Allegorical interpretations of Genesis  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

An allegorical interpretation of Genesis is a symbolic, rather than literal, reading of the biblical Book of Genesis. An allegorical interpretation does not necessarily preclude a literal interpretation; interpreters such as Origen of Alexandria and Augustine of Hippo maintained that the Bible is true on multiple levels at the same time.

Genesis is part of the canonical scriptures for both Christianity and Judaism, and thus to believers is taken as being of spiritual significance. The opening sequences of the book tell the biblical story of origins. Those who read Genesis literally believe that it teaches the creation of humanity and the universe in general in a timeframe of six successive days of 24 hours duration. Those who favor an allegorical interpretation of the story claim that its intent is to describe humankind's relationship to creation and the creator.

Some Jews and Christians have long considered the creation account of Genesis as an allegory instead of as historical description, indeed much earlier than the development of modern science. Two notable examples are Augustine of Hippo (4th century) who, on theological grounds, argued that everything in the universe was created by God in the same instant, and not in six days as a plain account of Genesis would require [1]; and the 1st century Jewish scholar Philo of Alexandria, who wrote that it would be a mistake to think that creation happened in six days or in any determinate amount of time.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Allegorical interpretations of Genesis" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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