Classics and Religious Studies


Date of this Version

June 1998


Published in Bible Review XIV:3 (June 1998), pp. 10-12. Copyright 1998 Biblical Archeological Society. Used by permission.


Many modern readers think of the Bible as a "dry and preachy" book, not having much sympathy for the all-too-human passions of sex, violence and greed. In this book, Jonathan Kirsch, author, book columnist for the Los Angeles Times and practicing lawyer, attempts to change that impression, to reveal the Bible's fullness in recounting human complexity. In the process, Kirsch hopes "to take back the Bible from the strict and censorious people who wave it in our faces and to restore it to the worldly man or woman who will appreciate the flesh-and-blood passions that are described in the Holy Scriptures."

Unlike most books about the Bible, this one begins with a warning: "The stories you are about to read are some of the most violent and sexually explicit in all of Western literature. They are tales of human passion in all of its infinite variety: adultery, seduction, incest, rape, mutilation, assassination, torture, sacrifice, and murder. And yet every one of these stories is drawn directly from the pages of the Holy Bible."

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