Questions for Genesis
Our group combines Jewish, Christian, Hindu and agnostic readers. I look forward to the conversations.
Tuesday, March 27
8pm NYC time
(I’ll be sending out another number for international callers)
Here are a few questions to guide your reading of the first part of Genesis (we’ll discuss the whole book; this should just help you get started).
1. Creation, Adam, Eve and the serpent
The initial stories of Genesis are powerful. “In the beginning…” Herodotus (for those who joined us for Herodotus) attempted to explain how the Greeks and Persians came to fight each other – and in so doing told the stories of the peoples of the Mediterranean. Yet, he did not attempt to start “in the beginning” and while the morality of his history may be debated, the Bible is an entirely different piece of literature.
What did you think about the two stories of creation in Genesis? About Adam and Eve? For first-time readers of the actual text – did some of the language offend, delight, surprise you?
2. Cain and Abel 4.1 – 4.26
This famous story – earliest instance in Genesis of violence – only takes about three paragraphs in Genesis. Were you surprised it was so short? What is the story about? Why does God snub Cain when the two brothers make their offering? Why does Cain lie to God? Does he think God does not know? Remember that “denial of family solidarity” would have been “anathema to Israelite readers.” Note also famous phrases like “…am I my brother’s keeper?” and “…land of Nod, east of Eden.”
3. Noah and the great flood 6.1-10
Again, for first-time readers, were you surprised at how early the flood story appears in Genesis? Surprised by how quickly evil takes root and thus must be wiped out? What was God’s promise to Noah?
4. Babel 11.1
The Bible describes the making of the bricks for the building of a city and tower. [note: recall that Herodotus talked about the brick-making skills of the Babylonians; and the many brick-based walls of their beautiful city]. Herodotus introduced his history by stating that prosperity never stays long in one place. Is there a similar sentiment here in God’s decision to confuse the builders of Babel?
5. Abraham 12 –
What is the Lord’s promise to Abraham? What marks the covenant? Sarah and the Lord argue in 18.11 – .15. What’s their argument about? What do you think about the negotiation between God and Abraham regarding the destruction of Sodom? 18.22 -32.
More coming soon…look forward to speaking to you in about a week.