Sunday, December 13, 2015

Genesis 1 Through the Ages

Recommended reading: 
Genesis 1 Through the Ages, by Stanley L. Jaki

Genesis 1 Through the Ages is a unique and valuable work that surveys 2,000 years of exegesis of the first chapter of Genesis. The work is based on the text of Fr. Jaki’s lectures delivered at the Catholic Study Center in New York City during 1992. Below is a succinct description of Genesis 1 from the back cover:

“Around 1900 or so, two leading Catholic exegetes, Lagrange and Hummelauer, admitted that none of the countless interpretations of Genesis 1 that had been offered during the previous eighteen hundred years could carry conviction. The source of that debacle was concordism, or the belief that Genesis 1 was cosmogenesis in a scientific sense, however indirectly. 

“This dispiriting state of affairs is re-examined in this book on a scale hitherto unparalleled. Rabbis, Church Fathers, Scholastics, Reformers and Counter-Reformers are passed in review. Scientists are taken to task for wading into exegetical waters. The author submits to unsparing criticism various 20th-century exegetical efforts, Catholic and Protestant, aimed at finding a clue to Genesis 1 by taking it for a legend. 

“The concluding chapter also contains an interpretation of Genesis 1 which is literal without being literalist and eliminates thereby the specter of concordism.”

See this book at Real View Books (scroll down RVB page)

Also, The Creator's Sabbath Rest: A Clue to Genesis 1 is a 32-page booklet by Fr. Jaki that deals briefly with the same argument:

"Genesis l, or the first chapter of the first book in the Bible, has now for two millennia been a chief sticking point between science and religion. That chapter will indeed remain a source of endless embarrassment for the believer as long as it is taken for a sort of scientific cosmology, inviting thereby the baneful specter of concordism. It is shown in this booklet that Genesis 1 was not meant to be such a cosmology, but a parable with a most important moral: In Genesis 1 the Creator himself is set up as a role model for observing the sabbath after his greatest work, which is the creation of all. Once seen in this light, details, which in Genesis 1 relate to the particulars of the Hebrew world picture, will not call for a comparison with the ever vaster scientific knowledge about the unfolding of the universe." ─Real View Books

See this booklet at Real View Books