Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives
Recently renewed debates concerning creation and evolution make contemporary Christians wonder how their forebears in the faith understood the Genesis creation narratives. Were the stories of the six days and of the garden read historically, or did they have some other function? This volume from Peter Bouteneff brings needed attention to early Christian understandings of those key biblical texts. After introductory chapters on the narratives and their reception in early Judaism and in the New Testament (especially in Paul's letters), Bouteneff focuses on the church fathers. He considers how the narratives of Genesis 1-3 were read as foundational, authoritative texts during the formative centuries when the Greek fathers were laying the framework of Christian theology. Chapters are devoted to writers of the second century (the apologists, from Justin to Irenaeus), the third century (mainly Origen but also the Latin writer Tertullian), and the fourth century (Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and especially the three Cappadocian fathers). Bouteneff finds that from Paul onward, the primary interest in Adam was as a prefiguration of Christ. The six days of creation bespeak God's ordered creation of the world through Christ, and early Christian readings of Genesis reflect Christ-centered understandings of providence and time.
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Adam and Eve Adam’s allegorical authors Autol Basil Basil of Caesarea beginning Biblical Exegesis century christological church cites commentary concept context Corinthians created creation narratives creature death divine image early Christian earth evil exegetical fathers flesh garden genealogy Genesis 1–3 Genesis 2:7 gospel Gregory of Nazianzus Gregory of Nyssa Gregory’s heaven Hebrew Hexaemeron historical Holy Spirit homilies human person idea immortal incarnate interpretation Irenaeus Irenaeus of Lyons Irenaeus’s Jesus Christ Jewish Jews Judaism Justin literal Logos Lord male meaning Melito mortal Moses myth nature NRSV Opif Oration Origen paradise narrative passage patristic Paul Paul’s Pauline Philo Philocalia prophets question reading recapitulation reference resurrection Romans rule of faith salvation says Scripture sense Septuagint serpent sitev soul speaking story teaching Tertullian texts theological Theophilus things tion transgression translation treatise tree typology understanding waters woman words writers ʾadam ἄνθρωπος καὶ