Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species has changed the landscape
of religious thought in many ways. There is a widespread assumption that before
Darwin, all Christians believed that the world was created some 6,000 years ago
over a period of 6 days. After Darwin, the first chapters of Genesis were either
rejected totally by skeptics or defended vehemently in scientific creationism.
This book tells a very different story. Bringing together contributions from
biblical scholars, historians and contemporary theologians, it is demonstrated
that both Jewish and Christian scholars read Genesis in a non-literal way long
before Darwin. Even during the nineteenth century, there was a wide range of
responses from religious believers towards evolution, many of them very
positive. Stephen C. Barton and David Wilkinson argue that being receptive to
the continuing relevance of Genesis today regarding questions of gender,
cosmology, and the environment is a lively option.