BAR 34:01, Jan/Feb 2008
Ancient Biblical Interpreters vs. Archaeology & Modern Scholars
How to Read the Bible
James L. Kugel
(New York: Free Press, 2007)
848 pp., $35 (hardback)
Around 25 years ago, Jim Kugel and I confided to each other that we each wanted to write a book for the general public. We both believed it important to make scholarship accessible to all. As it turned out, we each wrote several such books. His newest is How to Read the Bible. It is an important book.
Kugel here gives a guided tour of the Hebrew Bible, showing both what traditional interpreters said and what critical scholars and archaeologists have discovered. Kugel speaks for the scholars who respect both the old learning and the wonders that archaeology and critical scholarship have wrought. Working through both the ancient and new learning is a glorious process. And it is happening more and more in Biblical scholarship.