Mark Brett argues that Genesis, in the form we have received it, was formed during the period of the Persian occupancy. The argument put forth is that the authors/editors deliberately structured the narrative with an 'intentional hybridity'. That is to say that the authors structured the narratives of Genesis in order to critique the dominant cultural ideologies of that day (found primarily in Ezra and Nehemiah) by placing the dominant ideologies in ambiguous circumstances. For example, the holy seed tradition (from Ezra 9:1-2) is questioned by displaying that Esau recieved Abram's covenant blessing of many nations not just in addition to Jacob, but before him (Gen 36:31) and this with foreign wives.
Despite his opening remarks on the benefits of a 'methodological pluralism' (which I found a little tedious), Brett's commentary is mostly focussed, rightly in my estimation, on narrative concerns (although he is not constrained by narrative criticism only). As he admits, the commentary is not meant to be a line by line expose on Genesis, although he does demonstrate through each section of the book (starting at Genesis 1 and ending at Genesis 50), that the themes of holy seed, firstborn privelege and legal holiness are questioned by the structure of the narratives. Whilst I began with some concerns regarding this interpretive scheme, Brett's arguments are clear and compelling. Having now finished the book I can say that I am convinced.
Brett's writes very well and the book was immensely readable. Despite the brevity of the book I found that it covered all the major questions I had as a reader: Cain's unreasonable rejection, Abram's unreasonable blessing, Joseph's questionable policies etc. Brett eschews referring to JEDP issues explicitly, although those with such an interest will not find this commentary barren. Additionally he uses transliterated Hebrew only when necessary, which in my opinion, is the right way to do things. All in all I found this commentary a higly enjoyable read and would highly recommend it.
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; New edition (20 July 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415141508
- ISBN-13: 978-0415141505
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.1 x 27.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 259 g
- Customer Reviews: 2 customer ratings