Genesis is the first book of the Bible used by Judaism and Christianity, and the first of five books of the Pentateuch or Torah. It contains biblical stories from the creation of the world to the descent of the children of Israel into Egypt, and some of the best-known biblical stories, including Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, and the biblical Patriarchs.
For Jews the theological importance of Genesis centers on the Covenants linking God to his Chosen People and the people to the Promised Land. Christianity has reinterpreted Genesis as the prefiguration of Christian beliefs, notably the Christian view of Christ as the new Adam and the New Testament as the culmination of the covenants.
Structurally, Genesis consists of the "primeval history" (chapters 1-11) and cycles of Patriarchal stories - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel. The narrative of Joseph stands apart from these. Scholars believe that it reached its final form in the 5th century BC, with a previous history of composition reaching back possibly to the 10th century.
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