A thorough, readable addition to the consistently fecund Jewish-Christian conversation.



An ecumenical look at the Bible.

Biblical scholars Levine and Brettler, editors of The Jewish Annotated New Testament, tackle the worthy yet weighty task of examining the Jewish Scriptures through both Jewish and Christian eyes, seeking to promote further understanding between adherents of both religions. The authors make clear that while both Jews and Christians have similar beliefs regarding what is variously called the Tanakh, the Old Testament, or the Hebrew Bible, the lenses through which each religion views these Scriptures—as reflecting either the story of Israel or the story of Christ—are quite different. Additionally, the original hearers and readers of these Scriptures viewed the texts through yet a third type of lens. Demonstrating how these three views of Scripture differ from and interact with each other, Levine and Brettler hope “to foster a different future, where Jews and Christians come to understand each other’s positions and beliefs, and at the minimum, respectfully agree to disagree.” To perform this task, the authors present 10 passages or themes from the Tanakh and examine how each has been read in different eras and across various faith traditions. These passages all tie in closely with the Christian understanding of its own faith tradition, yet some may not be as essential to Jewish readers—e.g., the story of Adam and Eve, the priesthood of Melchizedek, the Suffering Servant in Isaiah, the story of Jonah. In each case, the authors provide context for the theme based on other Scriptures and on what scholars know of the language, culture, and events of the time. They go on to explain how the Scripture in question has been viewed by both Christians and Jews and why and how modern believers might be able to find a common ground of understanding and tolerance between these interpretations.

A thorough, readable addition to the consistently fecund Jewish-Christian conversation.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-256015-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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