Stories from Genesis

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,

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