Genesis for Normal People: A Guide to the Most Controversial, Misunderstood, and Abused Book of the Bible
by Peter Enns and Jared Byas, Patheos 2012
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For a limited time, you can download Peter Enns’ new e-book, Genesis for Normal People, for $1.99 and read it on your Kindle or other device. Later, it will be sold for $4.99.
[UPDATE: The Amazon sale was apparently only a one-day sale. The price is $4.99.]
This is a great chance to read first-rate Biblical scholarship in a more popular format. We have featured Pete Enns on IM and will continue to do so because I think he represents one of the freshest and most honest voices in Biblical Studies today.
Here’s a sample from the first chapter:
So when we read Genesis as an ancient story, written at a particular time to a particular people, it opens up possibilities and worlds we don’t encounter in our limited existence. When we stop using Genesis as an argument, a textbook, or a code of conduct, and begin to see it as an ancient story—with memorable characters, twists and turns, ups and downs, accomplishments and mistakes—we find it fresh, deep, and more true and relevant than we might expect.
The best stories shape our lives precisely because as we read them, we are presented with both reality and possibility. The characters and circumstances resonate with us because they are mirrors of our own story, reminding us that we are not alone in our experiences. But they also pull us toward another world that we are less familiar with, a world that is often strange and sometimes dangerous, a world that doesn’t show me what is, but what is possible.
Why would we expect anything less at the beginning of the story of God’s relationship with humanity? But in order to see Genesis through ancient eyes, we have to admit that our modern eyes might get in the way. So this chapter is eye surgery. It is meant to help us suspend our twenty-first-century gaze and allow us to enter a new way of looking at the world.