Description: Should Genesis rightly be identified as law--that is, as torah or legal instruction for Israel? Peterson argues in the affirmative, concluding that Genesis serves a greater function than merely offering a prehistory or backstory for the people of Israel. As the introductory book to the Torah, Genesis must first and foremost be read as legal instruction for Israel. And how exactly is that instruction presented? Peterson posits that many of the Genesis accounts serve as case law. The Genesis narratives depict what a number of key laws in the pentateuchal law codes look like in practice. When Genesis is read through this lens, the rhetorical strategy of the biblical author(s) becomes clear and the purpose for including specific narratives takes on new meaning.
Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Narrative Criticism
Review by Calum Carmichael
Citation: Calum Carmichael, review of Brian Neil Peterson, Genesis as Torah: Reading Narrative as Legal Instruction, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).
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