Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds

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Harcourt Brace, 1998 - Religion - 658 pages
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With wit, elegance, and clarity, Surpassing Wonder illuminates the ancient Hebrew scriptures, the Christian "New Testament", and the Talmuds of the Rabbis by showing who wrote them, under what circumstances, and why they were given the shape they have. These works constitute the very core of our cultural consciousness and in every century have been hidden from us -- first by priests, then by fundamentalists, and now by narrow scholars.

Here, with biting irreverence for prejudice and pretension, Donald Akenson renews our sense of awe before these sacred works by encountering them head-on, by setting them in their historical and political context -- and by daring to speculate that there was one author-editor of the Hebrew scriptures, and one for the Christian New Testament, and that the inventor of the Hebrew scriptures should be credited with constructing the very foundations of Western culture. He simultaneously restores their spiritual power through a just appreciation of the authors' achievement and provides a brilliant expose of how theologians and biblical scholars abuse historical reasoning and evidence in their treatment of the sacred texts.

Using images that range from Winnie-the-Pooh to tractor mechanics, this world-renowned historian creates for us a radical reformation of the sacred texts as he breathes new life into our religions and helps us understand, and revere, the heritage that flows from Jerusalem.

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SURPASSING WONDER: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Venturing as an amateur into biblical and Judaic studies, historian Akenson (Queen's University, Ontario) constructs a brilliant integrative theory of continuities and parallels between Hebrew ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stevenschroeder - LibraryThing

Akenson describes Surpassing Wonder as a long love letter to Tanakh, the "New Testament," and the Talmuds. Readers are well advised to approach the book with something of a lover's patient indulgence ... Read full review


Us and the Semites
Apparent Woe and Great Invention
Returning with Yahweh to Jerusalem

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Aboth Aggadah ancient Antiochus Epiphanes antisemitism apocalyptic argument author-editors Babylon Babylonian exile Babylonian Talmud Bar Kokhba revolt Bavli belief Bible biblical binic Book Book of Chronicles Book of Daniel Book of Enoch Book of Jubilees Book of Kings Book of Revelation canon century chapter Christian Christian scriptures church fathers Common Era concept covenant criterion of embarrassment Daniel David Flusser Dead Sea Scrolls destruction Deuteronomy discussion documents E.P. Sanders Elaine Pagels Enoch Essene faith gemara Genesis-Kings unity Geza Vermes Gnostic Gospel Gospel of John Gospel of Mark Gospel of Matthew Gospel of Peter Gospel of Thomas Halachah Harold Bloom Hasmonean Hebrew Bible Hebrew scriptures Hellenistic Herod Herod's Temple historians historical Yeshua However ical invention inventors Israel Israelites Jacob Neusner Jerusalem Jerusalem Talmud Jesus Jesus Seminar Jewish Jews John Josephus Judahist King kingdom of Judah Kodashim Land of Israel later Second Temple Luke Maccabean Maccabean revolt Maccabees Marcion Martin Noth Masoretic Text Matthew Messiah Mishnah Moses Moshiah narrative Old Testament oral Oral Torah Palestine Passover Pentateuch Pharisees priests prophets Pseudepigrapha Qumran Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic literature Red Letter Edition reference religion religious resurrection Richard Elliott Friedman Roman Sadducees Sages Sanhedrin scholars Second Temple Second Temple era Second Temple Judahism Septuagint Shammai Sifra Signs Gospel Solomon's Temple Sonc sources story Synoptic Synoptic Gospels Tanakh Temple Scroll Testament texts tion Torah Tosefta tractate tradition translation usucaption Virgin Birth War Scroll writings written Yahweh Yahwist Yavneh Yerushalmi Yeshua Yeshua of Nazareth Yohanan ben Zakkai

About the author (1998)

Donald Harman Akenson is Professor of History at Queen's University, Kingston (Canada), and Beamish Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool, England. A senior editor at McGill-Queen's University Press, he is an award-winning author of numerous books on a wide range of topics,
including Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds.

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