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.