Thursday August 24 , 2017
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About the Book

Original Sinners

  • Who has the authority to interpret the Bible?
    The ancient Rabbis say each new generation has the authority, the responsibility, to interpret the Bible in the light of the circumstances in which it lives.
  • Which is the correct interpretation of the Bible?
    The ancient Rabbis say there is no one interpretation, but an infinite number.
  • Then, to whom does the Bible really belong?
    Well, given that the Bible's DNA is imbedded in the foundations of our civilization, shaping not only our culture but the life of each individual, the religious and unreligious alike, the Bible belongs to us all. It is common ground. Beneath the layers of things we will never agree upon, what we share in common is life, the big and small, common, day-to-day realities of being human. The lives of the characters in Genesis reflect that same humanity.

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. What do their stories reveal about motive, strength and weakness of character? What do their lives have in common with my life—with our common life? and, By studying their lives, might we learn about our own? What I found, again, was a humanity all too familiar in its flaws, its tragedy, yet moving, funny, and often outrageous—in other words, a humanity much like my own, and yours.

A note about reading:

You'll find Original Sinners' two hundred thirteen pages to be divided into one hundred nine chapters, each of these preceded by a short précis of the chapter's contents. An idea borrowed from author Robert Musil, the format invites the reader to take one's time. Even readers whose tendency is to devour a book in one or two great gulps have reported slowing down, taking time to think. While this is the approach I had in mind as I wrote, there is no "correct" approach to reading this book, only the one that serves you best.