Wide-ranging introductions to books of the Bible.
This book collects for the first time introductions written by 33 authors—E.L. Doctorow, Charles Frazier, Nick Cave and the Dalai Lama among them—for the late-’90s book series Pocket Canons. The non-religious; lapsed members of a faith tradition; and those on the margins of a tradition comprise the majority of contributors. They seem to have been chosen, as editor Holloway states in his introduction, to demolish a “blinkered and partisan view of the Bible.” Approaches vary widely: There are heartfelt reflections, academic regurgitations, political statements. Unfortunately, despite the title, there are only limited revelations. A few writers do offer meaningful and personal reflections on their assigned text, Bono (on The Book of Psalms) and Darcey Steinke (on The Gospel According to John) included. But the authors for the most part spend a great deal of energy on well-studied academic discussion, leaving limited room for personal musings. In too many cases (especially regarding Old Testament books), they react to their subjects first and foremost through the lens of historical criticism: Once a text’s legitimacy as truth has been sufficiently questioned, the material is approached as myth or poetry.