Marilynne Robinson unearths treasures in the Book of Genesis

Novelist, essayist, and scholar Marilynne Robinson has managed to thread the theme of goodness into her entire body of work. In her latest book, “Reading Genesis,” she does it once again, unfolding a tapestry of ideas drawn from her keen exploration of the first book of the Bible. 

“I imagine a circle of the pious learned rabbis before the word, remembering together what their grandmothers had told them,” she begins, revealing her reverence for a storytelling past, but one that will always have more to tell. Robinson, who won a 2005 Pulitzer Prize for the novel “Gilead,” approaches the first chapter of Genesis as literature, complete with narrative arc and flawed characters who are ever worthy of redemption. 

The author is a Christian, but she seeks a deeper understanding of goodness that transcends any particular faith tradition. She states early on that “the metaphysical side of religion, the very conception of the sacred, has vanished like the atmosphere of a lifeless planet.” 

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