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In my opinion, the author’s main purpose for writing this novel is for the reason she stated, to eliminate what is thought to be “the dysfunctional closet syndrome.” When I read this statement the first thing that came to my mind was how we as Christians can sometimes take for granted the Old Testament. This phrase she uses pointed out her main motive which to me is to bring the thought of importance back into the Old Testament. This novel is purposed to help the reader in conquering typical barriers that are faced when dealing with the earlier times. Things such as the language, culture, history and geography. I feel as if this is achieved through chronology and geography. The author breaks things down by recording the names of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David which assist in representing different eras. Also, biblical narratives are given a real place by the three names: Mesopotamia, Cannon, and Egypt, which are given in the Ancient Near East.
One of the many key points the author has, is the notion of redemption through the eyes of the patriarchal culture or tribal of Israel. Next, the idea of covenant is surveyed. To me, this is the foundation for the novel. With the concept of covenant displayed, the author not only talks about the original intent of God in the Garden of Eden, but also the ultimate intent in the New Jerusalem. Following this, Richter leads the reader in order through the Old Testament by identifying the covenants the Lord had with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and lastly the New convent with Jesus. Essentially, the convents stretch their limits from Adam and Eve to the New covenant, Christ. In this novel, the author is mainly connecting with two things. The first is an unorganized understanding of the Old Testament. The second is the misinterpreted culture and theology of the Old Testament. Throughout her behavior towards covenant, the reader is able to better understand the information and the patriarch’s world because of the structure that is given. The reader is able to finds his or her way around the many barriers of a different and distant culture because of Richter’s explanation of creation, redemption, genealogies, and geography. Essentially, the author is giving the reader a biblical theological interpretation or a way to view the Old Testament. For this novel, God’s covenants with his people combined with Ancient Near Eastern treaties, are the best way to understand the information that is presented in the Old Testament.
Along with any novel, there will good and bad things in the material. To me, Richter’s main achievements is the way she arranged the text in an organized manner and the way she provided help to her audience as they experience the culture shock of the Old Testament. Because of her explanations, we as readers are not only able to organize the material of the Ancient Near Eastern Culture, but relate to it as well. For example, in the book it is mentioned that the firstborn only received a double portion because of their vital role in the society of the Israelites, not because they were favorited (pg. 29). Along with this, she describes how the covenant in patrilineal societies was a way of making people that weren’t apart of your family part of it (pg.30).
In my opinion, the author’s purpose is attained because she gives the reader a good overall summary of the Old Testament through the five covenants. To me, Richter’s book is a great tool for any person who is unfamiliar with the Old Testament. Her style isn’t too complex, nor academic, but an easy way to grasp an understanding. As suggested in the title, this book is about the understating of the whole Old Testament with the thought of Genesis chapter one in mind. This novel not only covers the fundamental material, but the culture and stories that are sometimes misunderstood in the Old Testament as well. This book in my opinion, successfully straightens out the thought of the metaphorical messy closet that is mentioned. Another way this novel achieves its purpose is by the way it handles the word redemption. Certainly, the word is popularly used among Christians, but Richter reveals that its origin is rooted in the laws and socials mores of Israel’s patriarchal culture. In my opinion, in order to close the distance between the Old Testament and New Testament, knowing the meaning behind redemption is beneficial. It is illustrated in the book how Abraham, Boaz, Hosea, and Jesus all demonstrated the thought of being a redeemer. In my opinion, there are too many Christians today that fail at applying the Old Testament to their lives. This book goes to show that having an understanding of the many different events of redemption the Hebrew Bible has to offer, can further develop our understanding of truth reviled by God in all scripture.
While I enjoyed the materiel in The Epic of Eden, I felt as if there were a couple of stories that should have been included. Stories of Cain, Esau, Joseph, Deborah, Gideon, Samuel, Ester, Job, Daniel and so on. While I understand that there has to be some limits on what to add, I am a little disappointed that this book did not focus any thought to the Minor Prophets or Wisdom Literature. In my thought, if the goal of the author is to help organize the reader’s thought about the Old Testament, it would have been helpful for these aspects to be communicated.
Overall, I felt as if this novel gives the reader a way to better understand the Old Testament and its teachings. Like the book mentions, it’s pretty typical for many Christians to overlook or push away the Old Testament. I felt as if this novel provides a way around the difficulties that come with the reading and understanding of the Old Testament. I would recommend this book to anyone who has maybe given up on trying to comprehend the Old Testament. In my opinion this book is a great gateway into understanding the teachings not only the Old Testament, but carrying on through the New Testament as well.

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