2014.11.16. Huddleston, Eschatology in Genesis

Jonathan Huddleston, Eschatology in Genesis
Reviewed by James S. Lee

1 comment:

  1. Very nice and very generous review.

    As the author, I only have two small responses. One, a clarification: in chapter three, I was not attempting to contrast the Pentateuch's attitude with the actual ideology of the Judean golah "charter group" (about which I am agnostic or, to put it differently, ignorant). Rather, I was contrasting the Pentateuch's attitude with a scholarly reconstruction purporting to represent the charter group's ideology. The distinction is fine but important.

    Second, I am intrigued by the idea that a different project, taking as its starting-point the wisdom literature, might produce different results. Yet I do wonder why the cyclical worldview of Ecclesiastes should challenge my reading of Genesis in conversation with the prophetic literature. In terms of Hebrew style and straightforward genre/ content, Ecclesiastes seems to share very little with Genesis. My book takes great pains to show that other texts that seem far more interested in Genesis--the prophetic literature and, later, works like Sira, Enoch, or Jubilees--do indeed read its stories as eschatological, not simply cyclical.

    Finally, the fact that most branches of Christianity lie squarely in this mainstream tradition of reading Genesis eschatologically--as do most branches of Judaism--should only make us worry if this were a relatively modern development. It is not. The fact that ancient Christian and Jewish readers of all sorts read Genesis eschatologically should make us more confident, not less, that this was a supremely natural way for ancient readers to understand this text.


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