Chapter 1
Genesis

Aalders, G. C. Genesis. 2 vols. BSC. Zondervan, 1981. 311 pp. and 228 pp.

This is an English translation of a commentary originally published in Dutch in 1949. Although somewhat dated, Aalders's work retains its value as a theological commentary. Writing from within the Reformed tradition, Aalders shows great exegetical skill and theological insight. MS

Atkinson, D. The Message of Genesis 1-11: The Dawn of Creation. BST. Inter-Varsity, 1990. 190 pp.

A brief, expository, and devotional reading of the first part of the book of Genesis. Atkinson is insightful and knowledgeable. LM

Baldwin, J. G. The Message of Genesis 12-50: From Abraham to Joseph. BST. Inter-Varsity, 1986. 224 pp.

Baldwin writes in a popular style, yet there is no doubt that considerable scholarly research stands behind her commentary. Her approach to Genesis 12-50 is traditional, yet not stodgy. LM

Boice, J. M. Genesis. 2nd ed. 3 vols. Baker, 1998. 1,303 pp.

Boice, a popular Presbyterian preacher, expectedly puts a heavy emphasis on the application of the text. Unfortunately, his treatment of Old Testament narrative tends to be highly moralistic in ways that the text does not intend. LM

Briscoe, S. Genesis. ComC. Word, 1987. 414 pp.

Briscoe does a good job navigating the difficult interpretive issues of Genesis. Not that he is always right, but he exercises fairly sensible judgment. The volume, in keeping with the purpose of the commentary, is sermonic and anecdotal, not exegetical or biblical-theological. However, what it does, it does well. LM

Brueggemann, W. Genesis. Interp. Westminster John Knox, 1982. viii/384 pp.

Brueggemann, although a moderately critical scholar, is always stimulating and insightful. His commentary concentrates on the final form of the text and focuses principally on the theology of the book. LM

Cassuto, U. From Adam to Abraham: A Commentary on the Book of Genesis. Trans. I. Abrahams. 2 vols. Magnes, 1964. xviii/323 pp. and xiv/386 pp.

This is a solid commentary on the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Cassuto, a conservative Jewish writer, died unexpectedly before the book was completed. He was a brilliant philologist and literary scholar. He, interestingly, goes against the scholarly tide and rejects the Documentary Hypothesis. S

Coats, G. W. Genesis with an Introduction to Narrative Literature. FOTL. Eerdmans, 1983. xiii/322 pp.

Definitely one of the best volumes in the series thus far, this commentary nonetheless is difficult to wade through due to its focus on form-critical issues. Coats is most helpful when he deals with narrative issues from a literary standpoint. He is least helpful when he spends time analyzing the sources of the narrative rather than concentrating on the final form of the text. S

Davidson, R. Genesis 1-11. CBC. Cambridge University Press, 1973. x/118 pp.

This brief commentary presents a critical perspective on the first chapters of Genesis to an educated, popular audience. The introduction presents a source-critical approach to the question of composition and deals with myth and the stories of Genesis. LM

Gibson, J. C. L. Genesis. 2 vols. DSB. Westminster John Knox, 1981. ix/214 pp. and 322 pp.

In keeping with the nature of the series, Gibson writes in a popular vein. He helpfully opens up the text for lay understanding, showing the relevance of Genesis for the Christian. He is less helpful when he describes the composition of the book along the lines of older source criticism. LM

Gowan, D. E. Genesis 1-11. ITC. Handsel, 1988. ix/125 pp.

A short theological study of the first eleven chapters of the Bible. While there is considerable theological reflection, the book also displays a fair share of typical critical assumptions. Gowan's treatment of the relationship between the theology and history of Genesis is quite superficial and will not satisfy many. While many of the commentaries in this series come from a third-world perspective, this one does not. It also fails to interact with contemporary social and political issues to the extent of many of the other volumes. LM

Hamilton, V. P. The Book of Genesis. 2 vols. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1990, 1995. 522 pp. and 774 pp.

Hamilton does an excellent job interpreting the text in a positive way as well as handling the difficult questions of the book (creation story, history of patriarchs, religion of patriarchs). Between Wenham and Hamilton, Genesis is well covered. MS

Hartley, J. E. Genesis. NIB COT. Hendrickson/Paternoster, 2000. xvii/393 pp.

I cannot always agree with Hartley's analysis of the structure of the book of Genesis or with his analysis of sections of it as a palistrophe (the arrangement of material in a V-shaped pattern, also known as chiasm), but Hartley nonetheless offers a clear and straightforward analysis of the book of Genesis. The depth of exposition is constrained by the series. His arguments in favor of Mosaic involvement in the production of the book and also in favor of the patriarchal narratives is refreshing. LM

Herbert, A. S. Genesis 12-50. TBC. SCM, 1962. 160 pp.

Herbert assumes the literary introduction of Richardson (listed below). He believes that the patriarchal period began in 1650 BC, a view not widely held today by liberal or conservative scholars. He sets the uniqueness of Israelite religion not in monotheism but in divine-human personal relationships. LM

Kidner, D. Genesis. TOTC. Inter-Varsity, 1967. 224 pp.

This is an excellent commentary within the parameters of the series. Since it is so brief, it cannot hope to fully comment on the text. It is noticeably lacking (by design) substantial philological notes. It is written from a solidly conservative standpoint. This is a good starter commentary for the layperson. LM

Maher, M. Genesis. OTM. Michael Glazier, 1982. 279 pp.

The volume may have some value in its theological commentary. It presents the rather naive critical view that Genesis is a "statement of religious truths" rather than history. Maher accepts the now dated Documentary Hypothesis, although he notes challenges to it in passing. LM

Mathews, K. A. Genesis 1-11:26. NAC. Broadman, 1996. Genesis 11:27-50:26. NAC. Broadman, 2005. 526 pp. and 960 pp.

Mathews has produced an excellent study of the primeval history with an emphasis on the text as literature and theology. He does not shrink from the difficult historical and philological issues either. He navigates well the relationship between these chapters and ancient Near Eastern literature. Mathews continues his careful and helpful work in the second volume. Among other things, he interacts extensively with the modern discussion of issues of historicity. LM

Richardson, A. Genesis 1-11. TBC. SCM, 1953. 134 pp.

Richardson gives a brief exposition of source criticism, although he is aware that the traditional sources contain older material. He treats the main stories of the first few chapters of Genesis as parables, avoiding the label "myth" because the lay mind equates that term with falsity. LM

Ross, Allen P. Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis. Baker, 1988. 744 pp.

The book opens with a short introduction to the whole book, stating the author's approach to Genesis. Ross presents an evangelical alternative to the documentary approach. The bulk of his treatment, however, is more like a running exposition with an emphasis on theology. As such it is often insightful and helpful. A good book, especially for pastors preaching through the book of Genesis. LM

Sarna, N. M. Understanding Genesis: The Heritage of Biblical Israel. Schocken, 1966. 245 pp.

This readable commentary is written from a pious Jewish perspective that takes into account a moderate historical-critical approach and attempts to make Genesis meaningful and relevant to an educated lay audience. Sarna believes that God can work through four sources (JEDP) as well as a unified book and further argues that historical criticism supports rather than denies faith. Short, but readable, with an emphasis on interpretation and comparative studies. MS

Sarna, N. M. Genesis. JPS Torah Commentary. Jewish Publication Society, 1989. xxi/414 pp.

This commentary is considerably more academic in approach than the one published in 1966. It studies the text in a verse-by-verse, virtually word-by-word manner. Although Sarna recognizes the composite nature of Genesis, he treats the book as a whole in the commentary. His emphasis, although he deals with other aspects of the text, is on Near Eastern background and Jewish tradition. MS

Scullion, J. J. Genesis: A Commentary for Students, Teachers, and Preachers. OTS. Liturgical/Michael Glazier, 1992. xviii/366 pp.

This commentary, published right after Scullion's death, is a strong, traditionally critical approach to the book. Not that the author lacks his own distinctive approach, but he fails to take into account important recent developments in literary approaches and also recent insights from source criticism. Nonetheless, he is strong on the history of research up to the most recent developments and also on ancient Near Eastern background. M

Skinner, J. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis. ICC. T&T Clark, 1910. lxvi/552 pp.

This volume represents the best of turn-of-the-century critical thought. Skinner does a detailed source analysis of the book along the lines of the Documentary Hypothesis. This is an extremely detailed commentary. Helpful grammatical information may be found here. The book is in small print, however, and is often hard to read. Not recommended for the layperson or pastor. S

Speiser, E. A. Genesis. AB. Doubleday, 1964. lxxiv/379 pp.

Speiser takes a fairly classical, critical approach to the book of Genesis in the delineation of sources. The introduction separates P, J, and E sources (the order in which they appear in the book) and then discusses the residue. Speiser is of some help in matters of language, since he was one of the preeminent Semitic linguists of his day. This commentary is a classic and probably is a must-buy for the scholar, but of little use to anyone else. S

von Rad, G. Genesis. OTL. Westminster John Knox/SCM, 1972. 440 pp.

An insightful, but critical, commentary on Genesis. Von Rad is sensitive to theology and literature. He is not known for his work on the Hebrew language. He argues for the Hexateuch and delineates sources. S

Waltke, B. K., and Cathi J. Fredricks. Genesis. Zondervan, 2001. 656 pp.

This commentary is not in a series but is well worth tracking down and adding to a reference library. Waltke is the dean of evangelical biblical scholars, and this commentary is exegetically insightful and theologically rich. LM

Walton, J. H. Genesis. NIVAC. Zondervan/Hodder & Stoughton, 2001. 752 pp.

Walton's commentary is stimulating and well-written. He navigates the difficult issues of the book well. Unfortunately, he rarely comments on the relationship between Genesis and the New Testament. LM

Wenham, G. J. Genesis 1-15. WBC. Nelson/Paternoster, 1987. Genesis 16-50. WBC. Nelson/Paternoster, 1994. liii/353 pp. and 555 pp.

Wenham is one of the finest evangelical commentators today. His commentary on Genesis shows his high level of scholarship and his exegetical sensitivity. He represents a conservative approach to Genesis, but does not completely reject source theory. LM

Westermann, C. Genesis. 3 vols. CC. Fortress/SPCK, 1984-86. xii/636 pp., 604 pp., and 269 pp.

These three volumes were originally published in German between 1974 and 1982. This commentary is a fully conceived approach that takes into account text, form, setting, interpretation, purpose, and thrust. It also provides excellent bibliographies for each section and synthesizes previous research. It claims to be the first major commentary on Genesis in decades, and is from a moderately critical stance. MS

Youngblood, R. The Book of Genesis: An Introductory Commentary. Baker, 1991. 295 pp.

This volume is a reworking of two volumes that Youngblood published in 1976 and 1980. The focus is on the book's teaching, not on philology or form. The introduction, which deals with questions of authorship and date, among other issues, is adequate for the volume, which is directed toward laypeople. The writing style is engaging and clear. LM