I live in Hoboken, a town of churches (and 1 synagogue – hi, Rabbi Scheinberg!) This small city’s Catholic character is obvious to any casual visitor, and certainly struck us strongly when we were scouting the place out and toured many apartments for sale above whose pristine beds, plumped up attractively for prospective buyers, sat crucifixes large and small. In fact, one of my neighbors has in her living room two huge portraits: one of Frank Sinatra, and one of the Pope.
Even the most casual observer of the Jewish community over recent years will have noticed that we Jews seem to have a problem talking nicely to each other. Because this problem usually manifests itself publicly around thorny and contentious issues, it’s easy to read it as the inevitable result of the passions generated by the issues themselves, and not necessarily the people involved.
In our secular, liberal age, the Bible and the classics often get a bad rap. The Bible represents everything modernity is not—free inquiry, divested of hoary beliefs—while the classics are often snidely dismissed as the hubristic fantasies of aging, if not already dead white males.
In his usually precise and incisive way, critic Adam Kirsch tackles a thorny issue: should Christians read their Bible like Jews read theirs? The occasion is a new book--"The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book"--by Case Western religion professor Timothy Beal, who is also the child of evangelical parents.