Reading Genesis: An encounter with the human condition
To: 18 December 2017
Back by popular demand! The stories that comprise the book of Genesis speak to us because they are so human. These stories have shaped our views about human frailty, sexuality, moral freedom and sin, faith and doubt. Through them, we learn about the best and worst of the human condition. These stories are, indeed, about Everyman and Everywoman.
This course will concentrate on a close reading of the first twelve chapters of Genesis which present us with an archetypal history of the beginnings of humankind. We will be concerned with the narrative framework of the text and how it unfolds as a story, focusing in particular on its underlying themes, language and structure.
We will also examine the life story of Abraham through the lens of a number of trials that he had to confront throughout his lifetime. Indeed, these trials will be viewed against the backdrop of a long and adventurous journey which occupied Abraham for more than half of his life; a journey that can be best described as an odyssey, marked above else, by his changing and developing relationship with God.
Image caption: One of two candle sticks for Shabbat, Russia, 19th century, Donated by Mrs Masur, Jewish Museum of Australia Collection 2459.1