Adam and Eve’s journey

An original look at original sin

In a new book on Genesis, Gary A. Anderson focuses not on the textual origin of the story—the customary focus of historical-critical study—but on how the story has been received and retold, imaginatively and liturgically, in Jewish and Christian traditions. Anderson said his goal in The Genesis of Perfection: Adam and Eve in Jewish and Christian Imagination (Westminister John Knox) is to “lay out what early Jewish and Christian interpreters were doing when they read these stories.” He sets out to give these interpreters a patient and sympathetic hearing even when their ideas seem outdated or strange.

So unusual is his approach that Richard Clifford, a Jesuit and biblical professor at the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, wonders if Anderson is proposing a new template for future biblical scholarship—one that takes seriously the theological contexts and ends that commentators have woven around biblical texts.


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