I just finished reading the Book of Job for the second time in two months, and this time I read it in a single day, which produced a new experience for me with this very old friend of a poem. Reading Robert Alter’s translation this time, I skipped his footnotes and read them only at … Continue reading Reading Job in a day →
I’ve been thinking a lot about eyelids. In the Book of Job, the King James Bible gives us a memorable phrase, “the eyelids of the morning” (41:18). Both Job and God speak this phrase, which is translated by Robert Alter as “eyelids of dawn.” A few days ago I came to the very end of … Continue reading The Eyelids of Job’s Daughter →
My two favorite, and possibly the best, translators of the Bible today were interviewed together on a podcast about a year ago: Speaking broadly and perhaps simply, Robert Alter produced a translation of the Hebrew Bible that shows in English that the original was great literature, while David Bentley Hart produced a New Testament that … Continue reading Podcast with Alter and Hart →
I am currently taking in Robert Alter’s reading of the Book of Job, in his “Art of Biblical Poetry.” Alter reads Job not primarily as a text containing ideas, questions and answers but firstly as a great poet’s depiction of the world and its Creator. What Alter finds is that God in his final speeches … Continue reading Robert Alter’s reading of Job →
My blog is new, so I’ve never picked out favorite books for a year, but here we go. My ten faves for 2021, fiction and nonfiction, out of the 66 books I read: 1. New Testament — the recent translation by David Bentley Hart 2. Notre Dame de Paris 3. Lonesome Dove 4. Huckleberry Finn … Continue reading Favorite books of 2021 (and 2020) →
“The Fellowship of the Ring” came out in theaters twenty years ago, almost to the day. Below is an essay that I wrote in the days after I saw it — an essay that, besides being a bit of a time portal, covers a ton of subjects about books, movies, history, religion, dead white males, … Continue reading The Fellowship of the Ring →
Some bloggers and BookTubers have been presenting Christmas material from novels, for example, this selection from “Little House In the Big Woods.” That one is part of a full series of Christmas-related readings, and I don’t have enough reading under me to list that many readings. But I’ll give one. It’s a scene, or rather … Continue reading Christmas, 1811 →
In honor of a sad sapling, and his Christmas tree. Hark! the herald angels sing,“Glory to the newborn King:peace on earth, and mercy mild,God and sinners reconciled!”Joyful, all ye nations, rise,join the triumph of the skies;with th’angelic hosts proclaim,“Christ is born in Bethlehem!” Refrain:Hark! the herald angels sing,“Glory to the newborn King” Christ, by highest … Continue reading Charlie Brown Christmas →
“But I cannot be satisfied without Fanny Price, without making a small hole in Fanny Price’s heart. You do not seem properly aware of her claims to notice. When we talked of her last night, you none of you seemed sensible of the wonderful improvement that has taken place in her looks within the last … Continue reading Fanny Price and Job →
two sons of abraham two israelite kingdomsnorth and south one destroyedand then the other two templesboth destroyed two jewish revoltstwo intifadahs two roman empireswest and east one destroyedand then the other two churches in schismtwo islams in contest none destroyed two prophets rejectedtwo religions born to contend two satansgreat and little two world warstwo genocides … Continue reading two sons of abraham →
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