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Genesis for Normal People: A Guide to the Most Controversial, Misunderstood, and Abused Book of the Bible

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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  165 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Given the fever-pitched controversies about evolution, Adam and Eve, and scientific evidence for the Flood, the average person might feel intimidated by the book of Genesis. But behind the heady debates is a terrific storyone that anyone can understand, and one that has gripped people for ages.

If you are not a Bible scholar but want to be able to read Genesis and
...more
Kindle Edition, 100 pages
Published April 9th 2012 by Patheos Press
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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
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Paul Bruggink
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Peter Enns and Jared Byas have written a brief (104 pages plus an 18-page Guide for Group Discussions) guide to reading the entire book of Genesis as the story of the nation of Israel, as told through a later (post-exile) point of view, and on how to read it through ancient rather than modern eyes. Throughout the book, the authors point out how details of the biblical stories in Genesis reflect the realities of a later period of time.

The authors expand on the theme that the story of Adam and Eve
...more
David
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a great little overview of the book of Genesis for anyone from pastors to, as the title says, "normal" people. Rather then getting sidetracked by questions of science and evolution, the authors put Genesis in its ancient context seeing it as the beginning of the story of Israel. Thus, Adam the first Israelite is faced with the same choices later Israel had. This ancient context also puts in focus the Babylonian exile, with Genesis 1 taking swipes at Babylonian religion ("You worship the ...more
William Bradford
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: commentary
This book is just what the title says it is - an easy to read, non-technical commentary on Genesis. Since it is not a technical work, the authors present their own interpretation and do not spend a lot of time analyzing other views. It is a well written and concise explanation of their view (the writing was excellent). This interpretation, which centers on Genesis being compiled into the book it is now during the Babylonian captivity and speaking primarily to the Jewish people of that time, is ...more
Ann
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, israel
Described by the publisher as A Brief, Witty Guide to the Book of Genesis, this book really was fun to read. In their usual style, Enns and Byas discuss serious scholarly content in colloquial language, as in their popular podcast series, The Bible for Normal People. In this first book of a series by the same name, they guide us through Israels ancient narrative in its ancient cultural setting, as it would have been understood at the time of its telling and eventual writing, around the time of ...more
Bobbe
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a thought-provoking overview of the book of Genesis with the understanding that it was written for an ancient people, that it was most likely written during or after the Babylonian exile, and that it is inspired and meant to provide hope for the Jewish nation. Peter Enns is a man of faith who has asked many of the same questions I have. I am hopeful that our small group will use this book and the first book of the Bible for one of our studies in the near future. Enns points out many ...more
Marylou
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book - it was a refreshing look at Genesis.
Kathy
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved the humor and outlook (and help) in understanding the Bible's book of genesis. If there is anyone struggling with the stories of creation this is a great place to go.
Kevin
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very accessible book that does a great job explaining Genesis. It is good starting place for people who want to understand Genesis.
Brandon
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is one of my most reread titles in my library. I love learning about the creation accounts; Enn's and Byas's is one of my absolute favorites. I was introduced to Enns's work while a student in his classroom, but his books have prompted further growth and liberty to grapple with questions.

Genesis for Normal People is a great introduction to the topic. Short, sweet, and easy to read; it leaves you wishing there was more.
Lee
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-books
i'm not really sure what i think of this book. it certainly challenges a lot of my preconceived beliefs about the book of Genesis, and i'm all for expanding my thinking, but to what extent. the authors are relatable and write conversationally and humorously. they encourage the reader to approach Genesis as its original audience would have, "through ancient eyes," which is another way of saying to read it in its cultural context. at times, they present views that make a whole lot of sense, but at ...more
William
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biblical-studies
This is a great little book. 4.5 stars might be more accurate than a full 5. It's not perfect, but I think it's worth more than 4 stars. In fewer than 100 pages Enns skims through the entirety of Genesis, giving a birds-eye view of the story and plot-line. If the book has a serious shortcoming it's that Enns seems to focus so much on taking critical, non-traditional views on virtually everything. On one hand he does give a good introduction to often controversial issues, but in focusing so much ...more
Kevin
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very useful and thought provoking overview of Genesis with an emphasis on seeing the big picture; of understand why and when it was written and using that context and perspective to better understanding the book as a whole. This not only helps guard against viewing the book as a series of stories developed as "history" and all the modern connotations that brings for us today or as a morality primer or devotional guide where each story has a lesson to teach, etc. This is too often what ...more
Don Bryant
May 28, 2012 is currently reading it
I recently read Peter Enns The Evolution of Adam. I was interested in how he would frame a book on Genesis alone. Just started the book, so I do not have much of an impression, except that it feels a bit too slangy at the first. But it might pick up.

Genesis continues to be a flash point in Evangelicalism. Since the 19th century theories on the authorship of Genesis, this book has been front and center in the defense of supernatural Christianity.

I have never been comfortable with seeking too
...more
Teri
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Genesis for Normal People by Peter Enns helps the reader to understand Genesis from the viewpoint of the ancient writer(s) written in ancient times for ancient peoples. As the first book in the Pentateuch of the Old Testament, Genesis introduces us to the people and themes that will carry the overall story of Israel throughout the first five books of the Bible. Enns keeps us in the right frame of mind to think like the ancient people and to understand Genesis as the buildup of a much larger ...more
Amy Price
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Devoured this book while also reading along in Genesis. I LOVED it. So wise, so easy to read, and so on point. I will highly recommend this book to any one not only struggling to read Genesis but the Bible as a whole.
Rob McFarren
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A must read introduction to Genesis. Not to be sidetracked in debates, the purpose of this book looks at what Genesis is and its understanding and purpose alongside the rest of the Torah and understood by the Ancient Israelites. It is very approachable in language and worth reading. Highly recommend in understanding how we should understand Genesis in comparison with the many ways it has been reduced in modern times.
Autumn Kotsiuba
Dec 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was marketed as "for normal people," and it definitely is an introduction to studying Genesis. I didn't enjoy it much because I've already come across most of the ideas here and I think, had I started out here, it would have been such an overview that I wouldn't have known exactly where to start. But, to be fair, the authors admit that that's sort of the point--to inspire a search.
Jeff
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'll give this short book 5 stars because, in my view, it succeeds in what it tries to accomplish. That is, it is a brief yet very helpful introduction to the book of Genesis. The authors have a great sense of humor and obviously enjoy what they are doing. This book provides some much needed perspective on Genesis. Will be loved by some and vilified by many.
Rr Ratzlaff
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very easy read. Description of the current state of Pete Enns thinking about how we read and understand Genesis in a nutshell. If you want more , read his "The Evolution of Adam" Recommended if you know little about the origins debates and little about the Genesis controversial interpretations. Leans toward evolution. I liked it.
Alison
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general
Think a conversion with the authors
and you the reader asking: "So what's up with this old book that has not been written? But you try a few pages and then a couple hundred more And then with you say:" God this is soooi refreshing".
Jeremiah
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really challenged my understanding of Genesis.
Andrew
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Certainly useful for people who only read snippets of Bible and don't get any sense of the big story..... it is what it describes by the author.
Travis
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfict-religion
"Great, basic, short intro to excellent ideas"
Keith
Oct 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Ooooh. Aaaah. Blaaaaaaaaah.
Sarah
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Nov 26, 2019
Brian Daugherty
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David
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Mark
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Sep 30, 2014
Al Durgin
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Dec 27, 2019
Yancy Smith
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Jun 06, 2015
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Peter Enns is Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has taught courses at several other institutions including Harvard University, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary. Enns is a frequent contributor to journals and encyclopedias and is the author of several books, including Inspiration and Incarnation, The ...more

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Well, here we all are, sheltering in place, buying canned beans, and generally trying to figure out how to stay inside and keep our minds busy....
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