The Book of Genesis, Illustrated by R. Crumb Crumb, R. W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (October 19, 2009)

Although Genesis is a work of fiction, there is a unique value to reading the illustrated version.  Crumb’s work encourages a more leisurely and honest approach to the book.  The schtick of illustrations faithfully adhering to a complete and faithfully reproduced text allows and guides the mind to linger on such passages as “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” 

Here, for example, a reader is allowed to (though admittedly not guided to, as they would be by an annotated Bible) to contemplate, possibly for the first time, that God ejects Adam and Eve from The Garden of Eden not because they have eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for which God has already punished them, Eve by condemning her to love her man, and bear his children in pain, and Adam by condemning him to be a farmer and eat the grain of his harvest toil.  No, God is afraid.  Having eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they have become like gods and may next eat from the tree of immortality.  God ejects them apparently from his fear that this might happen, and to keep that other special tree, not previously mentioned to Adam, out of their grasp. 

A leisurely stroll through Genesis, beautifully illustrated by R. Crumb, helps prepare one to read the books of the Bible as literature, and to see that literature is what these books are, and what they could only ever have been.

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