Adam as Israel: Genesis 1-3 as the Introduction to the Torah and Tanakh

By Seth D. Postell

A discussion of how the links between the stories of Adam and of the people of Israel explain otherwise perplexing features of the Eden narrative.

ISBN: 9780227680193


The story of Adam is the story of Israel writ small.

In this text-centered interpretation of Genesis 1-3, Seth Postell contends that the opening chapters of the Bible, when interpreted as a strategic literary introduction to the Torah and to the Tanakh, intentionally foreshadow Israel’s failure to keep the Sinai Covenant and their exile from the Promised Land, in order to point the reader to a future work of God, whereby a king will come in “the last days” to fulfill Adam’s original mandate to conquer the land (Gen 1:28). Thus Genesis 1-3, the Torah, and the Hebrew Bible as a whole have an eschatological trajectory.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 216

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Seth D. Postell, formerly Assistant Professor of Old Testament at the Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies (in partnership with Talbot School of Theology), is currently Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Israel College of the Bible in Netanya, Israel.


List of Tables and Figures
List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction
2. History of Interpretation
3. Recent Studies
4. Methodology
5. A Text-Centered Analysis of Genesis 1-3, Part 1
6. A Text-Centered Analysis of Genesis 1-3, Part 2
7. Genesis 1-3: An Introduction to the Tanakh?

Scripture Index
Subject and Name Index


Endorsements and Reviews

Dr. Postell has written a brilliant treatise arguing that Genesis 1-3 serves as the literary introduction to the Pentateuch, and, indeed, the entire Tanakh. He is clearly conversant with all the relevant literature and he makes a persuasive case. This is a work that needs to be read carefully and taken seriously.
David M. Howard Jr, Professor of Old Testament, Bethel University

In a stimulating study of the first three chapters of Genesis, Dr. Postell has argued convincingly that they were written as fitting prelude to and portent of the ensuing narrative. Instead of looking to presumed parallel or contrasting ancient creation accounts for its meaning, this study confirms that the opening narratives of the Pentateuch exhibit language and themes coherent with the entire narrative that follows. The persuasive argument expressed here points to the necessity of further studies of similar approach to the Hebrew Bible.
Robert Cole, Associate Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

To anyone who suspects that there is a divine order behind the compilation of the Hebrew Scriptures, this excellent work by Seth Postell will confirm that suspicion. Not only has he carefully described the methodology used in evangelical canonical research of the text, he has built upon the existing evidence to further substantiate the approach. Fresh new insights are always pleasing to the theological senses! Research professors and students alike will be strengthened in their devotion to the sacred text and spurred on to answer the research questions that naturally arise from this work.
Gregory Hagg, Professor of Bible Exposition/Director, The Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies, Talbot School of Theology

I would recommend this book for biblical scholars and advanced students interested to explore new avenues for theological interpretation of Genesis.
Igal German, in Theological Book Review, Vol 24, No 2

Postell’s Adam as Israel, filled with rich exegetical insights and engendering many suggestive ‘rabbit trails’ to pursue, is a solid contribution to biblical theology, joining a growing body of scholarship that, through holistic readings, marks a critically minded return to an earlier understanding of the Hebrew and Christian canons. Readers will be impressed afresh concerning the profound significance of the Eden narratives, along with the highly complex literary artistry at play within the Tanak.
L. Michael Morales, in Review of Biblical Literature, October 2012

Seth Postell puts forward a convincing argument to take seriously the cohesion of the final, canonical form of the Torah and Tanakh, as well as the introductory role that Genesis 1-3 plays within that final form. … The writing is very accessible, and would be of use to laypersons as well as academics and students of biblical studies.
Matthew James Hamilton, in Reviews in Religion & Theology, Vol 20, Issue 2

Postell has provided an excellent work that is readable, interesting, and has a handful of fascinating insights that will provide scholars, pastors, and lay-readers alike good material for years to come.
James A.E. Mulroney, in The Expository Times, Vol 124, No 9

… if the best books are those that spark fresh ways of thinking or reveal yet more vistas for exploration, then Postell’s work had definitely hit the mark. His book is full of suggestive intertextual connections in the Hebrew Bible and readers will find a banquet of biblical-theological delicacies.
Samuel Emadi, in Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament, Vol 2.1

… a very compelling and rich interpretation of the opening chapters of Genesis is that will likely prove significant for others who do choose to address the Biblical accounts compatibility with the current scientific research. … I find Postell’s conclusion on Genesis 1-3’s relationship to the Torah incredibly hard to deny. His case was both persuasive and significant. … Seth Postell has written an excellent book that deserves a wide reading. I can’t recommend it more highly.
Johnny Walker, at Freedom in

Seth Postell argues that the story of the Bible’s first man is an intentional introduction to the Torah and Tanakh, which foreshadows the history of Israel and its rebellion against God, leading to the exile. Adam as Israel looks at Genesis 1-3 in detail, and proposes that there is also an eschatological slant in these chapters.
Church Times, 30 May 2014