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Program Descriptions The First Murder

Wednesday, October 16, 1996 at 8 p.m. (E.T.)
(Check local listings.)

GENESIS: A LIVING CONVERSATION premieres with the story of Cain and Abel. This story of brother killing brother, while not the first story in the book of Genesis, is certainly one of the most powerful and recognizable. Bill Moyers says: "This story is one of the most haunting in the Bible; it has challenged the conscience of believers and nonbelievers alike and inspired writers down through the centuries. Nobody gets off easily. Not God, who plays favorites. Not the hot-headed first son, or his younger brother who does a good deed and suffers for it. And not Adam and Eve, the first parents to learn what it means to 'raise Cain.' "

Featuring John Barth, Rebecca Goldstein, Mary Gordon, Oscar Hijuelos, Charles Johnson, Faye Kellerman, Burton L. Visotzky. See Biographies for more information about the participants.

Rebecca Goldstein

Audio Tales:

©Duane Michals
Mandy Patinkin
Play: RealAudio

See more information on audio downloads or on obtaining a RealAudio player. For RealAudio, we recommend 2.0 or later.

Singer, performer and actor Mandy Patinkin has lent his voice to the GENESIS television series as a storyteller. You may listen to the actual sound recording of this story either as RealAudio or as a download.
Narrative written by Elizabeth Swados.

After God sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, they joined together and Eve gave birth to Cain, who became a worker of the soil, then to Abel, who grew up to be a shepherd of the flocks. In time, Cain made an offering to the Lord of fruit from the ground. And Abel brought the firstborn of his flock with its fullness and fat. The Lord respected Abel's gift, but had no regard for Cain's. And Cain was angry and his face fell. And the Lord said, "Why are you so upset? If you do well you will be accepted, but if you don't do right, sin is waiting for you by your door. And sin will want you. But you can conquer it."

One day, when the brothers were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel and killed him. The Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother, Abel?" And Cain replied, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" And God said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are cursed! You are cursed from the earth which opened her mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand! When you work the soil, you'll get next to nothing. You will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." Cain said to God, "My punishment is greater than I can bear! I am banished from the face of the earth and from the face of God. I will wander without purpose and whoever finds me will try to kill me."

But God said to Cain, "I promise! Anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over." And the Lord set a mark on Cain so that whoever came upon him would not strike him down. And Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, dwelling, in the land of Nod, wandering east of Eden. And Cain took a wife. They had a son named Enoch. And Cain built a city. His descendants had cattle; some played the pipe and the organ and were the fathers of the players of the lyre, and some worked with bronze and iron. And Adam and Eve had another son named Seth. "For God," said Eve, "has given us another son in place of Abel."
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