The Book of God

The Book of God : A Response to the Bible

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Is the Bible one book or a collection of writings? If it is a book, does it stand as a coherent piece of literature? In this beautifully written book Gabriel Josipovici answers these questions, drawing on his deep knowledge and appreciation of medieval and modern art and literature and on his personal understanding of the possibilities of narrative. His close textual analysis of the Bible not only lifts literary-biblical criticism to a new level but also makes the Bible accessible to our secular age. 'As 'A Resonse to the Bible', 'The Book of God' is fresh and energetic, scattering insights in all directions, making original and unexpected connections between the Bible and such modern authors as Proust, casting new light upon such questions as the Bible's place in Western culture and the nature of its authority, the unity and discontinuities of the text, and the need for a perspective that at once transcends and unites historical-theological and aesthetic interpretation.' Northrop Frye 'His book is easy, intimate, and direct, partly because he has digested all his learning, partly because his dissatisfaction with his predecessors' solutions never belittles them, and partly because his own readings are those of a cultivated contemporary who, though respectful, is not awestruck. Whatever he turns to, he illuminates.' The New Yorker 'Josipovici's insights ...deserve and need to be pondered by both literary critics and Biblical scholars.' John Barton, London Review of Books 'His urbane style, shrewd discernment, subtle humour, and, above all, his passion for words lead us to listen in fresh ways.' Walter Brueggemann, Theology Today 'This is a book to be grateful for: thoughtful, deeply felt, and beautifully written.' David Lodge, Independent Gabriel Josipovici is a novelist, literary theorist, critic and scholar. He was Professor of English at the University of Sussex, and Weidenfeld Professor of Comparative Literature at Oxford, and is now research professor in the Graduate School of Humanities, Sussex.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 165.9 x 234.2 x 20.6mm | 644.11g
  • Yale University Press
  • New Haven, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0300048653
  • 9780300048650
  • 1,045,620

Back cover copy

Is the Bible one book or a collection of writings? If it is a book, what kind of book is it and does it stand as a coherent piece of literature? Building on the recently renewed interest in biblical narrative associated with Erich Auerbach, Northrop Frye, and Robert Alter, Gabriel Josipovici here sets out to answer these and other equally fascinating questions. His beautifully written book constitutes a rethinking of the nature of the Bible and our relation to it.

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Review Text

Josipovici is a novelist (Contre-Jour, 1986), critic, and professor of English at the Univ. of Sussex, but he approaches his formidable subject in the best spirit of a true amateur. With a freshness that comes only of interest, he here investigates the nature of the Bible and how we might go about reading it. What is the difference between the Bible and any other book? Is it a coherent whole, or a "ragbag" of stories, poems, and religious instruction? Josipovici credits Martin Buber with giving him "a glimpse of how it might be possible to illuminate the Bible by looking at what it said rather than what lay behind it." He stays close to the text, then, illuminating his meditations with comparisons to Kafka, T.S. Eliot, and Thomas Mann - and with observations from other literary/biblical critics, including Frank Kermode and Northrop Frye, and from theologians as well. Always keeping the Bible as a whole in view, he examines the fundamental elements of rhythm, speech, and character throughout both the Old and New Testaments. A subtle and complex work, scrupulously wary of reductionism. Josipovici's reading reminds us that the Bible can perhaps never be finally explained and that a true reading such as his enforces an encounter with oneself as well as with the Bible. (Kirkus Reviews)

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