genesis to answer aren't what the book is trying to address. More importantly, I felt that it gave me a handle on what Genesis was trying to communicate both to the original readers and me. (The Book Blog, (dtsbookcenter.wordpress.com), October 6, 2008)
. . .is written in a way that allows any minister or teacher of the Word as well as any educated layperson to enter the world of contemporary Old Testament scholarship. (Daniel R. Hyde, Calvin Theological Journal, April 2008)
In a mere 175 pages, Longman considers the issues surrounding the reading of Genesis in an easily accessible manner. . . .good reading for any layman seeking to know more about this most pivotal text of the Bible. (Mutsugoro, January 23, 2008)
Longman sheds fresh light on overly familiar stories in an interesting and readable manner. He presents competing theological understandings of Genesis fairly (in my opinion). Most importantly, he leads the reader into actually reading Genesis, after reading about it. (Dolores Klinsky Walker, Pioneer United Methodist Church, Walla Walla, WA, National Church Library Association, April 11, 2007, http://nclareviews.pbwiki.com/Biblical%20Studies)
Longman does a good job of addressing critical arguments about author and date in an accessible way . . . Longman deserves praise for giving laymen the tools to engage the Bible more thoughtfully. (Modern Reformation, March/April 2006)
About the Author
Tremper Longman III (PhD, Yale University) is Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He is also visiting professor of Old Testament at Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and adjunct of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. He lectures regularly at Regent College in Vancouver and the Canadian Theological Seminary in Calgary. Longman is the author or coauthor of over twenty books, including How to Read Genesis, How to Read the Psalms, How to Read Proverbs, Literary Approaches to Biblical Interpretation, Old Testament Essentials and coeditor of A Complete Literary Guide to the Bible. He and Dan Allender have coauthored Bold Love, Cry of the Soul, Intimate Allies, The Intimate Mystery and the Intimate Marriage Bible studies.
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Top Customer Reviews
Granted, Longman does not do a verse-by-verse exegesis or an elaborate Hebrew translation, but he does provide ample commentary on the subject in the Book of Genesis, some using professional scholarship as insight.
Even if the book is a professional commentary, I have to say that it certainly sets itself into a unique class amongst Biblical study texts. Longman writes How to Read Genesis for simple reading, and he does cover all topics of Genesis (some more than others). His writing style and what he found important to comment on was sometimes different than what I wanted to read. I found myself disagreeing a whole heck of a lot with his comments, too! (Maybe that's what he meant when denying that this book is a commentary - he added his opinion to some concepts that he felt were left open to speculation.)
Anyway, the greatest value I received from this book wasn't so much "how to read" the great Book of Genesis (because I found myself disagreeing so much with Longman), but from the background and comparative stories that the author provided. He didn't just present a straight commentary on Genesis - he offered insight to other civilizations, religions, and cultures during the supposed times that Genesis was written or was referencing. This, in many ways, offered a sort of "side story" which is great for adding to your Bible study.
I would recommend this book to anybody who has already read the Book of Genesis. I tried reading Longman's book alongside reading Genesis to see if I could get better insight that way, but it didn't work. The best value in Longman's book, I found, was just reading the Biblical version first, having those stories relatively fresh in my mind, and then going to Longman's book. In this way, my memory was not only jogged, but, like I said, the author's insights really opened my eyes even more to this ancient Scripture.
I would also recommend this book for group Bible study. Again, still read Genesis first, not alongside. Then, in Bible study, Longman's book will bring out certain issues for the group to discuss. I think you would have fun disagreeing (or agreeing) with the author on some of his points, all the while drawing out the full color of the Book of Genesis thanks to Longman's commentary.
So don't think of this as a "how to" book as the title would mislead us into thinking. This is a commentary and a comparative work, and certainly a very worthy one for all Bible students.
You will not be able to read "How to Read Genesis" without having your own mind and heart challenged.
I'm perplexed as to how he managed to pack in so much content with so little words; I felt it was a perfect marriage of popular and scholarly theology. Its as though his lifetime spent in scholarship of Genesis have been summarised into this nifty little book. In 175 pages, Longman III brings us on a journey in hermeneutics, apologetics, authorship, outline, extrabiblical literature, finally an overview of 3 main sections of Genesis, relationship with the NT and finally very useful reviews on Genesis commentaries.
It could be argued that the chief aim of a teacher is not to impart content and knowledge, but to create a love for learning in the student. Longman III kept my attention from start to finish, and I think that he did more than that - I now have a renewed interest in learning and teaching (though specifically OT material)! Perhaps it would take the form of a small group bible study on the book of Genesis? I am interested to read (and review) Longman III's other titles in this series, and hopefully they would be as good or even better than this one!
I received this book from InterVarsity Press for the purposes of providing an unbiased review. All views are my own.