THE LITERARY GUIDE TO THE BIBLE by Robert & Frank Kermode--Eds. Alter
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Sure to be a classic, a fascinating standard text, these book-by-book analyses by different hands of each portion of both Old and New Testaments stress the narratological (as opposed to midrashic tendencies of Hartmann and Bloom), consistent with the editors' major works (Alter's books on Biblical narrative and poetry and Kermode's magisterial The Genesis of Secrecy). Each Biblical book is examined not as ""the Bible as literature,"" but with specific textual instruments of great sophistication (the ideas of Bakhtin, Mary Douglas and Erving Goffman are as available here as the works of the classical hermenuticists). Especially impressive are J.P. Fokkelman on Genesis and Exodus; Joel Rosenberg on Jeremiah and Ezekiel; the Vatican scholar Luis Alonso Schokel on Isaiah; Kermode on Matthew; and John Drury on Mark and Luke. Additionally, and quite purposefully, the editors and contributors keep an eye on the shiftings of canonical reevaluation (the Old Testament, for instance, as mere prelude to the New)--Gabriel Josipovici's edgy, limber essay on The Epistle to the Hebrews and The Catholic Epistles is the best example. Everything that one would want from a book such as this--erudition, stylistic grace, catholicity, and revelation--is achieved here. A milestone.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
ISBN: 0674875311
Publisher: Harvard Univ. Press