Although the object of centuries of study, only relatively recently has Genesis 1–11 been analyzed with attention to its literary unity and theological purpose. With the latter twentieth century's increased attention to synchronic approaches, many scholars began to consider Genesis 1–11 from the perspective of a literary unity in its final form and, therefore, to consider matters of intent and theological content. Yet, in spite of these treatments, there have been virtually no attempts to view the entire section of Genesis 1–11 as a literary and theological unity presenting a coherent message.
This book begins to fill this void by seeking to identify the message of these chapters through utilization of a literary-theological approach. The study focuses on literary features, including the broader issues of surface and deep structure, while other topics of special concern include rhetoric as the art of composition for the purpose of communication and persuasion, and the use of speech as an important indicator of key issues in Hebrew narrative.