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Publisher's Summary

Nearly everyone in the Western world is familiar with the stories in the book of Genesis. Its language is simple. Its powerful sentences are short. And its messages glisten with clarity. But is it possible that the understanding of the book of Genesis we've all grown up with isn't as complete as we'd like to believe? That its deceptively simple sentences and surface appearance hide from contemporary readers a purposeful and intricate structure designed to let its depth and detail and implication resonate with the readers and listeners of its own time?

These 24 fascinating lectures offer the necessary tools to change our perceptions of the book of Genesis, showing us how we might read, hear, think about - and feel - its words as an ancient Hebrew would have, allowing us to gain a new appreciation of "one of the most remarkable literary compositions from the ancient world," as Professor Rendsburg calls it, the book with which both Jews and Christians alike begin their Bible.

With a detailed, line-by-line literary parsing that gently probes its language, exploring how and why its effects were achieved and what the book's author-or authors-were saying, Professor Rendsburg reveals more insights than most of us have ever dreamed were there. Among those insights, you'll learn why the book of Genesis has not one but two creation stories, what hints the book's many contradictions offer about its authorship, and more.

Although this is a course whose emphasis is literary, with detailed analysis dominating, Professor Rendsburg is mindful that the book of Genesis is, for many, a theological pillar of religious faith. And he is both respectful of that reality and aware of it in an even broader historical, social, and archeological context.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses

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The best book on Genesis

Awesome. Most impressive. Thank you so much Prof. Rendsburg. Possibly the best book of dozens I have read on Genesis.

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Takes the mind to other places.

It's Always interesting listening to Dr. Rendsburg and although I liked the dead sea scrolls course much better, this was also good. I didn't agree with everything he said, but enjoy the approach and the thought It put me through in the process.

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  • Jacobus
  • 22-07-2013

Clear, illuminating but without a PDF study guide

What made the experience of listening to The Book of Genesis the most enjoyable?

Prof. Gary A Rendsburg uses clear and simple language to reflect on the subject matter at hand (some of which might be a bit technical to new comers to the book). He furthermore approach the Book of Genesis from a historical, theological, and archaeological angle and ultimately evaluates its quality as literature. He covers a vast amount of issues not only related to the Book of Genesis but to the Old Testament/ Torah in general.

What did you like best about this story?

It is very difficult to single out a specific part. Prof. Rendsburg was able to give an excellent overview on current scholarly insights on Genesis. His explanation of Genesis 1 is top notch. He doesn't get into nit picking about the historicity of the account but places it squarely within its Ancient Near Eastern framework. He was able to show the function of the various doublet stories in various parts of Genesis. He also challenged the JEPD hypothesis convincingly. He leaves you with a lot of food for thought.

Have you listened to any of Professor Gary A. Rendsburg’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No I haven't. He started of a bit staccato in the first two lectures, but got more relaxed as he continued with the lectures. I think he did an excellent job.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

It more than just a beginning or a big bang, its a journey!

Any additional comments?

The Great Courses comes the study guides for easy reference. Unfortunately the Audible downloads have that lacking which is very disappointing. For that the overall rating drops with one star.

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  • Seleena
  • 24-01-2016

Great Book

Would you listen to The Book of Genesis again? Why?

This book has a lot of relevant information that are both academic and spiritual. I'd like to go back occasionally to refresh my memory about the topics discussed as I continue my research on the stories and history of the bible.

What did you like best about this story?

I like the fact the author is very open minded and was prepared to back up his arguments and views with supportive materials. I may not agree with all his views 100% but I can respect them because he makes his reasoning clear.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The title of the movie would be "The End Begins".

Any additional comments?

If you have questions about the bible or biblical stories in general, read this book. It doesn't really try to justify the unexplainable but it does a good job of deducing what could have caused them and though it only covers the first book, it's a start.

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  • Melaney Shaum
  • 02-06-2019

slow start

1st lesson is a bad preformance. Keep listening, they get a lot better. He knows his stuff.

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  • Jamie
  • 03-04-2019

Excellent Course

I found this course to be very helpful and to the point. Dr. Rendsburg explores several different interpretations and translations of Genesis and is enjoyable to listen to. The way he weaves the history and literature of numerous cultures together is also very impressive. This has definitely been one of my favorite Great Courses–I highly recommend it.

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  • Gene
  • 20-08-2018

Not what I expected.

Some indication of perspective (literary) in the title would be helpful. Speaker's presentation of theories besides his own was mostly balanced. Odd that the way material was presented allowed some stories to be included almost as an afterthought.

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  • LAOGONG
  • 07-07-2017

Wish he did the whole bible! A great listen!

Kept me wanting more. Wish he would do more bible books. Will purchase them if he does!...

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-03-2016

A nice exploration

Any additional comments?

Professor Rendsburg has an exceptional knowledge in ancient literature as well as the culture and history that surrounds it. He uses those gifts to give a fascinating and scholarly take on Genesis. Newcomers as well as seasoned studies will find new discoveries and fascinating insights. The creation accounts as well as the Abraham narrative are high points. He doesn't always conform to the scholarly norm but when he strays from it, he tells the listener, backs up his thought, and gives compelling reasons for a new look. I really enjoyed this work. Also, for those of you who want to look at a brief study on an earlier date for the Exodus, google "rendsburg exodus" and there is a pdf on that.

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  • Phil
  • 29-07-2015

Great course! Excellent Lectures

I enjoyed listening to this course. The lectures were engaging and insightful and the professor clearly knows what he is talking about. I learned a great deal. Hope he does other books of the bible.

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  • Margo
  • 17-09-2020

Overview

Lots of good information, but the Reader tells us what to conclude, based on this info. I appreciate his lerned opinion, but it is not stated as huh is opinion, but as an overriding fact. I just wish he'd share his knowledge, without telling me what I think, because he knows.

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  • J. Griff Bludworth
  • 27-03-2019

I learned so much.

Learned things I wish I would have known years before. Lecturer has deep knowledge. Presents alternative theories and provides his evidence for his.

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  • Jonathan
  • 29-03-2015

Brings Genesis to Life

A whole lecture course on Genesis may seem a lot, but in the hands of Professor Rendsburg it seems barely enough. It is an outstanding account that I thoroughly recommend. Details of the individual parts of the story are interspersed with lectures on historical background, different versions of the bible etc. This works really well as an approach and kept my interest up completely. For more details on content I recommend looking at the Great Courses web site. And if after finishing this course you want a detailed account of the biblical story after Genesis, I recommend very highly Dr Bill Creasy's "One Year Bible".

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  • Norman
  • 29-04-2016

Outstanding

Where does The Book of Genesis rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best in my collection, one I come back to reperatedly.

Have you listened to any of Professor Gary A. Rendsburg’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Like his other course on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Prof Rendsberg semonstrates an almost obsessive eye for detail.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Anyone wanting a true understanding of the Genesis account of creation - this is a good place to go.

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  • David Ottaway
  • 05-09-2020

Fascinating course

What an interesting and insightful set of lectures that piece a lot of the information around the book of Genesis as well as some specific study of sections and taking time to go through verse by verse at points. An excellent course. would strongly recommend reading the book of Genesis as you go through this course rather than just relying on lecturer to read large chunks of text. I found myself getting used to the style and tone of the lecturer after the first lecture and therefore found him an easy person to listen to for 12 hours.

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  • #earlylearning🤓📚
  • 07-08-2020

Addresses some interesting points.

Addresses some interesting points and discoveries. Shame that he uses his own opinion so frequently.

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  • D
  • 16-07-2020

Listen to this book three times and still learning

I had read the books of the bible many times, yet this is the first time I have delved into a book of the Canon as deeply. If you are looking for an academic approach with a good understanding of the Christian teaching, then I highly recommend these lectures. This is the third time I have listened, and I am still gaining new insight. These lectures promote further reasoning.

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  • Londonbusman
  • 13-08-2017

Understand the First Great Book of the Bible

very easy to follow but deeply scholarly this course will enthuse you to deeper bible study

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  • Maddock
  • 29-09-2016

Skimming stones

The lectures are concise and easy to listen to. I would have liked more on Creation and Adam and Eve and I felt that some of the conclusions on the old testament author borrowing stories required more explanations. However the lectures provide some invaluable insights into the people of Genesis given this is an overview.

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