"The Firstborn of God. Resolving the Contradictions in the Bible" is a controversial study that challenges accepted orthodox interpretation. Evans has for the last fourteen years researched and studied not only the Bible, but the Nag Hammadi Texts including the Gospel of Thomas and The Sea Scrolls.
She advocates that the Bible has two threads running through it from Genesis to Revelation and that these two threads advocate two completely different religious, social, economic and political philosophies. Evans proposes that these two threads start with the creation stories, where in Genesis 1, male and female, in fact the whole human race is created in the image of God and as such have everlasting life. She believes that politically this translates into democracy. Whereas in Genesis 2, one male is created and a female is made from his rib in order to serve him and both are denied the tree of everlasting life. Politcally, she believes this this translates into an autocracy.The author proposes that we must make a choice between the two and that the choice that we make will determine how we interpret the rest of the Bible.
Evans bases the premise for her choices and conclusions on the fundamentals of democracy being equality, a justice of liberty and self-empowerment, choices and conclusions that more often than not overturn accepted orthodox faith and belief; though she does substantiate her arguments through quotes from the Bible as well as from the Gnostic Scriptures and the Sea Scrolls.The author believes that in order to arrive at a workable religious framework for the 21st century, it is for us to question, that we must make a choice between the two threads that she clearly lays out in the beginning of her book, in order to find the answers that we are looking for.
Just 50 years ago, what Gail Evans has done, would have been inconceivableyet how she has gone about it stems from a long history of rabbinical study, & reminds me of the way we (counselors, rabbis & feminists) discussed the Bible stories & what they meant, around the fires during long Wisconsin evenings during summer camp.
Her od is to posit contradicting verses in the Bible, research parallel texts, & then explain both what the original words meant & how we have interpreted them down the ages. It is a fascinating journey.
At no time does Gail Evans offer any disrespect or irreverence. The Firstborn of God is the earnest & affectionate quest of a modern woman to not only discover the roots of our social & philosophical stances, it is her way of going back to the source so she may better understand today. That she found some peace in the study & that the answers she discovered make a lot of sense, is a credit to her ability to look at a religious icon & tell it like it is.
The Bible is not my favorite book, although I have read it, several times. Back in the days when Bible Study was a normal part of every school week, I asked questions similar to Gail Evans, & my Scripture expelled me from her class.
I am sure professional religionists could tear this authors findings into shreds, however, if you have ever wondered about why The Bible is so contradictory, in some cases from verse to verse, then Gail Evans The Firstborn of God is a lively & informative place to start.
I hope the next time she prints The Firstborn of God she has a proofreader eliminate the odd & strange spelling & grammar errors, so that the value of her study can be accepted without reservation.
I think a lot of people, especially women who are so intimidated from Eve on down, will find much to think about as Gail Evans reconciles the stories in the Bible with both our gender & our times.
A good book about The Good Book.
Rebecca Brown from Rebecca's Reads.com
Gail Evans is to be commended for an extremely well researched book. To have spent fourteen years in its completion shows a singular dedication to the most fascinating of subjects. Over the last few years there has been a plethora of publications dealing with the various hypotheses about Christianity, the person of Jesus Christ, Crucifixion and Resurrection and so on. This is not just another book, but an important contribution to the research.
Part of Gail Evans argument has been to show that the previous apartheid regime in her native South Africa has used the Bible in a way that encouraged, " ....a servile philosophy in order that those in power can maintain and suppress all those beneath them, not adhering to the laws of justice, but to their own laws of suppression and subjugation."
The book contains a whole host of examples from the Bible to illustrate the points the author wishes to make. I believe this is an essential book for the serious student of Theology and anyone interested in the Bible generally, in other explanations and odd events within the New Testament which modern scholarship determines are not quite as they seem. I am sure that this book will be controversial if read by fundamentalists, but to those with an open mind who ultimately wish to seek the truth unencumbered by steadfast doctrine and creeds, it will provide ample food for thought. Gail Evans 's erudite scholarship is a credit to her.
Stan Marut from Hampshire, United Kingdom:-A very well researched and plausible hypothesis.
".....THE FIRSTBORN OF GOD is a well-researched volume filled with many illustrations, quotes, and citations. Writer Evans presents a scholarly narrative written in a readable style. The work is not a novel or 'rainy afternoon read.' This is an erudite work prepared to help both the religious and the scholarly gain a little more insight into who or what The Firstborn of God may be. Evans' book cover acknowledges that her conclusions presented in this work may be considered to be controversial...."
Molly Martin: Scribes World Reviews
An absorbing and brilliant piece of work- this book has made me pick up the Bible again and this time I'm reading it through new eyes and with more understanding.
Fil Van Den Bos. Ottowa. Canada.
In the Firstborn of God, Gail Evans begins with Genesis 1 and recreates a telling of the biblical story that breaths new life into the word of God, giving it new meaning for the twenty first century.
Following fourteen years of research that includes input from a host of other biblical scholars and archeologists, and readings from the Sea Scrolls, in the absence of a need to win favor with temple priests, ancient Pharos and Roman emperors, Gail Evans gives us an accurate telling of this ancient story. And what a story it is, a story full of surprises with almost shocking revelations on every page.
I will not pretend to understand all of what she has written, but in the reading I continually found myself becoming very comfortable with a God that I thought I had lost a long time ago. In some unexplainable way, the Bible slowly began to make sense. At an early age I shunned organized religion and now I know why. The word of God does not require an interpreter. It is written on the heart and one has only to look inward to find it
To everyone who has ever had trouble understanding the Bible and even those who think they do understand the Bible, The Firstborn of God is required reading. Thank you, Gail.
Nathaniel Lott is a prolific author of:"The House at Trinity Corners," "The Love Song of J.Roscoe Plenty" and "The Powder Blue Cadillac."