Misunderstood Stories

Misunderstood Stories

by Robert Gnuse


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Narratives in Genesis 1-11 have been misunderstood in many ways, but they especially have been used to oppress women and African Americans and to present a God of wrath and judgment. This commentary seeks to explain the real message behind those narratives, which is one that speaks of human dignity and equality, that affirms monotheism, that criticizes kings and tyrants, that declares our oneness with the animal realm and nature, and that proclaims a powerful message of divine grace with a deity personally involved in the human world. Humor may also be found in some of these stories. These biblical passages can be best explicated by close reading as well as by knowledge of comparable stories from the ancient Near East and from the classical world, and finally by knowledge of the concomitant social and political values connected with those other myths and narratives.

""Gnuse digs below the surface of the stories in Genesis 1-11 in a most accessible way to uncover their rich details and positive theological messages. Drawing effortlessly upon a wide range of scholars and ancient Near Eastern stories, and connecting with his own experiences in the classroom and the church, he brushes away misconceptions and dangerous manipulations and calls us to our better selves. I will gratefully use his book in my seminary classroom.""
--Denise Dombkowski Hopkins, Wesley Theological Seminary

""With a fresh and engaging style, Gnuse acquaints readers with a rich breadth of ancient Near Eastern sources revealing the fullest meaning of this foundational portion of biblical literature. Recognizing the formative nature of Genesis 1-11 as polemical literature, Gnuse shows how it answered the dominant political and cultural powers of its day with a distinct vision of human equality, dignity, and responsibility to God and to the rest of creation, a vision that speaks to modern concerns as it did to ancient ones.""
--Joel S. Burnett, Baylor University

Robert Gnuse is the James C. Carter, SJ/Chase Bank Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Loyola University New Orleans (LUNO), where he teaches Old Testament and world religions. He is the author of numerous books, including No Tolerance for Tyrants (2011), The Old Testament and Process Theology (2001), and No Other Gods (1997).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498216685
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 03/20/2014
Pages: 306
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.81(d)

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