Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Gerhard von Rad, Genesis (1961; rev. ed. 1972)

I'm two-thirds through this respected theological commentary on the first book of Moses, and enjoying it very much (I'm reading it not for theological reasons, mind; but rather in order to get my head around the Eden-to-Babel story under a general 'Fantasy' rubric, with a longer term view to pulling together a critical monograph on Fantasy as a mode). But the main reason I post it here is because, eminent though he was in his day, and immature of me though it is to note it, I can't get over how much I love the 1960s/Austin Powersy vibe of the author's name. Gerhard von Rad! Right on!

10 comments:

Robert Hagedorn said...

The original sin was anal intercourse. For the exegesis, google the first scandal Adam and Eve. Then click, read, and comment. Please. Thank you.

Sean B said...

Well, the first comment is hard to top, but this (lurking) biblical scholar is curious if there's a reason that you chose von Rad's commentary in particular -- other than the super-agent name, of course.

I look forward to seeing what you might have to say about biblical narrative in terms of the fantasy mode. (And by the way, another biblical book that occasionally gets characterized as fantasy is Tobit).

Adam Roberts said...

Sean B. Well, quite. I have so far resisted the temptation to perform the suggested google search.

I'm afraid the truth is completely unsystematic: I found this book, and Claus Westermann's commentary on Isiah 40-66 in an Oxfam Bookshop, and bought them both. I have not regretted the purchase; both vols really are fascinating.

I don't doubt its dated stuff; and I'll probably see how easy it is to get hold of more recent studies. Over at another of my blogs is the first fruit of my von Radian noodling; there's another similar in the pipeline for next wednesday.

I shall check out Tobit.

marco said...

I would recommend Walter Wink's Powers Trilogy.
Very interesting stuff - a vision of "powers and principates" as self replicating power structures.

Here he speaks about the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Larry said...

Very curious to see what you make of it, Adam, even if I might disagree with the takes somewhat. What methodological approach are you considering at this time?

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Adam Roberts said...

Larry: I'm thinking of stringing something between two poles, as it were. On the one hand, an extrapolation of the position I advance in this old review (and also the review listed here under my name, though it's not available online). On the other hand, a position about the relationship of Fantasy as a mode to allegory/symbolism and 'incarnation' in the Christian sense.

Larry said...

Not only have I read the two novels you've reviewed, I've also read/reviewed the Mendlesohn book as well. Are you thinking about taking a sort of "cultural" angle to this, exploring the mentalité involved in the interpretations of the Bible and of texts later labeled as "fantasies"? Very curious to see what you argue and if it will connect with your The History of Science Fiction.

Adam Roberts said...

Larry: is your review of Farah's book online?

Larry said...

Yes, although I was a bit generous in a few places. Here's the link. I keep meaning to re-read that and John Rieder's book on Colonialism and SF to test a few recent thoughts of mine.