Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Read the Bible rationally without losing God, maybe

James L. Kugel in his new book, How to Read the Bible
WARNING: ..... Precisely because this book deals with modern biblical scholarship, many of the things it discusses contradict the accepted teachings of Judaism and Christianity and may thus be disturbing to people of traditional faith. I should say that I count myself in this group, and some of the things I will relate have indeed been disturbing to me over the years. I hesitated for a long time before deciding to pursue modern biblical scholarship as my field of study, and I hesitated even longer before deciding to commit my thoughts on it to writing. If I nonetheless went ahead, it was because I felt that it was dishonest, and ultimately would prove impossible, to hide from the central question addressed by this book. Others, of course, may feel differently. It is up to them to decide whether or not to continue.
From the first chapter available at the New York Times.
Kugel, an emeritus professor of Hebrew literature at Harvard and, mark this, an Orthodox Jew, aims to prove that you can read the Bible rationally without losing God. He sets himself the monumental task of guiding readers all the way through the Jewish scriptures (the Old Testament, more or less, if you’re a Christian) and reclaiming the Bible from both the literalists and the skeptics.

The NYT book review calls it "an awesome, thrilling and deeply strange book."

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