From Publishers Weekly
How does a person read the Bible, which is a product of another time and culture, and have it make sense? Brettler, who chairs the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis, begins with the complicated web of doctrine, history and myth that is the Hebrew Bible and untangles it until a clear and beautifully drawn picture emerges. His mode of interpretation is the "historical-critical" method—reading the text in its historical setting, employing critical methodology to explicate and, when possible, harmonize "the multiple ancient perceptions of God, preserved in our composite Bible." After explaining his approach, Brettler takes readers through the historical periods of the Bible, placing the stories in their proper context. He explains, for example, the importance of the Jewish exile in Babylon to the people's view of the prophetic calling. He also discusses the poetic books, their formation and content, and the messages of the prophets. The result is an eye-opening journey through a familiar text, a fresh look at an old story. Written for the beginning reader as well as the scholar, this is an outstanding introduction to the Hebrew Bible and the history of Israel, and should be widely read. (Dec.)
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“Written for the beginning reader as well as the scholar, this is an outstanding introduction to the Hebrew Bible and the history of Israel, and should be widely read.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“As a professor of biblical studies, I am frequently sent textbooks . . . and I often consult academic introductions to the field as well. None of them is as clear, sophisticated, and readable as this book. For Jewish and non-Jewish readers. . . . The book's accomplishments remain stellar.”—Benjamin D. Sommer; Sh’ma/Koret Book Review
(Benjamin D. Sommer Sh'ma/Koret Book Review
“You probably need this book. . . . To help span the gap between lay reader and specialist, Marc Brettler has written an extraordinarily accessible book. . . . Brettler is clearly a master.”—JBooks.com
“One of the most exciting Judaic studies books I've read in years. . . . Brettler’s writing is easy and clear enough for non-scholarly readers. I highly recommend his work.”—The Reporter