This booklet is the first result of a project to look more closely at stories most of us know of but don’t know well. The stories of Genesis are the fond of a great deal of Western literature, art and even law. But most of us learned them as illiterates. They have come to us as fairy tales once did from someone who told us a story, or from some pious synopsis, or perhaps from a tour guide in an art gallery.
But the careful reader who goes back to the text of Genesis may be surprised. The version of stories we have all heard is not there, or at least is not the full story. Not only are the explanations offered in the text quite different to those we have heard, the narratives are stranger, more ironic and more humane than we supposed. At least, those narratives embedded in the text that have been attributed to the writer tagged “J”. Harold Bloom placed her at the forefront of his Western Canon, just after Shakespeare for her original vision that is now a ‘given’ of our culture.
This booklet does not follow Bloom’s “The Book of J” into extracting her version. I discuss the text as a whole; in the form available to readers since, certainly, the compiling of the Septuagint 3400 years ago.
The PDF of the booklet comes in two versions (both about 12MB). The first uses a book-like, two-page spread. The second uses single pages, which is better for a tablet or large phone screen,