On Storms over Genesis

Late last year I had the pleasure of leading an adult Sunday school class discussing the book Storms over Genesis. Written by Dr. William Jennings, Professor of Theology, Emeritus at Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA), Storms over Genesis serves as an introduction into differences within our society that are rooted in the Bible’s first book.

Although a short book (176 pages), the opening chapter sets the stage by identifying two fundamental causes of the differences: the version of the Bible and a denomination’s preferred version – primarily the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) and the NIV (New International Version). Each of the remaining three chapters then focuses on a controversial topic from Genesis (feminism, environmentalism, and creationism) as it relates to the NRSV and the NIV.

By visiting a bookstore, it is easy to notice that Bibles come in many versions as the NIV, NRSV, Today’s NIV (TNIV), King James (KJV), New KJV, American Standard Bible (ASB), New ASB (NASB), Contemporary English Version, English Standard Version (ESV), New Living Translation (NLT), New Oxford Annotated Bible, and who knows how many more. However, don’t forget the Catholic Bibles as the Ignatius Catholic Bible, Catholic Revised Standard Version, New Catholic Answer Bible, Jerusalem Bible, and others.

Keep in mind that each version is subject to the writing team’s interpretation when translating. To top it off, many Bibles contain notes and study guides – again, guided by the writing team’s preferred slant and perspective.

I never thought much about the differences among Bibles, let alone the impact. The Copenhagen Climate Conference happened during the class, actually causing me to wonder about divisions based on Biblical references.

Given the topic, Storms over Genesis is easy reading and will at least cause one to think. Therefore, I recommend this book for anyone interested in the topic. Besides, if it is not at your library or available through an interlibrary loan program, it is inexpensive ($15) or you can also read it through Google books.