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Discovering Genesis:

Discovering Genesis and the Origins of the Biblical World

The Book of Genesis is a fascinating account of ancient Israel's earliest traditions. In this four-part study course, the late David Neiman of Boston College expertly guides you through the book's first 11 chapters, examining how the biblical writers grappled with the fundamental questions and mysteries of the shared human experience. Dr. Neiman also reveals the cultural, historical and linguistic context in which the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah and the Flood were originally written and understood.


4 lectures in a 2 DVD set. Approximately 3 hours

Contact Becky Neiman at or

The Biblical Archaeology Society presents "Discovering Genesis" Lectures 1-4 on DVD:

Discovering Genesis Lecture 1:

The Polemic Language of Genesis

Professor Neiman examines the intriguing ways in which the author of the first chapter of Genesis uses loaded, polemic language to starkly contrast Israelite cosmology with the pervasive pagan cosmologies of the first millennium B.C.E. While the Canaanites, Greeks and Babylonians turned natural phenomena into a multitude of gods and goddesses, the Israelite cosmology saw only one God.


Total Running Time: 40 minutes

Discovering Genesis Lecture 2:

The Garden of Eden

In this lecture, Professor Neiman explores the rich language and imagery found in the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden. Dr. Neiman follows Adam and Eve through their various trials in the garden, from the creation to their expulsion from Eden, and at each episode, focuses on the ways in which the Biblical writer artfully expresses the realities of the human condition.


Total Running Time: 38 minutes

Discovering Genesis Lecture 3:

The Genealogies of Genesis

Although many find the genealogies in Genesis 4 and 5 difficult to read and comprehend, Dr. Neiman explains how both chapters, when read in their proper historical and cultural context, are in fact highly nuanced writings that reveal two different stories of origins


Total Running Time: 40 minutes

Mp4 Download $9

Discovering Genesis Lecture 4:

The Flood and The Sons of Noah

Dr. Neiman examines the similarities and differences between the Biblical story of the flood and the earlier Babylonian tradition on which it was based, while also theorizing about the nature of the disaster that may have led to the story’s creation.  After providing historical context to the story of the flood and its aftermath, he then considers Genesis 10, the so-called “Table of Nations".


Total Running Time: 46 minutes

Discovering Genesis Lecture 5:

Abraham the Hebrew

The Bible refers to Abraham as Abraham the "Ibri" or "Hebrew".  But who are the Hebrews and what role does the this tribe play in the socio-political world of the time?  Dr. Neiman paints a detailed portrait of the world in which Abraham's story takes place. 


Total Running Time: 41 minutes

Discovering Genesis Lecture 6:

Abraham in Context

The Amarna Age

The zenith of the Amarna age was reached during the reign of Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti.  Akhenaten built a new capital and in El Amarna.  The tablets found there known as the Amarna letters, give further historical context to the story of Abraham.


Total Running Time: 44 minutes

Discovering Genesis Lecture 7:

Abraham the Patriarch

Dr. Neiman reads from the chapters of Genesis that deal with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah,  Abimelech, the birth of Isaac and the covenant of the circumcision.  Dr. Neiman explains how the story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar fits into the legal system of the time - The Code of Hammurabi and the significance of Abraham's purchase of his burial plot, the cave of Machpelah from the Hittites.  


Total Running Time: 50 minutes

Discovering Genesis Lecture 8:

The Children of Abraham

Chapter four finds Abraham old and wealthy. He sends his servant off with 10 camels laden with gold.  The servant meets Rebecca at the well where she draws water for him and his camels.  The Lord predicts that she will give birth to two nations; one will be stronger than the other and the elder will serve the younger. Esau sells his birthright to Jacob, the shepherd, for a bowl of porridge. 


Total Running Time: 44 minutes

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