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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Jews and the Bible
Attias, Jean-Christophe
Camiller, Patrick, translator

Stanford, CA: Standford University Press, 2015 pp. xv + 235. $16.06

Series Information
Stanford Studies in Jewish History and Culture


Description: Despite its deceptively simple title, this book ponders the thorny issue of the place of the Bible in Jewish religion and culture. By thoroughly examining the complex link that the Jews have formed with the Bible, Jewish scholar Jean-Christophe Attias raises the uncomfortable question of whether it is still relevant for them. Jews and the Bible reveals how the Jews define themselves in various times and places with the Bible, without the Bible, and against the Bible. Is it divine revelation or national myth? Literature or legislative code? One book or a disparate library? Text or object? For the Jews, over the past two thousand years or more, the Bible has been all that and much more. In fact, Attias argues that the Bible is nothing in and of itself. Like the Koran, the Bible has never been anything other than what its readers make of it. But what they've made of it tells a fascinating story and raises provocative philosophical and ethical questions. The Bible is indeed an elusive book, so Attias explores the fundamental discrepancy between what we think the Bible tells us about Judaism and what Judaism actually tells us about the Bible. With passion and intellect, Attias informs and enlightens the reader, never shying away from the difficult questions, ultimately asking: In our post-genocide and post-Zionist culture, can the Bible be saved?

Subjects: Bible, Literature, Methods, Theological Approaches, Biblical Theology, Other Methods

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Review by Adele Berlin
Published 3/9/2016
Citation: Adele Berlin, review of Jean-Christophe Attias, The Jews and the Bible, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2016).


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