It has long been thought that Aristotle and the Greeks revolutionised the ancient thought world and laid the philosophical foundations for the modern world. That is half the story. The other half is the profound counter-cultural impact of the New Testament documents and particularly Paul’s writings. Coming to the Old Testament we face a similar problem—but reversed. Few realise how much the creation accounts of Genesis, and the ethos of Deuteronomy (the Ten commandment etc) had an even more revolutionary and foundational influence on humanity.

The reason we don’t see it is that we don’t know the contexts and ideas they drew from and critiqued. We miss this impact when we box Genesis and Deuteronomy as religious texts. In this exciting series of talks, John Walton – one of the world’s leading thinkers on the conceptual world of the Old Testament and its neighbours – will explore how first Genesis, and then Deuteronomy, rewrote the foundational paradigms that framed the then current views on the nature of reality, the human condition, the cosmos and ethics and service. John opens Genesis and Deuteronomy to us as massively significant public documents.

He does this by taking us back to the Ancient Near Eastern context into which they spoke, and analyses them as political and literary documents. Viewing these books as God’s word, he enriches that term by painting a picture of a living God speaking to real audiences in real contexts, through real people.

John Walton
John is Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He has pioneered the study of Ancient Near Eastern cosmology and its impact for our understanding of the Old Testament—and the work of Moses and Genesis in particular.
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