From Library Journal
Kirsch, an attorney and book critic, retells some of the juicier stories of the Bible in contemporary language. He expands upon the original biblical text to make the stories highly readable and includes with each the original text in modern translation and a brief sketch of the scholarly research and the speculation surrounding it. For those to whom Bible stories suggest "Disneyesque animals and simple uplifting moral lessons," this book may be a bit of a shock. Kirsch shows that the Bible is not a children's book. Then, as now, rape, incest, prostitution, murder, and strange religious cults were a part of life. As Kirsch says, "The Bible is a map of the human heart, and no secret chamber or hidden passage is left out." Kirsch contends that returning to the Bible can offer insight into modern issues. Mostly, however, he offers an irresistible popularization of some unfamiliar stories. Some readers will enjoy it; others will be highly offended. Recommended for public libraries.?C. Robert Nixon, MLS, Lafayette, Ind.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Although some of these biblical tales are not as "forbidden" as Kirsch makes out--both David's and Lot's stories have been on TV's Mysteries of the Bible
they do contain far more sex and violence than most readers would expect to find in a holy book. Demonstrating meticulous research and an enticing style, Kirsch recounts the rape of Dinah, in which the seducer of Jacob's daughter, along with 300 of his men, are circumcised and then murdered when they are too weak from their surgery to run; the seduction of Judah by his daughter-in-law Tamar; and the murder of Uriah by David, in order that David may have Uriah's wife, Bathsheba. Along the way, Kirsch comments perceptively on the implications of numerous instances of what he calls the "gyno-sadism" of the Bible--women being raped, gang-raped, and murdered. Along with excerpts from the Holy Scriptures according to Maoretic Text
, Kirsch retells the stories, places them in the context of the time, and thoroughly addresses levels of meaning for both the ancient and modern readers. Fascinating reading. Ilene Cooper