New Book: The Book of Genesis in Late Antiquity: Encounters between Jewish and Christian Exegesis

The Book of Genesis in Late Antiquity (Leiden: Brill, 2013) is an exciting new publication by Dr Helen Spurling and Dr Emmanouela Grypeou.

The Book of Genesis in Late Antiquity

It examines the relationship between rabbinic and Christian exegetical writings of Late Antiquity in the Eastern Roman Empire and Mesopotamia.

The volume identifies and analyses evidence of potential ‘encounters’ between rabbinic and Christian interpretations of the book of Genesis. Each chapter investigates exegesis of a different episode of Genesis, including the Paradise Story, Cain and Abel, the Flood Story, Abraham and Melchizedek, Hagar and Ishmael, Jacob’s Ladder, Joseph and Potiphar and the Blessing on Judah. The book discusses a wide range of Jewish and Christian literature, including primarily rabbinic and patristic traditions, but also apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, Philo and Josephus.

The volume sheds light on the history of the relationship between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity, and brings together two scholars (of Rabbinics and of Eastern Christianity) in a truly collaborative work.

The research was funded by an award from the Leverhulme Trust at the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge, UK, and the Centre for Advanced Religious and Theological Studies of the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, UK.

Helen SpurlingDr Helen Spurling is the Ian Karten Outreach Fellow at the Parkes Insitute, University of Southampton. Her research focuses on the interpretation of midrashic literature, with particular reference to Jewish-Christian relations, Jewish history from biblical times to Late Antiquity, and eschatology and messianism. She is also responsible for developing the outreach work of the Parkes Institute.


Dr Emmanouela Grypeou completed her Diploma in Politics in Athens, Greece, her MA in Sociology and Religious Studies in Freiburg, Germany, and her PhD in Languages and Cultures of the Christian Orient in Tübingen, Germany. Her research focuses primarily on the study of Patristic literature and Church History of the Eastern Roman Empire.

The Book of Genesis in Late Antiquity is available to purchase.

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