Trees and Thorns: Studies in the First Four Chapters of Genesis


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“Adam, made of the ground, would by implication bring forth new trees, and thus trees and plants are among the symbols for human beings throughout the Bible. The woman taken from Adam’s side was the first such tree. She would have a ‘seed,’ language taken from the trees and plants of Gen. 1:11-12. Her womb would yield ‘fruit’ (Gen. 30:2). Like the soil on the original third day, the Adamic soil brought forth a plant seeding seed and trees that had fruit with seed in her.”

– From Trees and Thorns: Studies in the First Four Chapters of Genesis

Presented for the first time in one volume, Trees and Thorns: Studies in the First Four Chapters of Genesis compiles studies from James B. Jordan on more than 130 aspects of stories in the first four chapters of the Book of Genesis, including observations about the biblical distinction between man and woman, ground water and heavenly water, permission and prohibition, the war waged by the Serpent against the Bride and the Messianic Seed, and more.

Jordan’s book shows how the narrative features and patterns in the early chapters of the Bible are critical to understanding the rest of God’s Word as well as the effect of these formative chapters on our understanding of worship, theology, and the sacraments.

Book Details

Weight 18 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1 in

James B. Jordan


Theopolis Books



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Editorial Review

"Like everything Jim wrote, Trees and Thorns helps us see through new eyes-to see the whole world and its history refracted in the everyday contrast between fruitful trees and bramble bushes. These essays don't just teach us how to see. They teach us how to be. They're full of cautions: Watch out for the thorns. They're full of exhortations: Be a tree of life, planted by rivers of water, giving fruit and bearing leaves for the healing of nations,"

- Peter J. Leithart, President of Theopolis Institute, author of Matthew Through New Eyes: Jesus as Israel (Athanasius Press), Revelation (T&T Clark International Theological Commentary), and more.

"Genesis is one of the longest books of the Bible and a commentator who wants to discuss everything will find that he has used up his page limit before he has gotten far into the book. Who has time and space enough to talk at length about gardens and sweat and noses and so on? There is a place for a commentary, even a relatively detailed commentary, that takes the reader through the whole book with what Calvin referred to as "lucid brevity." But there is also a place-and not only a place, but a great need-for someone to spend time on the small details that such a commentary might easily gloss over, to compare Scripture with Scripture, to tease out of the text of Scripture things we might otherwise miss as we hurry on to the next verse."

- John Barach, author, editor of Trees and Thorns, co-editor of The Glory of Kings: A Festschrift in Honor of James B. Jordan.