An impressively researched review of Christian biblical thought.

THE GENESIS LABYRINTH

INVESTIGATING ALTERNATIVES IN THE FIRST ELEVEN CHAPTERS OF GENESIS

A broad overview of Christian interpretations of the initial chapters of the book of Genesis.

Diaz (The White Tortilla, 2006) offers readers a work four decades in the making. The author writes that he’s long grappled with the profound mysteries in Genesis’ first 11 chapters, which include the stories of Creation and Noah’s Ark, 900-year-old men, the Tower of Babel, and obscure genealogies. These are among the most debated and, indeed, labyrinthine passages of the entire Bible—hence, Diaz’s apt title. He aims to provide readings with “a broad spectrum of views…ranging from liberal to fundamental.” Chapter by chapter, he presents myriad interpretations, but he also avoids offering his own opinions on them in order to allow readers to come to their own conclusions: “There is room for variant understandings of Genesis” is a refrain that echoes throughout. For example, his chapters on the Creation story include a literal interpretation that God created the world in six days as well as modern glosses that incorporate the Big Bang theory and evolution into their understandings. Similarly, he gives equal footing to those who believe that Noah’s flood was a universal, worldwide event and others who believe that it was a local flood. Most of the book is an impartial survey of contemporary Christian literature on Genesis, but it also includes four appendices in which Diaz offers personal musings on apologetics, metaphysics, philosophy, science, and the concept of truth. All in all, this is an exceptional overview of contemporary, scholarly interpretations of Genesis, and it features an impressive bibliography. However, nonscholarly, ancient interpretations—particularly from Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Jewish thinkers—are mostly ignored aside from occasional references to St. Thomas Aquinas. Also, although Diaz is fair in his synopses of conflicting Christian interpretations, he tends to turn the arguments of biblical skeptics and atheists into straw men, hastily dismissing them as “absurd notions” and “anti-intellectual absurdities.”

An impressively researched review of Christian biblical thought.

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64300-874-5

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Covenant Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2019

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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