Old Testament

Genesis

Introduction to the Course – Discussion Questions

Interpretation Questions:

  1. Where is the line between the Genesis stories we accept as non-historical ancient myth and those we read as historically plausible? Why do we draw the line where we do?
  2. How many different genres, or types of literature, are represented in Genesis? What might this tell us about the origins of the book?
  3. Why does Genesis hold such appeal for the modern reader? Is it simply because it comes first?

Application Questions:

  1. How does the existence of multiple authors affect your understanding of Genesis as a sacred text?
  2. Think of the patriarchs in Genesis alongside mythical figures from other literature, such as King Arthur. What role does telling these stories have in society?
  3. What do you make of the role of myth in Genesis? How does considering it myth affect your interpretation?

Comment below or engage with fellow learners in the forum to discuss these topics.

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Take notes on this lesson

2 Notes

  1. roscoe

    It seems to me that we draw the line where we are comfortable with it. For instance, I can take at face value the conflict of Leah and Rachel and Rachel’s betrayal of her husband. But what of the “men of renown” who come to earth and marry its women?
    As is mentioned, we read a novella, poems, myths in Genesis.
    I think some like Genesis because it holds such lessons of right living for us by using characters who are like us. It’s real life.

  2. Kent Manno

    Very interesting intro video and study guide…I think most of us never realized the complexity of the book of the Bible. I was especially struck by the following quote: “German scholar named Hermann Gunkel showed they belong not to the genre of historiography but to that of legend. Legend, according to Gunkel, is originally oral tradition, while history is usually found in written form.” Oral vs. written tradition…I believe that in the oral tradition accounts can be altered from person to person. There is definite value here to the story…but lack of historic data becomes problematic.