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Holy Bible: The Harpercollins Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version: Including The Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books With Concordance

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  • Edition: Revised
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-07-09
  • Publisher: INGRAM

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The landmark general reference Bible that offers the full text of the New Revised Standard Version, now completely revised and updated by leading biblical scholars, including, new introductions and notes, diagrams, charts and maps--25% revised or new material. After 10 years of new archeological discoveries and changes in biblical studies, it was time for an overhaul of this classic reference work. With the guidance of The Society of Biblical Literature, an organization of the best biblical scholars worldwide, we have selected Dean of Yale Divinity School, Harold Attridge, to oversee the Study Bible's updating and revision. The fundamental strengths of the first HCSB remain . . . up-to-date introductions to the Biblical books, based on the latest critical scholarship, by leading experts in the field concise notes, clearly explaining names, dates, places, obscure terms, and other difficulties in reading the Biblical text careful analysis of the structure of Biblical books abundant maps, tables, and charts to enable the reader to understand the context of the Bible, and to see the relationship among its parts. But, in this new revised edition . . . Every introduction, essay, map, illustration and explanatory note has been reviewed and updated, and new material added. For instance, There are newly commissioned introductory essays on the archaeology of ancient Israel and the New Testament world, the religion of ancient Israel, the social and historical context of each book of the Bible, and on Biblical interpretation. There are completely new introductions and notes for many of the books in the Bible, plus a full revision and updating of all others. Of special interest are: The literary history of the Pentateuch (those books between the Old and New Testament that Catholics include in their Bible) More references to ancient non-Biblical sources which seem to parallel books in the Bible like the Gnostic gospels uncovered in Egypt or the famous scrolls found near the Dead Sea in Israel. And, more comprehensive attention to the interrelationship of Old and New Testaments.

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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The HarperCollins Study Bible
Fully Revised & Updated

Chapter One


The book of Genesis derives its name from the Greek translation of 2.4 and 5.1, "This is the book of the origin of (biblos geneseos)?' In Jewish tradition the book is called Bereshit, after the first word of the book, which means "in the beginning of." Both names accurately convey the content of the book—it tells of the origins of the cosmos, humankind, and the ancestors of Israel. The origins of the cosmos and humans are recounted in the primeval narratives (chs. 1-11) and the origins of Israel's ancestors in the patriarchal narratives (chs. 12-50). In the ancient world as in the modern, the era of origins has a special authority—its formative events set the rules and conditions for all subsequent developments. As a book of origins, Genesis partakes of the sacredness and authority of this era and has served as a foundation for thought, belief, and action for millennia.

The Genesis of Genesis

According to Jewish and Christian tradition, the book of Genesis was dictated by God to Moses, but this belief is not found in the Hebrew Bible. (It seems to be first attested in the book of Jubilees and in the Dead Sea Scrolls from about the second century BCE.) Commentators have long noted that several points in Genesis indicate the narrator lived well after Moses, at a time when the Canaanites had disappeared from the promised land (12.6) and when kings ruled over Israel (36.31; 49.10). Modern archaeological and historical discoveries confirm this general picture: the constellation of peoples, places, and religious practices and the language of Genesis indicate that the book was primarily composed and compiled during the centuries of monarchical rule and immediately thereafter, roughly from the tenth through the sixth centuries BCE.

Biblical scholarship has identified three major literary sources that were edited together to form the book of Genesis called the Yahwist (J), Elohist (E), and Priestly (P) sources. The first two (often called "old epic" sources) reflect the predominance in certain narratives of forms of the divine name, Yahweh (Jahweh in German, hence J) and Elohim. The P source reflects concerns of the Priestly writers most evident in the book of Leviticus. There are also a few texts that belong to none of these sources (including chs. 14, 15, 24, and 49). The literary sources drew on traditional oral lore as well as written records and were engaged in preserving and revising Israel's traditions of the past. This is the standard model of the composition of Genesis, and although various scholars have proposed modifications, it remains the most coherent explanation of the evidence.

The editor (or editors) who wove the literary sources together created a text with an abundance of meaning, combining the different theologies, philosophical perspectives, and literary styles of the sources into a work of great power and complexity. The editors were not embarrassed by the duplications of particular episodes (e.g., the different creation accounts in 1.1-2.3 and 2.4-25, the two flood stories in chs. 6-9, the three wife-sister stories in 12.10-20; 20; and 26.1-11, and the multiple accounts of Jacob's change of name to Israel and the founding of Bethel in 28.10-22; 32.22-32; and 35.9-15), but, rather, valued the preservation of different traditions. One result of this complexity is that Genesis is a layered "mosaic" of meanings that is richer than any of the sources alone. Yet its lucid and tersely evocative narrative style generally allows readers to pass untroubled over its internal compositional seams.

Science, History, and Genesis

Genesis is not a scientific or historical textbook in the modern sense. Rather, it is a narration of ancient Israel's traditions and concepts of the past—a mixture of myths and legends, cultural memories, revisions of tradition, and literary brilliance. It is a complex portrait of the past that encodes the values of biblical religion and creates a rich array of perspectives on the world.

There are authentic historical memories in the book, but most of the historical details reflect the period when Israel was an established nation. The older memories include the rise of urban civilization in the land of Sumer (10.8-12; 11.1-9), the region of Haran as an ancient tribal homeland (12.4; 24; 27.43), Semitic rulers and officials in Egypt (ch. 41), and the worship of the high god named El in pre-Israelite times (17.1). These and other old memories are mingled with more recent memories, such as relations with Israel's neighbors, including Aram, Philistia, Edom, Ammon, and Moab, which arose at roughly the same time as Israel. The portrayal of the natural world in Genesis also belongs to the worldview of its time—a geocentric universe with light and the earth created before the sun, and with the stars, sun, and moon attached to the surface of the dome of heaven (ch. 1); the first woman fashioned from the first man's rib (2.21-22); the rainbow as God's huge weapon set in the clouds (9.13); and the desolate landscape of the Dead Sea (including the pillar that was once Lot's wife) as the result of ancient transgressions (ch. 19). These and other details reflect ancient lore about life, the earth, and the universe.

It is somewhat unfair to note the scientific inadequacies of Genesis, since it was not written to be a work of modern science. We need to learn to read Genesis as a book that speaks strongly to modern readers, but we need to read it on its terms, recognize its ancient voice, and not superimpose on it our own. It is a book of memories—of marvels and miracles, imperfect saints and holy sinners, a beneficent and often inscrutable God, and promises that bind the past to the present and the future. It tells us where we came from, not in the sense that the book is historically accurate, but in the sense that the book itself is our historical root. [Ronald Hendel]

The HarperCollins Study Bible
Fully Revised & Updated
. Copyright © by Harold Attridge. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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