By James L. Kugel

James Kugel's The Bible because it was once (1997) has been welcomed with common compliment. the following now could be the entire scholarly variation of this splendidly wealthy and illuminating paintings, increasing the author's findings into an incomparable reference paintings. targeting dozen middle tales within the Pentateuch--from the production and Tree of information during the Exodus from Egypt and trip to the Promised Land--James Kugel indicates us how the earliest interpreters of the scriptures significantly reworked the Bible and made it into the booklet that has come right down to us at the present time. Kugel explains how and why the writers of this formative age of interpretation--roughly two hundred B.C.E. to one hundred fifty C.E.--assumed this type of major function. Mining their writings--including the lifeless Sea Scrolls, works of Philo and Josephus and letters of the Apostle Paul, and writings of the Apostolic Fathers and the rabbinic Sages--he prices for us the seminal passages that discover this significant interpretive method. For this full-scale reference paintings Kugel has additional a considerable treasury of assets and passages for every of the 24 Bible tales. it is going to function a special consultant and sourcebook for biblical interpretation.

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Extra resources for Traditions of the Bible: A Guide to the Bible As It Was at the Start of the Common Era

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What is more, the common practice of interpreters writing in Greek to refer to "Moses;' "David;' "Solomon;' and others as the authors of this or that biblical composition-without further reference to them as mere conduits of the divine word-might suggest that, for such interpreters, the biblical compositions in question were fundamentally the product of human authors, however extraordinary the humans in question might be. But this is hardly so for a great many Greek-writing interpreters (as Philo of Alexandria, for example, makes clear), and evidence of the contrary view is occasionally explicit.

While this doctrine finds its fullest expression in rabbinic writings, its traces can be found far earlier. Thus, the fact that Jacob is said to dwell "in tents" (Gen. 25:27) was used to support the notion that he, unlike his brother Esau, had had some sort of schooling-that is, the plural "tents" here is interpreted to imply at least two tents, one for a school and one for home. This understanding of the special significance of "tents" is openly stated in some rabbinic texts, but it probably underlies as well the assertion that Jacob "learned to read" in the book of Jubilees (19:14).

Everything was held to apply to present-day readers and to contain within it an imperative for adoption and application to the readers' own lives. Paul's observation about the biblical narrative of the Israelites' wanderings in the desert, Now these things [that happened to the Israelites in the desert] happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come - 1 Cor. 10:11 is merely one formulation of an assumption that had long characterized ancient biblical interpretation.

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