How to Read the Bible
A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now
James L. Kugel
Free Press, $35, 848 pp.
James Kugel’s elegantly written How to Read the Bible tries to be at least two things at once. On one level, it is an introductory textbook. On another, it is a meditation on “the larger question of what a modern reader ought to make of” the Bible. The book’s unusual character, on either level, lies in Kugel’s juxtaposition of two kinds of interpretation: that of the earliest Jewish and Christian interpreters, which he has already...
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