The Beginning of Wisdom
Reading Genesis

  • Title:

    The Beginning of Wisdom
  • Hardcover ISBN:

    0743242998
  • Hardcover Dimensions:

    9.4'' x 6.26''
  • 576 Hardcover pages

Unlike the many devout readers who approach the Bible to find salvation, unlike even the secular scholars who take up the Bible to advance linguistic and historical understanding, Leon R. Kass comes to Genesis in pursuit of philosophical wisdom. And he finds it.

As a distinguished researcher in molecular biology and bioethics, Kass well understands how modern science has rendered untenable many traditional readings of the holy book. But he also recognizes how scientific expertise has created dilemmas demanding anew the kind of moral insights that generations have gleaned from Scripture. And though he demurs as to its divine inspiration, Kass finds in Genesis a richly rewarding narrative challenging readers to explore the promise and peril of human life.

Unfolding a unified series of pedagogical investigations (developed over two decades of teaching the text at the University of Chicago), Kass guides readers in profound reflections on natural and human origins: How did Eden's forbidden fruit deliver Adam and Eve to death yet simultaneously endow them with spiritual freedom? How did the failure of the Tower of Babel expose the limits of civilization--including our own?

Kass must ask different questions once Abraham appears (in Genesis 12), for his covenantal relationship with deity transcends philosophic reasoning. Yet in limning the rise of the Israelite nation, Kass probes the meaning--and contemporary significance--of a communal commitment to reverence and justice.

Readers unattached to church or synagogue may be surprised at how much the Bible still has to teach them.

Leon R. Kass is the Hertog Fellow at AEI.

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Leon R.
Kass

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