By James L. Kugel
Scholars from diverse fields have joined forces to reexamine each element of the Hebrew Bible. Their learn, performed in universities and seminaries in Europe and the USA, has revolutionized our realizing of virtually each bankruptcy and verse. yet have they killed the Bible within the process?
In How to learn the Bible, Harvard professor James Kugel leads the reader bankruptcy by means of bankruptcy in the course of the "quiet revolution" of contemporary biblical scholarship, displaying again and again how significantly the interpretations of state-of-the-art researchers range from what humans have continually inspiration. the tale of Adam and Eve, it seems, was once now not initially concerning the "Fall of Man," yet in regards to the circulate from a primitive, hunter-gatherer society to a settled, agricultural one. As for the tales of Cain and Abel, Abraham and Sarah, and Jacob and Esau, those narratives weren't, at their starting place, approximately person humans in any respect yet, particularly, factors of a few function of Israelite society because it existed centuries after those figures have been acknowledged to have lived. Dinah was once by no means raped -- her tale used to be created by means of an editor to resolve a definite challenge in Genesis. within the earliest model of the Exodus tale, Moses most likely didn't divide the crimson Sea in part; as an alternative, the Egyptians perished in a hurricane at sea. regardless of the unique Ten Commandments could have been, students are rather yes they have been diverse from those we've got at the present time. what is extra, the folks lengthy alleged to have written numerous books of the Bible weren't, within the present consensus, their actual authors: David didn't write the Psalms, Solomon didn't write Proverbs or Ecclesiastes; certainly, there's scarcely a e-book within the Bible that isn't the fabricated from varied, nameless authors and editors operating in several classes.
Such findings pose a major challenge for adherents of conventional, Bible-based faiths. Hiding from the discoveries of recent students turns out cheating, yet accepting them ability undermining a lot of the Bible's reliability and authority because the note of God. What to do? In his look for an answer, Kugel leads the reader again to a bunch of historic biblical interpreters who flourished on the finish of the biblical interval. faraway from naïve, those interpreters consciously got down to leave from the unique which means of the Bible's numerous tales, legislation, and prophecies -- they usually, Kugel argues, carry the most important to fixing the limitation of studying the Bible this day.
How to learn the Bible is, without difficulty, the easiest, most unusual publication concerning the Bible in many years. It deals an unflinching, insider's examine the paintings of contemporary students, including a sustained attention of what the Bible used to be for many of its historical past -- earlier than the increase of recent scholarship. Readable, transparent, frequently humorous yet deeply severe in its function, it is a booklet for Christians and Jews, believers and secularists alike. It bargains not anything under an entire new state of mind approximately sacred Scripture.