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Genesis is Volume I in the Anchor Bible Series of new book-by-book translations of the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha. Ephraim Avigdor Speiser was University Professor and Chairman of the Department of Oriental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Using authoritative evidence from archaeology, linguistics, and comparative religion, the author presents some startling conclusions about the first book of the Bible. He proves, for example, that the famous opening phrase, "In the beginning," is not true to the meaning of the first word, that the designation "Torah" for the Pentateuch is a misnomer, that the best-known stories of Genesis are grounded in pagan mythology. Speiser is an iconoclast in the tradition of Abraham; he exposes the false in order to help achieve truth. As he says in his introduction, he "is not motivated by mere pedantry...but by the hope that each new insight may bring us that much closer to the secret of the Bible's universal and enduring appeal."
THE ANCHOR YALE BIBLE COMMENTARY SERIES is a project of international and interfaith scope in which Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars from many countries contribute individual volumes. The project is not sponsored by any ecclesiastical organization and is not intended to reflect any particular theological doctrine.
The Anchor Yale Bible is committed to producing commentaries in the tradition established half a century ago by the founders of the series, William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. It aims to present the best contemporary scholarship in a way that is accessible not only to scholars but also to the educated nonspecialist. Its approach is grounded in exact translation of the ancient languages and an appreciation of the historical and cultural context in which the biblical books were written supplemented by insights from modern methods, such as sociological and literary criticism.