This is an explanation of the Old Testament, from Genesis to Kings, with particular reference to the subject books in their human and literary dimensions. Sister Laurentia's intention is simply to tell the story of the first part of the Bible through the personalities most involved -- Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samson, Ruth, David, etc. -- pointing out, where helpful or necessary, the writers' literary stratagems, and explaining the peculiar social and political circumstances of the subject periods. To the extent that the book is indeed a mine of information about the lives and times of the great biblical figures, the author has succeeded in her purpose. On the other hand, the material is so cluttered with quotations, from authors ancient and modern, which Sister too naively assumes to be illustrative of her text, so enmeshed in the archaicism of rhetorical preciosity, and so bizarre in its confusion of conjecture with fact, that the reader must inevitably decide the prize not to be worth the game. It is a pity, for the author at times gives signs of undeniable talent; but it is an undisciplined talent, one much in need of firm guidance from an editor with a limitless supply of blue pencils.