Vincent’s Re-reading of Genesis

Being a catholic, I have read Genesis before, but this is my first time reading the entire section at once.

Trying to read the bible as a secular document is impossible for me given my beliefs so the way I interpret what I read is heavily influenced by what I know of the catholic church.  The Book of Genesis, is both a historical text and religious text.  Not only is it meant to document the early customs of the Jews and Christians in order for future Jews and Christians to follow, it is also a documentation of the early humans who descended from Adam.  The combination of both religious and historical text gives The Bible a very unique style of writing. Events and religion are blurred together to create a extraordinarily cohesive    piece of writing in which God is dealt with as a real historical being.  Unlike the Greek Myths, in which the gods have very human-like characteristics, the God of the Bible is more distanced, and while human-like characteristics define him, he is less flawed like the Greek Gods, although just as demanding.  Lineage is extraordinarily important.  The Bible continuously provides long lists of names that link the families of Jacob to Abraham, to Noah, to Adam.  In a sense, these lists provide a list of continuity that link the various persons in The Bible together.

Genesis also describes events that can be described today as horrific.  Levi and Simeon’s slaughtering of the men who wanted to marry Dinah for example.  They had a reason, but their action was very monstrous, but since the code of honor at the time was extremely stringent, they might have felt their actions were justified.  These events usually made me narrow my eyes, but they also enlightened me to the code of honor and the conditions at the time.

Possibly the most debatable person in Genesis is God himself.  His actions constantly direct the lives of the men who would become the Israelites and there are some parallels to him and the Greek Gods.  God, does aid the Israelites and the men.  He also punishes men who are bad or evil.  Yet, unlike the Greek Gods, the God of Genesis can be very merciful as he did promise Abraham that if he found 10 good people in Sodom, he would not destroy the entire city.  While God can be extremely powerful and destructive, he is also capable of very compassionate acts.

All in all, it was interesting to read Genesis after reading Medea and The Odyssey.



Thoughts on Medea

After reading the epic adventures of Odysseus in The Odyssey, the shorter, more personal and more tragic Medea was quite a change of pace for me.  Several things stood out at me in this play: the depiction of the female and the tragic hero Jason.

Greek society is very patriarchal.  The women basically have no rights.  Their husbands are chosen for them, their path is basically laid out from when they were born.  In Medea though, the play shows the consequences of what happens when one is unfaithful to his wife.  What makes this message more powerful is that Medea is ultimately successful in punishing Jason for his unfaithfulness because he had broken his oath to the Gods.  Hence the play portrays the message that should a man betray his oath to his women, he should expect not only her curse, but divine punishment.  This message is very feministic  making Medea stand out from other Greek plays.

I read an abridged version of how Jason took the Golden Fleece from Daulaire’s bookof Greek Myths.  What I remember is that basically Medea did most of the work once Jason got to the island of the Golden Fleece.  She also sacrificed much to get him the fleece as by helping Jason, she alienated herself from her family who was in possession of the Fleece at the time.  In return, Jason gave his oath to lover her.  I have to say that Jason, by abandoning Medea who got him the Golden Fleece, left her home to follow him and gave him two sons basically sealed his fate when he decided to marry Creon’s daughter.  I mean… what man would not want such a devoted wife?  I may be harsh, but for a very short moment, I felt like telling Jason “Good riddance!” when Medea killed the Princess, for Jason basically brought his fate upon himself through one fatal mistake.

Medea also made me question on the idea of justice and how far can you take it before you become a monster.  Medea’s actions, were in the Gods view, justified, proven when Helios sends chariots to take her away.  I thought that killing the Princess and Creon was justified, but killing her own sons to hurt her husband?  While I do think Jason indirectly caused their death and Medea’s action of killing her sons was the result, I think that it was overkill and she became monstrous in my eyes.

That’s all for now.


Thoughts on The Odyssey

My first reaction when I finished The Odyssey, was disappointment in how it ended.  I expected a longer ending that would tell what happened to Odysseus in his old age.  However, I do acknowledge the fact that since Odysseus’s odyssey is over, Homer had no reason to elaborate.  Prior to reading The Odyssey, I’ve only read abridged versions in books such as Daulaire’s book of Greek myths, which captured the essential plot of The Odyssey, but lacked in detail.  What I enjoyed the most about The Odyssey was the epic scale of it.  Homer did take me to mythological Greece, the age of monsters and heroes.   It only makes me admire Homer more for taking me, a modern human and plunking me into this saga.  What I loved most about the Odyssey was the fascinating imagery, the cast of characters, gods and creatures that all aided to create a riveting story that had me hanging at the edge of my seat at moments.  Odysseus’s journey, was a true hero’s journey.  His trials at Polydorus, Poseidon, Circe and Calypso, do inspire pity in me, but at the same time, how he handled them (or at least the effort he took to handle them) made me admire his character.  My other favorite character was Telemachus.  His intelligence, how he took charge of his house, made a name for himself and  him assisting his father, made him a very likable character.  Some things I noticed in The Odyssey was that some of the imagery and description was repeated and often re-used, this helped me to associate the correct image or title with the characters, acting like a tag.  These tags helped me a lot because the cast of The Odyssey is huge and some of the names are extraordinarily difficult to pronounce and spell. I also found reading The Odyssey enlightening to me because it showed how religion played a role in people’s beliefs in Ancient Greece.  It was quite entertaining (in a cathartic way aka glad that’s not happening to me way) reading about Poseidon throwing punishment upon punishment on Odysseus and various characters fearing that any person could be a god in disguise.


Hello, name is Vincent Yam (Chinese characters: 任光信). You can call me Vincent, Vince, Vinny, Yamfries or Yammer.  Just don’t call me Sweet Potato (I mean it).  I was born in Burnaby, but lived in Vancouver for most of my life with my father, mother and soon to be 17 year old little sister.  Apart from that, I’ve lived in Hong Kong for 5 year from ages 7-13. I graduated from the International Baccalaureate Program of Sir Winston Churchill Secondary (for those who don’t know what IB is, google it.  Is it that difficult?).  I have a strong interest in History, particularly conflict history.  My most knowledgeable time periods being World War 2, though I do know quite a bit about Napoleonic, Medieval and Ancient History. I like playing video games, (don’t own a console though).  I usually like to play computer games such as League of Legends.  Also, I am an avid reader and my favorite genres include fantasy and historical fiction.  My favorite authors are (no particular order): J.K. Rowling, Garth Nix (god of fantasy right there), R.A. Salvatore, Brian Jacques, Tamora Pierce, Bernard Cornwell and Simon Scarrow.  As for TV shows, I like documentaries (Mythbusters, Mayday), food (Top Chef Masters) and some Korean Drama (Dream High, City Hunter).  Don’t call me a slob or couch potato though because I also practice sports.  I have a black belt in Taekwondo (Dan 1) and play soccer.  My favorite hobby is writing my own original stories and fanfiction… I’ve only ever published the fanfiction XD

If I go on for any longer you’ll be bored out so tata!