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What Are We Missing When We Look At The Creation Narratives Of Genesis Only Or Primarily Through The Lens Of Modern Discourse About Science And Religion Theologian Peter Bouteneff Explores How Firstmillennium Christian Understandings Of Creation Can Inform Current Thought In The Church And In The Public Square He Reaches Back Into The Earliest Centuries Of Our Era To Recover The Meanings That Early Jewish And Christian Writers Found In The Stories Of The Six Days Of Creation And Of Adam And Eve In The Garden Of Eden Readers Will Find That Their Forbears In The Faith Saw In The Genesis Narrative Not Simply An Account Of Origins But Also A Rich Teaching About The Righteousness Of God, The Saving Mission Of Christ, And The Destiny Of The Human Creature


5 thoughts on “Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives

  1. DanielM DanielM says:

    In Beginnings, Dr Peter Bouteneff takes on the unenvied task of putting together an analysis of the various patristic understandings of the Biblical creation narrative, or Hexameron for short The subject was briefly raised by Dr Bouteneff in his book sweeter than honey where he explains a quite spirited discussion he had with a monastic friend on this matter, leading him to produce this book on various takes on the narratives The text produces gives a well guided analysis of the allusions made the text by various writers from the 1st to 4th Centuries, ending with the Cappadocian Fathers.The structure of the book makes it easily readable, and the depth in which Bouteneff goes is a clear display of his dedication to solving this highly polemical issue of which is the Orthodox view of creation often relating to the various creationism evolution debates in the wider Christian community Bouteneff does this this in a scholarly and simple manner, beginning with the earliest Christian sources, namely St Paul, the Apostolic Fathers and continuing on with the fathers and writers that followed Bouteneff also takes the opportunity to explore the anthropological impact of the text on the writings of these fathers, allowing for the reader to see how the Patristic approach to Genesis 1 3 influenced the Patristic understanding of man s place in creation.As a reference text for exegetical study, the book does well to explore how the fathers approached the Hexameron, referencing their works in the context in which they were written and not passing any judgement or working with an agenda This provides the reader with a well surveyed analysis of the writers of these Early Christian thinkers on a topic which can be complicated at the least The text is also full of key references and cross references to other thinkers whose work influenced these points, allowing for a growth in understand of any consensus points.The key strength of this work is that it does not presume that the reader has a knowledge of the fathers, allowing anyone to pick up and read up on these points without having to be an authority on the subject It also does what many expensive academic texts do, and for a fraction of the price, giving the reader an overview and well written analysis of a complex subject with clear reference to the text and without the risk of agenda or bias.A weakness of the text comes from the very topic, in that there is little to no real conclusion to be had Bouteneff admits this from the start and does not try to delude the reader into expecting to find out the consensus of the fathers on the issue of the Evolution Creationism debate or solving the matter of the 6 day creation, simply pointing out that there is an acceptance of allegory on the condition that it does not take away from the historicity of God as creator This means that many of the old debates are still left open, though the moderate of readers would appreciate the clarity given by Bouteneff in this synopsis.Overall, Beginnings is a good outline text for someone who wishes to understand the approach of Patristic writers on the creation narrative, and a well written text which allows for any level of reader to approach the subject The book does not offer anything to the ongoing debate on the Orthodox approach to the Hexameron, but aims to give a synopsis of how the fathers read Genesis 1 3 and its impact on their Theology It does this in a way that makes the book both a fulfilling and worthwhile read, and is certainly in my view a must read text on the matter.


  2. Cosmo Cosmo says:

    Very understandable writing style and content of a complex subject


  3. J. S. Halvorsen J. S. Halvorsen says:

    Profound insights into early Christian readings of Genesis, with very important implications for the contemporary discussion of the origins of humanity and all of nature Persons of faith who have grown weary of the stale creation evolution debate will love this book.


  4. Chris Heard Chris Heard says:

    Bouteneff does a very nice job of introducing readers to important figures from the history of early Christianity and their individual treatments of the six day creation narrative in Genesis 1 and the paradise narrative in Genesis 2 3 Reading the book requires some mental investment, but Bouteneff doesn t presume any prior knowledge of the writers whose work he surveys, and he explains the most important technical terms Bouteneff references Greek words occasionally, but you don t need to know Greek to understand and appreciate the book.I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of early Christian approaches to the Bible It s especially timely for readers who want to know whether early Christian leaders took Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 3 literally The short answer is no, or at least not entirely For the longer answer, read this book.


  5. adaptations.se Customer adaptations.se Customer says:

    This is a very comprehensive, tightly written, examination of Early Orthodox Christian Fathers interpretations of the Genesis narrative Makes several cogent points and informative insights into the Early Church s use of Genesis narratives.Will mainly be of interest to academic theologians and seminarians Not for casual lay reader.See detailed review see here .