BAR 37:05, Sep/Oct 2011
ReViews: Opening the Door Widely
Reading Genesis: Ten Methods
Edited by Ronald Hendel
(New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010), 244 pp., $85 (hardcover), $27.99 (paperback)
The Nietzsche epigram to this 230-page collection of essays on Genesis speaks about the necessity of reading “slowly, deeply, looking cautiously before and aft, with reservations, with doors left open, with delicate eyes and fingers.” If after reading these essays you are not convinced of the merits of carefully, thoughtfully and openly reading Biblical texts, then you will know that there is little reason to turn to this sparkling array of stories in Bereshit (Genesis) that have occupied these writers and others with “unpredictable yield.”
Hendel succinctly introduces the volume by giving it context. He defines the use of method since it is used in the subtitle of the volume. Method is a “way of proceeding.” Taken in this broad perspective, method is an opening. The term is often heard and used to constrain or to control. These essays clearly open the door widely to Genesis.