Karen Armstrong
In the Beginning : A New Interpretation of Genesis

Karen Armstrong never ceases to amaze me. Rather than subtitle the book "A New Interpretation of Genesis", she should have subtitled it "Finally, a Logical Interpretation of Genesis that Makes Sense". I suppose that would have been a bit bold though. <g>

Seriously though, when I read Armstrong, I frequently think, "this makes so much sense, why didn't I think of this before?". If I had to read the three books by Armstrong over again from the start, I would have read this one and Through the Narrow Gate (which should probably be read first) before reading A History of God.

Armstrong goes through each of the stories found in Genesis and provides a reasonable interpretation of what each story is about and what we can learn from them. Although she doesn't come out with her overall view of whether all of the stories are purely symbolic or if any may have a hint of literalism in them, I tend to agree with Graham's view that they are all a symbolic creation story told over and over again with different characters to bring out different aspects of the Hebrew thought on creation and life in general.

The book is very short. It includes only a little over 100 pages (not counting the actual text of Genesis which is included in full). The sections on Noah and the Ark and Jacob were perhaps the most interesting for me. It is certainly worth reading for anyone interested in studying the Bible.