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Genesis

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The Hebrew word Bereshith, which means "in the beginning," opens the Book of Genesis.

Genesis (Greek: Γένεσις, Genesis; "birth, origin") or Bereshith (Hebrew: בראשית, Bʼreishīth; "in the beginning") is the first book of the Bible. More specifically, it is the first book of the Torah (five books of Moses), and hence the first book of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) or Christian Old Testament. Most Christians believe the book of Genesis was written by Moses.[1]

Contents

Characteristics

The Book of Genesis tells the stories of the creation; Adam and Eve; the Fall of Man; Cain and Abel; Noah and the flood; God's covenant with Abraham; Abraham and Isaac; Jacob and Esau; Joseph and his brothers. Genesis also provides genealogies for the line from Adam to Noah giving the year each had the next child in the line and the year they died. For example:

"When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. And after he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died." - Genesis 5:12-14

Genesis also provides a remarkable degree of geographic detail. For example:

"Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria And the fourth river is the Euphrates." - Genesis 2:10-14

Some other ancient historical and mythological accounts do indeed provide rudimentary genealogies and basic geography. However, none do it in such striking detail, with such objective style. The description of Eden reads like a dry geography text, not a mass-market novel.

The earliest known form of Genesis is written. There is no evidence that it arose from oral traditions. Some academics assume that there was one, but they do this without evidence to support their claim. Genesis has been held out as being based on documents written by Moses himself. Other apocryphal accounts like the Book of Jubilees which are totally factually consistent with Genesis (and stop before Moses's death, unlike Genesis) explicitly claim to have been written by Moses. This contrasts sharply with Greek mythology, which was collected from oral traditions by Greek historians like Herodotus seeking to record their country's beliefs, as well as poets and dramatists whose manifest purpose was to entertain and inspire, rather than to provide historical annals.

Genesis provides specific dates and time frames for the major events, particularly those related to the flood. For example:

"Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up. 14In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry." - Genesis 8:13-14

On the other hand, the author is unaware of a single mythological account from another ancient culture which records its events in such a detailed time frame.

Outline

Main Article: Book of Genesis

The Book of Genesis

See Also

References

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