Genesis 1–15
Genesis 1–15


in Word Biblical Commentary

by Gordon J. Wenham

4.79 Rank Score: 8.25 from 26 reviews, 10 featured collections, and 41 user libraries
Genesis 1–15
Pages 352
Publisher Thomas Nelson
Published 1987
ISBN-13 9780849902000
Genesis 16–50
Pages 560
Publisher Thomas Nelson
Published 1987
ISBN-13 9780849902017


This book appears in the following featured collections.


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Wenham’s classic 2-volume commentary combines close scrutiny of textual and translation details, drawing on ancient Near Eastern backgrounds where appropriate, plus excursuses on various topics. Wenham shows awareness of modern critical readings of Genesis without being constrained by them. [Full Review]
Dave Cook, D.Ed.Min. Dave Cook, D.Ed.Min. October 12, 2020
The gold standard in Genesis commentaries for decades now.
Warren Truesdale Warren Truesdale March 6, 2019
An extremely thorough and studied commentary by a well-respected OT scholar. Each section begins with a translation with detailed exegetical notes. This is followed by a discussion of the literary structure which sometimes includes dialogue in ANE backgrounds. Next is first-rate verse-by-verse exegetical commentary on the text followed by the “explanation” of the entire passage. [Full Review]
Matt K Matt K December 27, 2017
As others have noted, the format of the Word series is terrible, and makes for difficult reading. That being said, this is a great commentary. Wenham definitely subscribes to Documentary Hypothesis, although he does not strictly follow Wellhausen as another reviewer noted. One strong point, in the first volume especially, is Wenham's analysis of other Ancient Near Eastern creation stories, and presenting Genesis as a polemic against them. Some of the information is dated (Wenham cites material he calls the "latest scholarship," but the first volume was published 30 years ago).
Another example of a more in-depth critical and theological commentary
Sateesh Sateesh June 22, 2017
Sateesh Reddy
Andrzej Stelmasiak Andrzej Stelmasiak June 17, 2015
Contrary to what Derek Thomas have written, Wenham does not maintain literary view of Genesis 1 - he is a theistic evolutionist.
nathan_soper nathan_soper January 9, 2015
Only read the first volume but it's fantastic. Wenham makes the best case I've seen for rightly placing Genesis alongside it's contemporaries as primarily a theological and polemical book. The WBC layout I've always found a challenge along with the unpointed hebrew but Wenham's coments on the hebrew text are still very helpful. 5 stars.
Noel Muscutt Noel Muscutt March 6, 2014
Very good commentary, but I would not agree with many that this commentary takes pride of place among others. I would highly recommend Wenham's commentary, but his adherence to Wellhausen is pervasive and weakens things. It is a bit dated as well.
Tim Challies Tim Challies January 22, 2013
This series is certainly not known for being user-friendly; the volumes are also uneven with some being far superior to others. However, most experts rate Wenham’s work as one of their top recommendations for Genesis. Tremper Longman rates Wenham as “one of the finest evangelical commentators today” and says that his “commentary on Genesis shows a high level of scholarship and his exegetical sensitivity.” His approach to Genesis is conservative and he stresses the unity of the biblical text. [Full Review]
Ben_Harvey Ben_Harvey February 27, 2012
This commentary is and will always remain a classic! A valuable edition to any library. However the reason I can not give this commentary 5 stars is the 'Word' series choice in layout, by far the most un-user friendly series I have come across. And makes for a very frustrating read.
DZA DZA January 11, 2011
Excellent commentary on the book of Genesis by an leading evangelical scholar who is a world expert on the Pentateuch.
Chris Atwell Chris Atwell June 18, 2010
Solid. I actually don't find this commentary as technical as Walton, Collins, and Sailhammer. You do need this in your library, if you're going to teach on Genesis.
John Glynn John Glynn September 20, 2008
Jim Rosscup Jim Rosscup September 20, 2008
Derek W. H. Thomas Derek W. H. Thomas September 15, 2008
It is difficult to imagine a less user-friendly layout than the Word Biblical Commentary Series. The series is uneven and occasionally goes overboard in literary/source criticism. But at least one up-to-date, critical commentary on Genesis should be on our shelves, and this is about the best. Maintians a literary view of Genesis 1.
The layout of the Word Biblical Commentary series is not the most reader friendly, but in the case of Gordon Wenham's commentary on Genesis, it is certainly worth the trouble. Wenham writes from a generally conservative evangelical viewpoint. His exegesis is careful and detailed and always worth consulting. [Full Review]
Gordon Wenham's WBC receives the best all-around reviews of any commentary on Genesis and from a wide range of people. Wenham is a moderate to conservative evangelical. He spends some time on source-critical issues, generally taking a skeptical stance toward those who think they can delineate sources and identify different time periods for different parts of the book. Wenham is good at historical background, often defending the plausibility of the narratives, particularly in the patriarchal section. He spends more time than most academic commentaries dealing with matters of theology and even Christian application. One strength is his proportionally-greater treatment of the structure of individual passages, although some might think it's a bit much. I did think the commentary was a bit briefer than I expected once you get through the literary and source-critical issues. His structural analysis shows a tightly-woven narrative by a single mind, which undermines the credence he shows to the general source-critical approach (as skeptical as he is of particular proposals in source criticism). Wenham has an absolutely stellar NICOT on Leviticus and a pretty good exposition in TOTC on Numbers. He also has done a lot of more general work on the Pentateuch and is generally seen as one of the top Pentateuch scholars of our time. [Full Review]
The best all-around Evangelical commentary that introduces the reader to the major interpretative issues and provides clearly writing on the exegesis and theological significance. [Full Review]
Unattributed-m Unattributed-m May 27, 2008
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