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The Bible As It Was Hardcover – November 1, 1997
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James Kugel's The Bible As It Was is an eye-opening study of early scriptural interpretation. Kugel focuses on readings of the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) from 100-300 A.D., particularly the Jewish tradition of midrash--a practice of filling in the narrative gaps where biblical stories are ambiguous or unclear. Kugel's interest in midrash is more than academic, however. He wants readers to consider the ways these early readings of the Bible affect today's popular understandings of scriptural texts (such as the sacrifice of Isaac or the creation in Genesis); and he provides a convincing description of the richness and complexity that informs what seem to many like simple, commonsense readings of scripture.
From Library Journal
Kugel (Hebrew literature, Harvard Univ. and Bar Ilan Univ., Israel) attempts to reconstruct the Bible as it was understood in the closing centuries B.C.E. and at the very start of the common era. His work is designed to serve as the popular complement to a more scholarly book, soon to be published by Harvard University Press. Here, Kugel aims to show how traditional interpretive motifs regarding the Bible were formed, came to be idealized, and were even regarded as indistinguishable from the biblical text itself, whether by Jews or early Christians. Half of this work is given to elucidating major interpretive motifs drawn from Genesis, the remainder, to major interpretive traditions drawn from Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Kugel has marshaled a great many ancient sources. This important work for intelligent readers should be acquired by all general readership libraries and especially by those intended for theological and sociological research.?Robert H. O'Connell, Denver
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Dr Kugel gives us the incredible backstory of the Bible (in this case, the Old Testament). It is infinitely more extensive than people know and Dr Kugel ferrets out the most fascinating details that are lost to most lovers of our wonderful Bible.
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"I often tell students that if they are looking for what you call "historical proof," they are probably in the wrong field.The Bible As Read and Preached in the Old Synagogue (The Library of Biblical studies)Read more