Genesis

by R. R. Reno

978-1-58743-091-6

304pp.  $32.99c

Publication Date: January 2010



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R. R. Reno (PhD, Yale University) is professor of theological ethics at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the coauthor of Heroism and the Christian Life and serves as the features editor for First Things.

Endorsements

“Rusty Reno has done what Augustine could not—write a theologically satisfying single-volume commentary on the whole of Genesis. Of course, Augustine didn’t have the benefit of reading Genesis through Rashi, Aquinas, Barth, Ochs, and even modern historical critics. This is the right way to read scripture—as a multigenerational exegetical workshop among Christians, Jews, and interested others, not looking for more or less reliable historical information or literary pre-history but for the sort of wisdom that instills love and finally holiness.”—Jason Byassee, executive director of leadership education, Duke Divinity School

“For Reno, the overriding concern of Genesis corresponds to the goal of exegesis: God gives us his promise so that we may move forward ever more deeply into the beginning, into the mystery of Christ. The result is a passionately written commentary that dissolves the divide between exegesis and theology as well as the gap between exposition and application. Those wondering how we might possibly follow in the footsteps of our premodern interpreters of scripture can do no better than to read Reno’s commentary.”—Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College

“Rusty Reno’s Genesis invites readers into a rich conversation that includes the rest of the Bible, the early church fathers, and Rashi, all for the sake of showing how Genesis beckons us forward to Christ and so continues to speak to the church today. Lively and provocative, this is a commentary that never ducks difficult interpretative questions. Those who read this stimulating commentary will be drawn back to the text of Genesis to ask whether they have read it as attentively as they should have.”—Nathan MacDonald, reader in Old Testament, University of St. Andrews, Scotland; leader of the Sofja-Kovaleskaja Research Group, University of Göttingen, Germany

Reviews

“This volume in this series is significant not least because it is written by the series editor, Rusty Reno. . . . His choice of historical interlocutors for his own volume is careful and rewarding, including Origen, Augustine, and Rashi. . . . A stimulating way of reading Scripture that is serious, demanding, and yet not without humour and humanity.”—Mark W. Elliott, Expository Times

“Reno’s approach is creative. . . . While Genesis recounts the origin of all that is, it really reveals the origin of all that will be. This anticipatory bent Reno pursues in his comments and lends the commentary its theological power. . . . Reno finds his most fruitful conversation partners in premodern authors. Rashi, Origen, Rabbinic Targums, and especially Augustine loom large. . . . This work explores the narrative revelation of God in a particular, worldly history, an embodied history. Reno’s work places the end goal of this history in the New Testament narrative of Jesus Christ. It is a wholly Christian canonical project, familiar with the Church’s long and ongoing conversation with these texts. Utilizing various methodologies, it provides an example of a reading strategy conducted within the Nicene tradition.”—Lissa M. Wray Beal, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

“Reno has written a model theological commentary. . . . He interacts with a diverse range of sources including modern commentators . . . ancient Jewish commentators . . . and ancient Christian commentators. . . . However, he also incorporates other notable theological works . . . and literary works . . . as the subject matter permits. In his exposition, he not only interacts with expected themes . . . but also with themes that are not typically given as much attention. . . . The author’s overriding commitment [is] to place the grand and unified story of God’s covenant faithfulness on display.”—Brian Asbill, Theological Book Review

“Reno’s commentary on Genesis stands out by providing a purely theological approach to the Scriptures. . . . Reno’s imagery and diversity of sources is a gold mine for the reader. . . . Reno has the style of swinging the reader from earthly levels to citations and concepts from Augustine’s City of God, and from the Targums into a play by Lord Byron that explores the personality of Cain. He also constantly swings from the message of Genesis into the message of the NT, tying concepts and themes together that will be helpful for preachers, teachers, and students as they seek to expound the Word of God and make its message relevant to the modern audience. This is a great commentary for those who seek to be exposed to a wide diversity of theological views that have been put forth regarding the book of Genesis.”—Rick Painter, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

“Reno does a masterful job of interacting with the writings of the church fathers, Jewish targums, rabbinic Midrash, and Reformation interpreters. . . . The insights produced by this theological exchange are profound. . . . The triumvirate of canon, reason, and tradition serves as Reno’s primary guide in his work on Genesis. The result is an impressive example of modern figurative exegesis that participates in the communal and dialogic style of biblical interpretation of a past era. . . . This commentary provides an important voice in representing explicitly theological readings in the ongoing conversation about biblical interpretation. Furthermore, it is an invaluable resource for preachers, scholars, and students of Scripture alike, supplying the rich theological reflection of past voices that is missing in so much of modern biblical scholarship. For these reasons, it has earned both my deep appreciation and my enthusiastic recommendation.”—Amanda W. Benckhuysen, Calvin Theological Journal