Genesis: Chapters 1-11
Led by Jim Goss
Sundays, 9:40 -10:25 am
While the author(s) of these chapters thought they were describing how the world actually began, we know they are the product of ancient beliefs. They are forms of mythology. Why read them if they are not “true?” Such a comment comes from those who believe that only rational, provable statements are true, and that such statements replace superstitious myths. But myths have a different form of truth and present meaningful understandings of reality and human existence.
The opening chapters of Genesis, which are the foundational myths for the main themes of the Bible, provide insights into the nature of God, human life and the struggle of existence that echo into our own time. They cover creation, paradise, the flood, the development and problems of civilizations, and the diversity of languages due to the arrogance of those seeking to build the Tower of Babel. These foundational stories will be interpreted within their historical/cultural context to discover their distinctive understanding of reality, and their assessment of the complexity of humanity’s struggle for meaning. In the process, we will discover their relevance for our own lives.
Dr. James Goss is Professor Emeritus from California State University, Northridge, where he taught for 32 years in the Religious Studies Department. He served as Department Chair, was President of the Faculty, and was the Executive Associate to the President of the University. His areas of interest are New Testament (the historical Jesus), religious themes in American fiction, Process Theology, and Jungian psychology. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Jesus Seminar, and is a retired ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church. He received a Ph. D. from Claremont University, a M.Th. from the School of Theology at Claremont, and a B.A. from USC.