Op het boek Genesis raken velen niet uitgekeken

The Economist heeft een bespreking (ik kon niet zien van wie) over dit boek dat net uit is: Ronald Hendel, The Book of Genesis: A Biography. Princeton University Press; okt. 2012, 293 pages.

De uitgever had al aangekondigd dat ook Spinoza’s bijdrage tot de Bijbelstudie erkend en behandeld werd:
“During its 2,500-year life, the book of Genesis has been the keystone to almost every important claim about reality, humanity, and God in Judaism and Christianity. And it continues to play a central role in debates about science, politics, and human rights. With clarity and skill, acclaimed biblical scholar Ronald Hendel provides a panoramic history of this iconic book, exploring its impact on Western religion, philosophy, science, politics, literature, and more. Hendel traces how Genesis has shaped views of reality, and how changing views of reality have shaped interpretations of Genesis. Literal and figurative readings have long competed with each other. Hendel tells how Luther's criticisms of traditional figurative accounts of Genesis undermined the Catholic Church; how Galileo made the radical argument that the cosmology of Genesis wasn't scientific evidence; and how Spinoza made the equally radical argument that the scientific method should be applied to Genesis itself. Indeed, Hendel shows how many high points of Western thought and art have taken the form of encounters with Genesis--from Paul and Augustine to Darwin, Emily Dickinson, and Kafka. From debates about slavery, gender, and sexuality to the struggles over creationism and evolution, Genesis has shaped our world and continues to do so today. This wide-ranging account tells the remarkable story of the life of Genesis like no other book.”

De reviewer bevestigt dat Spinoza’s aanpak ruime aandacht krijgt:
"[...] Professor Hendel rightly gives plenty of space to the views of Baruch Spinoza, a 17th-century Dutch-Jewish heretical philosopher. Spinoza’s “Tractatus Theologico- Politicus” is, in effect, the founding text of modern biblical scholarship, though it took two centuries before most scholars caught up with him. Spinoza made the shocking claim that the best way to find out what the Bible means is to drop the idea that everything it says must somehow be true. Investigate the Bible as if it were any other historical document, written by fallible people affected by the outlook of their time and place, and you are more likely to get to the bottom of it. Once you are prepared to accept, for example, that the two creation narratives were written by different people, it is easier to explain why they say different things. Some readers may, however, wish that Professor Hendel had spent more time describing the fruits of such historical research, and less on theorising about it.

One legacy of Spinoza’s rationalism was a broader appreciation of what the Bible has to offer, at least by some. Emily Dickinson, a 19th-century American poet, came to see it as an “infinitely wise” and “merry” work of art. Professor Hendel discusses how she, Franz Kafka and other modern writers have mined “Genesis” as a source of literary inspiration. Once the Bible came to be regarded as a human artefact, religious stories could be seen as literature—especially by those for whom literature is a religion." [Hier]