Book Description Review James Kugels 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. Kugels interest in midrash is more than academic, however. He wants readers to consider the ways these early readings of the Bible affect todays 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. This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more 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. OConnell, DenverCopyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more See all Editorial Reviews