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  • Might it serve your modern life to understand the characters of Genesis?
  • Is the book of Genesis history or fiction?
  • Did you know that Genesis was written by at least four authors?
  • Did you know that there are two creation stories in Genesis?
  • Is it possible to see your life reflected in the characters of Genesis?
  • What do you have in common with Jacob?
  • How is the youthful Jacob like the young Wall Street hustler?
  • Did Jacob really steal the blessing by fooling his old man (Isaac), or was Isaac way ahead of him?
  • Did you know that what made Jacob a better man was not religion?
  • What do you have in common with Joseph?
  • Have you ever hated someone so much that you wished him, or her, dead?
  • Have you ever been so hated by someone that he, or she, wished you dead?
  • Did you know that what made Joseph a better man was not religion?
  • What do you have in common with Sarah?
  • What really happened at that tree in the Garden of Eden?
  • What do the creation stories really say about the place of women?
  • How important are the roles played by the women in the stories of Genesis?
  • What does Abraham have in common with the “great men” of history?
  • What was “faith” to Abraham?
  • Who was Isaac, really?
  • What does Isaac have in common with the mythical King Arthur?
  • What is the difference between being smart and being wise, and what makes the youthful Jacob its late Bronze Age poster-boy?
  • How is Jacob’s Uncle Laban like the guy with the goose that laid the golden egg?
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Thursday August 24 , 2017
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Original Sinners - A New Interpretation of Genesis

When I began writing Original Sinners, I wanted to create something different, a study of Genesis that would not be doctrinal, that would be light but not lightweight, and relevant to modern life, whether the reader was religious or not. So, rather than following the usual path of focusing on the significance of the stories, I decided to employ the method of scriptural interpretation I learned almost forty years ago when a mentor taught me to focus on the characters in the stories, to look deeper, beneath the overlays of doctrine and history, and find their humanity...

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Book Reviews

Genesis, the soap opera
John Coats reclaims the first book of the Bible for the nonreligious


The Boston Globe

The book of Genesis forms a cultural cornerstone for a large mass of humanity. Even people who have never opened a Bible know its stories - Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, Noah’s ark, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is Genesis that introduces Abraham, the patriarch of Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. It contains the creation story that fundamentalists use to deny evolution; it also tells the story of Joseph, which became an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

For all of its familiarity, and its sacred aura, Genesis is a quirky work of literature, less a well-organized narrative than an outline for an epic that leaves out heaps of important details. Along to fill them in for the 21st century comes John Coats. In his book “Original Sinners,” he unpacks the first book of the Bible, story by story, mining it for very modern psychological insights. We see Noah’s family, post-Flood, slipping into a kind of madness straight out of “Apocalypse Now”; we see Joseph’s bedazzling coat hiding the fact that he was a snot-nosed brat we’d all love to hate. God pops up here and there, an omnipotent Jehovah-in-the-box who twists the plot in some impossible direction while the characters try to wrestle him back down.




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Original Sinners - John R. Coats

Original Sinners may be purchased from any one of the following:
* Also Available in Audio Books