Lion of Judah Cult Mask from Hazor

Schedule of Lectures and Required Readings


Monday 8 January
Class Activity: Introduction to the course

Wednesday 10 January 
Class Activity: Introduction to the book of Genesis [Download PDF]


Monday 15 January
Class Activity: Structure, Genre, and Interpretation of Genesis 1:1–2:3 [Download PDF]

Wednesday 17 January
Class Activity: Structure, Genre, and Interpretation of Genesis 1:1–2:3, cont. [Download PDF]

Pre-Class Assignment: Read Henri Blocher, In the Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis (trans. D. G. Preston; Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1984), 15-59 [Download PDF]. What are some of the different ways that people have understood the opening chapters of Genesis? What are some of the literary structures and interpretive issues that Blocher highlights?

Monday 22 January
Class Activity: Genesis and ANE Creation Accounts [Download PDF]

Pre-Class Assignment: Read Genesis 1-11; “Atrahasis” in Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia (New York: Oxford, 1989), 1-38 [Download PDF]; and “Creation in the Ancient Near East,” in Ronald Simkins, Creator & Creation: Nature in the Worldview of Ancient Israel (Hendrickson, 1994), 41-81 [Download PDF]. What are the parallels between the Atrahasis epic and Genesis 1-11? How do the two accounts differ?  What are the general implications of the presence of parallels? How does knowledge of this ancient account help us understand the book of Genesis?

Wednesday 24 January
Class Activity: Humanity in the Image of God [Download PDF]

Pre-Class Assignment: Read Steven Bouma-Prediger, “Is Christianity Responsible for the Ecological Crisis?” Christian Scholar’s Review 25 (1995): 146-156 [Download PDF] . What are some of the implications of humanity being created in the “image of God”?  What has Christianity's response been to the ecological crisis? What should our response be to the ecological crisis?

Monday 29 January
Class Activity: Theology of Creation and Science [Download PDF]

Pre-Class Assignment: Read Clark Pinnock,  “Climbing Out of the Swamp: The Evangelical Struggle to Understand the Creation Texts,”  Interpretation 43 (1988): 143-55 [Download PDF]; and Blocher, In the Beginning, 213-231 [Download PDF]. Discuss the different ways that Christians have understood the relationship between creation and science. How do you respond to Pinnock’s challenge to “get out of the swamp”?

Tuesday 30 January
Special Required Evening Lecture: “Beyond the Evolution Versus Creation Debate” by Dr. Denis Lamoureux at 7:30-9:10 pm in Stencel Hall. (If you are unable to attend the lecture in person, you may listen to a version of the lecture here)

Wednesday 31 January
Class Activity: Follow-up discussion on Creation and Science [Download PDF]

Pre-Class Assignment: Read Davis Young, “Christianity and the Age of the Earth,” in Roland Mushat Frye, ed., Is God a Creationist? The Religious Case Against Creation-Science (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1983), 83-94 [Download PDF]. What do you think of Young’s three approaches for dealing with the evidence of the antiquity of humanity? Which do you favour, and why?

Monday 5 February
Class Activity: Male, Female, and Human Sexuality (Genesis 2:4-25) [Download PDF]

Wednesday 7 February
Class Activity: A Love Story Gone Awry: The Fall (Genesis 3) [Download PDF]

Pre-Class Assignment: Read Danna Nolan Fewell, “Reading the Bible Ideologically: Feminist Criticism” in To Each their Own Meaning, 268-282 [Download PDF]. How did the feminist readings of the first chapters of Genesis differ from what you are familiar? What are there strengths and weaknesses?



Monday 12 February
Class Activity: Spread of Sin, Spread of Grace (Genesis 4—11) [Download PDF]

Wednesday 14 February
Class Activity: Spread of Sin, Spread of Grace (Genesis 4—11), cont.


Reading Week – February 19-23 - No Classes


Monday 26 February
Class Activity: Sources and Unity of the Flood Account [Download PDF]

Pre-Class Assignment: Read “Source Criticism” To Each their Own Meaning [Download PDF]; and Campbell & O’Brien, “Interpretation of the Flood Story,” Sources of the Pentateuch (Fortress, 1993), 211-223 [Download PDF]. What are some of the inconsistencies and differences of emphasis between the different sources within the flood account that Campbell and O’Brien mark out? (= Campbell’s evidence of duality) What are some of the signs of unity? How does recognizing that there may be different sources or traditions behind the biblical story of the flood help or hinder its interpretation?  Define “source criticism” and illustrate its strengths and weaknesses using the account of the flood.

Wednesday 28 February
Class Activity: The Call of Abraham (Genesis 12)


Monday 5 March
Class Activity: Call & Crisis: The Abraham Cycle (Genesis 12—24) [Download PDF]

Pre-Class Assignment: Read “The Trials of Abraham” in James Kugel, The Bible as it Was (Cambridge, MS; Harvard, 1997), 165-178 [Download PDF]. What do you think of the idea that Abraham’s entire life was a test? Why do you think God needed to test Abraham? What do you think of the explanations provided by ancient interpreters?

Wednesday 7 March
Class Activity: Text & Intertext: Sodom & Gomorrah


Monday 12 March
Class Activity: The Climax of Crisis: The Akedah (the Binding of Isaac)

Pre-Class Assignment: Read Genesis 22 carefully and then read Omri Boehm, “Child sacrifice, ethical responsibility and the existence of the people of Israel,” Vetus Testamentum 54 (2004): 145-156 [Download PDF]; and Andrew Yang, “Abraham and Isaac, child abuse and Martin Luther,” Lutheran Quarterly 19 (2005): 153-166 [Download PDF]. What are your initial reactions when reading the account of the near sacrifice of Isaac? What do you think the significance of the story is? What do you think of the connection between child abuse and this story?

Wednesday 14 March
Class Activity: The Isaac (Jacob) Cycle (Genesis 25—35) [Download PDF]


Monday 19 March
Class Activity: Jacob Cycle, cont.

Wednesday 21 March
Class Activity: The Religion of the Patriarchs[Download PDF]

Pre-Class Assignment: Read R. Moberly, “The Religion of the Patriarchs” in The Old Testament of the Old Testament (Fortress, 1992), 79-104 [Download PDF]; and Ralph Smith, “One and Only God,” in Old Testament Theology (Broadman, 1993), 226-233 [Download PDF]. Define henotheism and monolatry and give evidence from the book of Genesis that supports the notion that the patriarchs and matriarchs were not monotheists. What do you think of Moberly’s idea of Genesis being the “Old Testament of the Old Testament”? Does this help you fit the them into the larger biblical canon?

Monday 26 March
Class Activity: Jacob Cycle, cont.

Wednesday 28 March
Class Activity: The Joseph Cycle (Genesis 36-50) [Download PDF]


Monday 2 April
Class Activity: Joseph Cycle, cont.

Wednesday 4 April
Class Activity: The Historicity of the Patriarchs [Download PDF]

Pre-Class Assignment: John Goldingay, “The Patriarchs in Scripture and History,” Essays on the Patriarchal Narratives (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1980), 1-34 [Download PDF]. What are some of the problems with the historicity of the patriarchs and matriarchs? Does it matter if they are not historical at all?

Monday 13 April
No Class - Easter Monday

Wednesday 11 April
Class Activity: Significance of Genesis Today

Pre-Class Assignment: S. Greidanus, “The Relevance of the Sermon,” in The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text (Eerdmans, 1988), 157-181 [Download PDF]. According to Greidanus, what should our focus be on when interpreting/preaching the biblical text? Do you agree or disagree?


Tyler F. Williams
Chair, Religion & Theology Department; Assistant Professor of Old Testament
Taylor University College; 11525 - 23 Avenue, Edmonton, AB Canada T6J 4T3
Phone: (780) 431-5217 | Fax: (780) 436-9416

Comments concerning these Web pages may be sent to tyler [dot] williams [at]
© 2004-2008 Tyler F. Williams. All Rights Reserved.