“The Book of Genesis” Non-Credit Course

Jan 12 to Feb 16 2011
Cobb Lecture Hall, Room 409
5811 S. Ellis Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Paul Mankowski, SJ

Lumen Christi Institute

Intended for university students, faculty, and recent graduates. Others interested in attending, please contact

Thursday, January 13 
Genesis 1-2: “Creation: Grace upon Grace”

If the Hebrew word for God were treated as an unknown (so that we learned its meaning from the text, instead of bringing our catechism with us to the reading), these verses would by themselves teach us most of the Divine Attributes. We are told of the creation of heaven and earth, the creation of man in the image of God, the naming of the beasts, the presentation of the woman and her namegiving, and the nuptial meaning of the one flesh. To be discussed: what authority does the text of Genesis claim for itself?

Thursday, January 20
Genesis 3-4: “Downfall”

God places the man into a garden He had planted. Prohibition, temptation, sacrifice, and homicide make their appearance. What are we to understand by prohibition, sin, lying, and shame as conveyed by the text?

Thursday, January 27
Genesis 5-11: “The Sign of the Covenant”

God resolves to destroy “all flesh” by the flood. What does it mean for God to annihilate His own Creation? What does the righteousness of Noah consist in and what is the meaning of the covenant? What was the sin of the builders of the tower of Babel, and how does the sacred author understand their abasement?

Thursday, February 3
Genesis 12-22: “Abraham: Reckoned unto Him as Righteousness”

The story of Abraham and Sarah is the story of a divine promise, which is at once a burden and a source of hope. What is meant to be taught by Abraham’s obedience in the sacrifice of Isaac? To be discussed: does the Old Testament understand faith as a virtue?

Thursday, February 17
Genesis 23-36: “The Sorrows of the Patriarchs”

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not held up to us as men whose character and moral conduct are to be imitated. Their patriarchy is accorded its value not in virtue of heroism or holiness, yet is seen most clearly in adversity. To be discussed: within its own limits, what does the Book of Genesis understand by “Israel”?

Paul Mankowski, SJ is the Scholar-in-Residence at the Lumen Christi InstituteA native of South Bend, Indiana, and a member of the Society of Jesus, Paul Mankowski has an A.B. from the University of Chicago, an M.A. from Oxford, and a PhD in Semitic Philology from Harvard University. He taught for many years at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and has published in areas of language, theology, and the biblical text.