[Read] ➵ How to Read the Bible Author James L. Kugel – Varanus.us

How to Read the BibleIn How To Read The Bible, Harvard Professor James Kugel Leads The Listener Through The Quiet Revolution Of Recent Biblical Scholarship, Showing How Radically The Interpretations Of Today S Researchers Differ From What People Have Always Thought The Story Of Adam And Eve, It Turns Out, Was Not Originally About The Fall Of Man, But About The Move From A Primitive, Hunter Gatherer Society To A Settled, Agricultural One As For The Stories Of Cain And Abel, Abraham And Sarah, And Jacob And Esau, They Were Not About Individual People At All But, Rather, Explanations Of Israelite Society As It Existed Centuries After These Figures Were Said To Have Lived In The Earliest Version Of The Exodus Story, Moses Probably Did Not Divide The Red Sea In Half Instead, The Egyptians Perished In A Storm At Sea Whatever The Original Ten Commandments Might Have Been, Scholars Are Quite Sure They Were Different From The Ones We Have Today What S , The People Long Supposed To Have Written Various Books Of The Bible Were Not Their Real Authors David Did Not Write The Psalms, Solomon Did Not Write Proverbs.Such Findings Pose A Problem For Adherents Of Traditional, Bible Based Faiths Hiding From The Discoveries Of Modern Scholars Seems Dishonest, But Accepting Them Means Undermining Much Of The Bible S Reliability And Authority As The Word Of God What To Do In His Search For A Solution, Kugel Leads The Listener Back To Ancient Biblical Interpreters Who Flourished At The End Of The Biblical Period Far From Na

[Read] ➵ How to Read the Bible Author James L. Kugel – Varanus.us
  • Hardcover
  • 848 pages
  • How to Read the Bible
  • James L. Kugel
  • 07 June 2018
  • 0641986378

    10 thoughts on “[Read] ➵ How to Read the Bible Author James L. Kugel – Varanus.us


  1. says:

    This book is in the wrong bookshelf not Christianity, but Bible Studies Kugel is a Jew and the book s focus is on the Hebrew Bible.What s remarkable about this book is Kugel s status as a conservative, observant Jew, steeped in a tradition of Talmudic studies and commentary The book is a dualism giving two parallel readings to key Bible stories He first gives the classical or received view based on internal readings of the text and rabbinical tradition He then gives a reading based on This book is in the wrong bookshelf not Christianity, but Bible Studies Kugel is a Jew and the book s focus is on the Hebrew Bible.What s remarkable about this book is Kugel s status as a conservative, observant Jew, steeped in a tradition of Talmudic studies and commentary The book is a dualism giving two parallel readings to key Bible stories He first gives the classical or received view based on internal readings of the text and rabbinical tradition He then gives a reading based on current Bible scholarship, including text criticism, archealogy, regional history, etc He shows the value of both readings, and leaves the reader to decide what to make of all of it.He kind of ducks the question of how to reconcile the two views But that s okay with me, because I walk that same divide myself in my own faith and understanding So I have tremendous sympathy for his project It s a line he may have trouble walking for long because his own community may set some boundaries and reject his agenda But for now it s very exciting to see a person appreciating both the conservative andprogressive takes on these stories.I would look first to this book if I were teaching Sunday School on the Old Testament


  2. says:

    I took Kugel s Hebrew Bible class at Harvard as a Freshman, almost 20 years ago I loved listening to him lecture I can still remember him chanting and bouncing, almost dancing on stage as he recited Biblical poetry He asked for water and she gave him milk, she brought him curds in a lordly bowl He was always so animated and absolutely fascinating he was not only a good scholar pretty common among Harvard professors , but a good teacher which was rarer, and a real joy when you happened I took Kugel s Hebrew Bible class at Harvard as a Freshman, almost 20 years ago I loved listening to him lecture I can still remember him chanting and bouncing, almost dancing on stage as he recited Biblical poetry He asked for water and she gave him milk, she brought him curds in a lordly bowl He was always so animated and absolutely fascinating he was not only a good scholar pretty common among Harvard professors , but a good teacher which was rarer, and a real joy when you happened to find one His enthusiasm for the material was always on display he knew the Bible inside out, loved it, and as an observant, orthodox Jew, he organized his life around its teachings.This bookor less follows the outline for that class He makes his way through the Bible the Hebrew Bible, or what Christians call the Old Testament , and chooses various passages to analyze Each passage is treated to two types of analysis First, he discusses the way that ancient interpreters looked at this passage Each word of the Bible was believed to be intentional and important If a passage seemed confusing, redundant, or contradicted something found elsewhere in the book, that was a clue that you were hot on the trail of some hidden, divine message Kugel shows how this view of the Bible led to a vast body of interpretive commentary, some of which is now part of our canonized Bible, and some of which can be found in the Talmud and other extra biblical writings These interpreters elaborated on the text in order to harmonize, clarify, expound, and edify, according to their assumptions about the text.Next, Kugel shows how that same passage of scripture is viewed by modern Biblical scholars As a general rule, the modern scholars take asecular approach they are reading the text less as a divine instruction manual for living andas a historical artifact They re interested in how this book came about who wrote which verses and why, what it meant to them at the time it was written, how the book was assembled, what each passage explained in the surrounding world at the time it was written, how the beliefs and customs of the people changed over time, etc Here, we get into the documentary hypothesis, archaeological evidence, etiological explanations, and so forth Kugel does a great job of taking a very complicated body of scholarship and making it accessible to the layperson I won t say that it was an easy read it took me a while to get through this long, dense book But it was fascinating, and he strives to give the non expert all the necessary background to follow the arguments The real question for every religious Jew or Christian, after reading a book like this, is what does this research mean to me It s like eating a sausage after visiting the factory it used to taste so delicious, but now that you know what went into it, you re not sure if you want to bite into another one What does it mean to say that the Bible is the word of God, after pulling away the curtain to see the messy work of all the scribes editors redactors and other anonymous and very human contributors to this collection of books The LDS church has an interesting view of the Bible On the one hand, we don t give the Bible the primacy that it holds in lots of Protestant churches Rather than sola scriptura, we believe in continuing revelation through modern church leaders, as well as directly to us as individuals Rather than believing in an infallible Bible, we re taught that the Bible is the word of God as long as it is translated correctly And rather than believe the Bible to be literally true in all its particulars, we believe that at least some of it is to be understood figuratively.On the other hand, we have the Book of Mormon, which presupposes the Bible to be pretty much a straight forward, historical account of God s dealings with his people We also have the books of Abraham and Moses, which I think would strike Professor Kugel as fascinating examples of midrashic commentaries on the Genesis accounts And we ve got plenty of quotes by modern church leaders, referring to Biblical characters and events in ways that don t leave much room for modern Biblical scholarship So how can we reconcile our religion with the findings of modern academic research I m not sure of the answer, but I thought it was interesting how Kugel answered this question for himself, vis vis his own religion Kugel says, Modern Biblical scholarship and traditional Judaism are and must always remain completely irreconcilable Individual Jews may seek to speculate about how different parts of the Bible came to be written but none of this speculation can have any part in traditional Jewish study or worship indeed, the whole attitude underlying such speculation is altogether alien to the spirit of Judaism and the role of Scripture within it The texts that make up the Bible were originally composed under whatever circumstances they were composed What made them the Bible, however, was their definitive reinterpretation, along the lines of the Four Assumptions of the ancient interpreters Read the bible in this way, and you are reading it properly, that is, in keeping with those who made and canonized the Bible Read it any other way and you have drastically misconstrued the intentions of the Bible s framers I think what I got out of the last few pages of the book is this idea We believe that there is a God We want to approach him, to encounter him, to feel a connection to him We want to serve him and follow his will and thus remain in a relationship with him But as mere humans, we fumble and guess and wonder to use a New Testament phrase, we see through a glass darkly The Bible is a record of people s attempts to follow God, and beyond that, the study and interpretation of the Bible has been, for many, many generations of believers, a way to enter into that relationship with God Though the Bible has an awful lot of human fingerprints all over it, it seems that Kugel believes that there is some divine component to it His last sentences of the book read, So, while I could not be involved in a religion that was entirely a human artifact, it would, in theory at least, be enough for me if God said what He is reported to have said in Exodus and Deuteronomy Do you want to come close to Me Then do My bidding, become My employees The fleshing out of that primal commandment takes place in Scripture and outside of Scripture, and it is all one sacred precinct indeed, the divine presence suffuses every part of it


  3. says:

    73 How to Read the Bible A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now by James L Kugel 2007, 777 pages Paperback brickread Nov 28, 2011 Nov 17, 2015, read along with the OTRating 4.5 stars My plan was to use this as advertised, as a guide in how to read the bible I would read part of the bible and then read the corresponding chapter here It started out well He has some nice introductory essays then chapters in order on Genesis 1 3, then on Gen 4, then 6 8, then Gen 11and so on But then at so 73 How to Read the Bible A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now by James L Kugel 2007, 777 pages Paperback brickread Nov 28, 2011 Nov 17, 2015, read along with the OTRating 4.5 stars My plan was to use this as advertised, as a guide in how to read the bible I would read part of the bible and then read the corresponding chapter here It started out well He has some nice introductory essays then chapters in order on Genesis 1 3, then on Gen 4, then 6 8, then Gen 11and so on But then at some point it started skipping larger and larger sections, with no explanation, and then sections began to be covered out of order, or different non adjacent books were discussed together, or entire books were barely touched on, or the same book would be split into different, not even adjacent chapters There is no explanation as to why some things are covered and other things aren t, or as to why the order goes scrambled Anyway, it s not that kind of a guide in How to Read the Bible.What this book actually intends is to summarize all the latest biblical scholarship and also to capture the various interpretations of the bible through time His essays are quite interesting as he covers what the ancient and medieval interpreters thought, then he brings up the ideas of modern scholarship, including many of his own ideas Some of the best parts of the book are in the end notes there are 79 pages of them In many essays he brings up some really interesting problemsand then he stops No conclusion The essays just end He is very interested in the changing interpretations through time, especially those within the bible itself Such as how did Song of Songs, a romantic love song, become a biblical book seen as about love of God It s possible the words never changed as it evolved from one meaning to the other For modern scholarship, his guiding lights are Julius Wellhausen who is the originator of the Documentary Hypothesis, Hermann Gunkel, and William F Albright In his conclusion he has some very interesting things to say about modern scholarship It began as a effort to search under the text for an original and now mainly lost meaning What was found instead is that the bible was written in parts over a long period of time, and has no original meaning or core But the side effect of all this scholarship was the reducing of the text from a divine to a human creation There was a entire shift from learning from the bible to learning about it In the process the loser was the Bible No longer a sacred emblem, the scholarly insight, while fascinating, remains of interest only to scholars and everyone else interested in the origins What Kugel mentions, but neglects, is the literary criticism of the bible, a different kind of scholarship In western literature throughout time the bible has kept its divine value And the text itself has significant literary elements and studying them requires a different but still real reverence Of course this a different kind of reverence, and not the one the bible once held.He has few words for fundamentalists and basically says that anyone who has studied the bible and is aware of the biblical scholarship knows better than to see anything within the text other than a complex human creation


  4. says:

    The book is a How to in the sense of demonstration, rather than step by step instruction Kugel models historical critical interpretation, working his way through the Old Testament I am not sympathetic to this method, but it is popular and important to understand In that regard, this book is helpful and stimulating It is important to note this work does not offer an apologetic of the method, so those looking for a defense of historical criticism won t find it here Kugel simply proceeds fro The book is a How to in the sense of demonstration, rather than step by step instruction Kugel models historical critical interpretation, working his way through the Old Testament I am not sympathetic to this method, but it is popular and important to understand In that regard, this book is helpful and stimulating It is important to note this work does not offer an apologetic of the method, so those looking for a defense of historical criticism won t find it here Kugel simply proceeds from the presuppositions, then dissolves the supposed purported events and stories with natural, rational explanations e.g phenomena like miracles can t happen, so he offers alternate explanations So he s internally consistent, but not explicit about his presuppositions Perhaps the most instructive chapter is the introduction, in which Kugel provides a brief history of the rise of historical critical interp and how it differs from ancient interpretive methods.One of my biggest qualms is the dismissive tone and rhetoric Kugel employs throughout the book His favorite rhetorical structure is ancient interpreters thought X , but now modern scholars know Y is true He ends almost every chapter this way But the dichotomies between ancient and modern, interpreters and scholars, theological and historical are uncharitable at best, and misleading at worst Of course ancient interpreters couldn t be scholars in their own right And it s a good thing historical critical scholars have stripped away the theological significance to uncover the real meaning of the text for us One telling feature of the book is Kugel s reticence to discard ancient meaning At the end of his introduction he tells readers to keep an eye on the ancient interpreters and the meaning they find in the text, then he proceeds to practically mock their primitive ideas every chapter, before closing the book by stating that he can t shake himself of the ancient meanings, even though he knows they re wrong For example, he still participates in Jewish rituals, which he thinks are predicated on fictions, but are meaningful nonetheless Like many modern interpreters, he seems haunted by the feeling of transcendence, the sense ofout there His book works so hard to exorcize the ghost of transcendence out of the machine of a mechanized, natural world But the transcendence stubbornly abides I think this reveals just how deeply unsatisfying modern, rationalistic, demythologized theology really is Kugel the guy who authored the premier book for those interested in historical critical scholarship simply cannot leave the enchanted, legendary world that his scholarship so doggedly eschews


  5. says:

    A treasure for any modern believer of both God and Science The author s format is well laid passage by passage, he first defines how ancient interpretors have viewed Biblical subjects, then runs through the various findings of modern scholarship Kugel doesn t shy from citing non Biblical sources or tearing down firm held believes of, say, fundamentalist Christians Neither does he ever lose sight of his faith It s a fine line to tread, and Kugel navigates it masterfully I d easily recommend A treasure for any modern believer of both God and Science The author s format is well laid passage by passage, he first defines how ancient interpretors have viewed Biblical subjects, then runs through the various findings of modern scholarship Kugel doesn t shy from citing non Biblical sources or tearing down firm held believes of, say, fundamentalist Christians Neither does he ever lose sight of his faith It s a fine line to tread, and Kugel navigates it masterfully I d easily recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject, regardless of their beliefs


  6. says:

    This book is a showpiece of erudition a real intellectual tour de force Don t ask me to explain it in the space of this review It s late at night and the weave of its central argument is too complex for me to manage that Suffice it to say no other book I ve ever read has so deeply enriched my understanding of the Hebrew Bible i.e the Old Testament and its ancient and modern schools of interpretation Everyone who cares at all about this spiritual cornerstone of Western civilization, monot This book is a showpiece of erudition a real intellectual tour de force Don t ask me to explain it in the space of this review It s late at night and the weave of its central argument is too complex for me to manage that Suffice it to say no other book I ve ever read has so deeply enriched my understanding of the Hebrew Bible i.e the Old Testament and its ancient and modern schools of interpretation Everyone who cares at all about this spiritual cornerstone of Western civilization, monotheism, biblical history, or the Judaeo Christian worldview should read this book It s long, it s complicated, and, at times almost overwhelming in scope, but the writing is wonderfully clear and engagingly discursive It will repay perseverance, so stick with it


  7. says:

    For anyone who would like to get a clear picture of how Biblical scholars have understood the Bible both historically and throughout the years of Bible study, this is the book The author begins by letting the reader know he is a traditionally observant Jew and then, only in the final chapter, comes back to this and states his own position in the debates he reported thorough out the book.


  8. says:

    In this large work, Kugel goes through the Hebrew bible and contrast the ancient interpretations of the scriptures, with those of modern biblical scholars The ancients who gathered the text and made it canonical, seemed to interpret their scripture through the following assumptions Firstly, the bible was considered to be cryptic, when it said A, it often meant B This of course, assumed the Divine source that hid these truths beneath the surface message Next, they assumed that though the scri In this large work, Kugel goes through the Hebrew bible and contrast the ancient interpretations of the scriptures, with those of modern biblical scholars The ancients who gathered the text and made it canonical, seemed to interpret their scripture through the following assumptions Firstly, the bible was considered to be cryptic, when it said A, it often meant B This of course, assumed the Divine source that hid these truths beneath the surface message Next, they assumed that though the scriptures do speak about history, it all contained authoritative and God given lessons, and instructions that were relevant in their own day And finally, they believed the text was perfectly consistent and harmonious, containing no contradictions or mistakes This approach to scripture resulted in interpretations that to many of us moderns, seem forced, stretched, out of context and to diverge from the original meaning of the biblical authors The modern assumptions of critical scholars couldn t bedifferent Every interpretation found in this book that references the contemporary guide to scripture seemed to flow from the following assumptions 1 God never spoke or acted within history, so all claims of such must have a naturalistic explanation 2 A biblical book was never written by the one whom tradition claimed to have written it 3 Historical events in the bible either did not happen, or didn t happen as describe in the text, and all biblical characters are to be considered fictional unless irrefutable extra biblical evidence suggest otherwise The ruling assumption here is that the scriptures never can count as a historical source or evidence for any of the claims it makes 4 The motives of the biblical authors for making up fictitious history and mythical characters was either solely etiological, political propaganda and spin, or were derive for some other nefarious end 5 The actual biblical authors never had an original idea, but much of what they wrote was plagiarism, stolen from the surrounding nations How did such a shift occur First, I ll mention how within Judaism, though they embrace the interpretations that resulted from the ancient assumptions that the bible is cryptic, divinely inspired, consistent, and presently relevant, they didn t allow everyone to freely interpret the bible according to these assumptions for themselves, instead tradition was supreme Christians interestingly held the same ancient assumptions, but their interpretative lens was Christ and Him crucified and their present religious context Eventually, the church father s interpretations became what the bible meant for future Christians And kind of like within Judiasm, everyone didn t have the privilege to approach the bible as individuals, instead the tradition of the church fathers carried the highest authority But then with the reformation, the questioning of church authority and the cry of sola scriptura , modern biblical criticism begin As Charles Augustus Briggs expressed so well Holy Scripture, as given by divine inspiration to holy prophets, lies buried beneath the rubbish of centuries It is covered over with the debris of traditional interpretation of the multitudinous schools and sects Historical criticism is digging through this mass of rubbish Historical criticism is searching for the rock bed of the Divine word, in order to recover the real Bible Initially, these Christians still held the ancient assumptions, except for the first, for Enlightenment thinking undermined the belief that the bible was cryptic They believed that they as individuals, using the historical grammatical method could dig down and discover the original, clear and literal meaning of the author, which alone was the divinely inspired and authoritative Word of God Tragically, this close inspection of scripture, ultimately undermined the other assumptions they held that the bible was consistent and perfect, historically sound, that it had relevant lessons and instructions for us today, and that God had any direct involvement in its creation Many then, their faith shattered, swung to the opposite extreme, resulting in the modern assumptions that many biblical scholars now bring to the text After going through the Torah and sharing the evidence for the hyper critical modern interpretation of the text, Kugel ask Why should anyone seeking to worship God devote himself or herself to reading the etiological narratives and political self puffery of civilizations long dead, the guerrilla tactics and court shenanigans of various ancient kings, law codes endorsing herem and the stoning of a rebellious child, or statues forbidding Molech worship and similarly outdated concerns, psalms specifically designed to accompany the sacrificing of animals at a cultic site, or erotic love poetry All of these texts underwent a radical change in meaning when they began to be interpreted in the somewhat quirky, highly creative, and altogether God centered approach of the ancient scholars in the late biblical period The original meaning of these text disappeared In a sense, ancient interpreters rewrote every one of them, even though they did not change a word The question that poses itself to today s reader is can we still read the Bible with the approach and assumptions that these ancient interpreters brought to it, even though modern biblical scholarship has now convinced many people that that way of reading is quite out of keeping with the original meaning of the text Or to refine the question a bit , if you and I now know a little too much to espouse the old way of reading naively and unquestioningly, can we somehow nevertheless mange to espouse it as what the bible as distinguished from its original, constituent parts means Surprisingly, James Kugel who unlike conservative scholars, fully affirms this critical scholarship without any skepticism, does at the same time, as an orthodox Jew, sides with the ancient interpreters Not in the sense, that we read and interpret the bible as individuals from these ancient assumptions, but rather that the proper way to read the bible, is to accept the traditional interpretations of it I ll quote Kugel at length on this The text that make up the Bible were originally composed under whatever circumstances they were composed What made them the Bible, however, was their definitive reinterpretation, along the lines of the Four Assumptions of the ancient interpreters way of reading that was established in Judaism in the form of the Oral Torah Read the Bible in this way and you are reading it properly, that is, in keeping with the understanding of those who made and canonized the Bible Read it any other way and you have drastically misconstrued the intentions of the Bible s framers And later he wrote Yet here is the most interesting point the words of that Torah were evidently not sacrosanct On the contrary, as we have seen throughout this study, their apparent meaning was frequently modified or supplemented by ancient interpreters sometimes expanded or limited in scope, very often concretized through specific applications of homey examples, sometimes as with an eye for an eye actually overthrown An Obvious question arises if the law and the stories of the Pentateuch were deemed to come from God, how dare mere humans fiddle with them, adding to them, taking them out of context, changing their meaning, or even getting them to say the opposite of what they said this is, I believe the question to ask, since it reveals the very idea of Scripture at its essence The answer is that there was something considered evenimportant,powerful, than the words of the text themselves That something was precisely the standing up close mentioned above the supreme mission of serving God, of being God s familiar servants Scripture was sacred, butsacred still was the purpose underlying the very idea of Scripture How else to explain that the Torah s laws could be treated as they were, modified even within the Bible itself, and then lavishly, unashamedly expanded and reinterpreted and applied to the concrete situations of daily life by the ancient interpreters Indeed, this same tendency has carried through clearly even into modern times View from this perspective, the sometimes disturbing insights of modern scholarship must necessarily take on a different aspect In Judaism, Scripture is ultimately valued not as history, nor as theology, nor even as the great, self sufficient corpus of divine utterances all that God had ever wished to say to man.,,,What scripture is, and always has been, in Judaism is the beginning of a manual entitled to Serve God, a manual whose trajectory has always led from the prophet to the interpreter from the divine to the merely human To put the matter in, I admit, rather shocking terms since in Judaism it is not the words of Scripture themselves that are ultimately supreme, but the service of God that they enjoin, then to suggest that everything hangs on Scripture might well be described as a form of idolatry, that is, mistaking of the message for its Sender and the turning of its words into idols of wood and stone It is extremely clear to me that biblical authors in the New Testament interpreted their own scriptures according to the ancient assumptions, they would all, including Jesus, get an F in a seminary course, due to their little interest in the historical, cultural and grammatical context of the text and lack of regard for the original meaning of the text Of course, it is the same for the church fathers who came after them establishing orthodoxy, they clearly didn t use the historical grammatical method Sadly, I personally don t feel comfortable with using such an approach when I come to scripture and it is hard for me, to see how their interpretations are legit and authoritative, for the interpretive method they used can make the bible mean just about anything Many Christians today find comfort in just embracing tradition and accepting the church father s interpretation as authoritative and final It still seems only legit to embrace the ancient interpretations of scripture, if they are, creatively built upon something somewhat solid.I don t know how Kugel does it, to on the one hand accept the radical conclusions of modern scholarship that there is practically no historical basis for any of it no Abraham, no Moses, no exodus, no David, no God acting or speaking in history, and yet to somehow be happy with the ancient interpreters who appeared to be utterly deluded about the foundation of their faith, and built upon this sandy makeshift foundation fanciful speculations I personally think Kugel created a false dilemma for his readers, for he presents the ancient interpretations which seem dubious and absurd to many of us modern readers, and then he only shares the claims from biblical scholars which utterly dismantle the original text But what if there is a middle way It seems even if one wants to accept the ancient interpreters as the authoritative meaning of the bible, it is easier to do so, if there was something, a tiny something concrete to their faith, believing that maybe perhaps God actually did reveal himself to Abraham for example Sure, maybe there is legendary material, and a messy compiling of it, but it seems otherconservative scholars can make a decent case that there is reason to believe there is some historical basis to the faith My main problem with Kugel was that he hardly ever mentioned any objections to the biblical minimalist claims For example, I ve heard what sounded like strong arguments for the early dating of the exodus and conquest narrative, which results in a lot though admittedly not everything lining up with archaeological evidence The late date doesn t seem to have anything going for it, other than the fact in giving it a late date, none of the biblical claims line up with the current archaeological data which is precisely what current scholarship is trying to prove But now, if I said the American Civil War actually happened in the 1950 s, I could then point out how there is no archaeological evidence for this war and that thus the American Civil War never happened This is what it seems some scholars are doing I d appreciate if the author would have simply mention how some scholars challenge the now fashionable late dating of the exodus for reasons x,y and z, even if he disagreed for reasons a,b and c Instead he simply stated the late dating which implies there is no historical basis to any of it Maybe an already big book would be made too hefty if he shared abalance view of the current state of biblical scholarship


  9. says:

    A very approachable read Each chapter could be taken on its own, but there are a number of threads which flow throughout which Kugel brings together to great effect Be ready to get your hands, and preconceptions, dirty.


  10. says:

    For a long time I have been wanting to read the bible from an academic perspective, and this was definitely a fantastic place to start This is a truly fascinating book from start to finish It will turn the most devout believer into a bitof a skeptic in a respectful way , and will give the most skeptical atheist a much greater appreciation of the profundity of the Hebrew bible.

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