The Bible as it was

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1999 - Religion - 680 pages
1 Review

This is a guide to the Hebrew Bible unlike any other. Leading us chapter by chapter through its most important stories--from the Creation and the Tree of Knowledge through the Exodus from Egypt and the journey to the Promised Land--James Kugel shows how a group of anonymous, ancient interpreters radically transformed the Bible and made it into the book that has come down to us today.

Was the snake in the Garden of Eden the devil, or the Garden itself "paradise"? Did Abraham discover monotheism, and was his son Isaac a willing martyr? Not until the ancient interpreters set to work. Poring over every little detail in the Bible's stories, prophecies, and laws, they let their own theological and imaginative inclinations radically transform the Bible's very nature. Their sometimes surprising interpretations soon became the generally accepted meaning. These interpretations, and not the mere words of the text, became the Bible in the time of Jesus and Paul or the rabbis of the Talmud.

Drawing on such sources as the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jewish apocrypha, Hellenistic writings, long-lost retellings of Bible stories, and prayers and sermons of the early church and synagogue, Kugel reconstructs the theory and methods of interpretation at the time when the Bible was becoming the bedrock of Judaism and Christianity. Here, for the first time, we can witness all the major transformations of the text and recreate the development of the Bible "As It Was" at the start of the Common era--the Bible as we know it.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

THE BIBLE AS IT WAS

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An extraordinary, pathbreaking scholarly achievement: an annotated anthology of interpretations of ancient (mostly 100 b.c.300 a.d.) interpretations of the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ALincolnNut - LibraryThing

James Kugel, of Harvard University, offers a compelling vision of the ancient development of Biblical interpretation through his far-reaching exploration "The Bible as It Was." Using Jewish and ... Read full review

Contents

The Creation of the World
51
Adam and Eve
65
Cain and Abel
83
Noah and the Flood
97
The Tower of Babel
121
Abraham Journeys from Chaldea
131
Melchizedek
149
The Trials of Abraham
163
Jacobs Sons in Egypt
263
Growing Up in Pharaohs Court
285
The Exodus from Egypt
309
The Red Sea
331
Into the Wilderness
353
At Mt Sinai
371
The Golden Calf
415
Worship in the Wilderness
439

Lot and Lots Wife
179
Jacob and Esau
197
Jacob and the Angel
215
Dinah
231
Josephs Ups and Downs
245
Trouble along the Way
461
The Bronze Serpent Balaam and Phinehas
477
TheLifeofTorah
501
Afterword
549
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

James L. Kugel is a Professor at Bar-Ilan University.

Bibliographic information