on 16 April 2014
Several years ago whilst working as a school chaplain, I found myself becoming increasingly concerned that the pupils I was responsible for simply didn't get it. Ifyou asked them about Genesis, Phil Collins might just get a mention (on one occasion Peter Gabriel's name actually came up but only on that solitary occasion) but neither Gerhard von Rad, Rudolf Bultmann nor Gordon Wenham were even on the radar. Carefully prepared chapel expositions of Joseph's tryste with the wife of Potiphar fell on deaf ears and even a rampant session dealing with Lot's conjugal relations with his daughters failed to strike a chord. Close to despair, I found myself reading a back issue of TJOVSOTS (The Journal Of Very Serious Old Testament Studies) where I encountered an article entitled "Self-administered Circumcision in Pre-exilic Judah" by an OT theologian I'd never heard of... a certain Kerensa P. I was captivated and straight away invited him to come and deliver a lecture to the pupils. He chose his subject, Genesis, and such was my trust in him based solely on this article that I forced all 600 pupils to attend the lecture. Such was the outstanding quality of his material and arresting style of his delivery that even though it was 10.30 on a Sunday morning following a 6th form dance the night before, he grabbed their attention from the start and confidently held it right to the very end of what turned out to be an extraordinarily stimulating 70 minute lecture. The world needed to hear what he had to say so I implored him to write a commentary on Genesis and half a decade later, I was delighted to discover that he had at last done so. I purchased it and have barely managed to concentrate on anything else since it dropped though my letterbox. With my Hebrew interlinear in my left hand and Kerensa's Bibluffer's commentary in my right, I have wallowed in his exegesis, delighted at his insight, and lapped up his titbits of nuanced application. This work is a veritable tour de force and my hunch is that all those OT theologians out there who are working on their commentaries will throw their half-completed manuscripts into the recycler for without too much doubt, this could quite probably be possible the ultimate (or perhaps penultimate) work on Genesis. When I die, I'm going to request that a copy of Kerensa's Genesis is placed with me in my coffin so that when I pass through the pearly gates, I will be able to share its contents with Abraham who might at last understand what God was getting at all those years ago.
If scripture and comedy were to have a child. This would be it.
Now for some that’s heresy and problematic. And so for some this title will feel like heresy and problematic! Paul Kerensa has a clear intent to serve up portions of scripture with power, insight and freshness. This is somewhat curiously achieved. Kerensa retells all the best-known stories through all manner of unexpected devices, including cartoons illustrations, movie scripts, family trees and even the Ikea instruction manual gets an outing. Puns, riddles, word tricks and more fill almost every line. It's got a twist of Milton Jones's maverick genius and Tim Vine's pace, and Jacob’s Creek and Jacobs Crackers wont ever be viewed again in the same light!
Light entertainment it is. Whether there will be sixty-five more, remains to be seen. It's afresh angle for those who might have grown weary or unwilling with the faithfulness of the text of scripture. Without seeking to caricature this title, it may be ideal for youth workers and others.
Theology, insight and creativity do mix well in this gag-fest but I’m still trying to resolve what to do with the aftertaste.
on 27 May 2014
Fresh from a hilarious comedy show by the sainted Mr Kerensa at a Christian festival where he had the whole place in fits with his rewrite of Exodus set to Bohemian Rhapsody (I know, I know, but it really works) I eagerly fell to on his latest volume. Genesis isn't the obvious laugh-a-minute Biblical book to pick, but somehow he's managed to educate, amuse and enlighten while steering well clear of anything remotely preachy or boring. How he will manage Lamentations I couldn't say, but if there is anyone who could make it funny, it's him. He's a very funny stand-up, a great writer and, it turns out, possibly the only person in the known universe who can write a funny book about Adam, Eve, the serpent and so on and so forth. Looking forward to his next book. He has joined the small, elite group of writers whose output I will buy immediately and unhesitatingly without bothering to read the reviews or even flick through the pages. Roll on Exodus: The Bibluffer's Guide
on 14 April 2014
I really enjoyed this book which frequently made me laugh out loud and feel the need to share the joke with whoever I was with at the time. Paul Kerensa certainly has a wonderful way with words and he has provided the reader with his own wacky way of explaining events from the book of Genesis. Adam & Eve, Cain & Able, Noah are all there but their stories unfold in a language far removed from that found in the Bible. It is impossible to give examples of the genius at work - read it for yourself and enjoy!