The Shadow of a Great Rock Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible a Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible  -     By: Harold Bloom
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The Shadow of a Great Rock Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible a Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible

Yale University Press / 2011 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Analyzing passages from the KJV, Tyndale, Coverdale, and Geneva Bibles alongside the original Hebrew and Greek texts, Bloom candidly discusses which are the most accurate, which are the most sublime. "By any reckoning Bloom is one of the most stimulating literary presences of the last half-century,"---New York Times. 320 pages, hardcover. Yale University.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0300166834
ISBN-13: 9780300166835
Availability: In Stock

Publisher's Description

The King James Bible stands at "the sublime summit of literature in English," sharing the honor only with Shakespeare, Harold Bloom contends in the opening pages of this illuminating literary tour. Distilling the insights acquired from a significant portion of his career as a brilliant critic and teacher, he offers readers at last the book he has been writing "all my long life," a magisterial and intimately perceptive reading of the King James Bible as a literary masterpiece.

Bloom calls it an "inexplicable wonder" that a rather undistinguished group of writers could bring forth such a magnificent work of literature, and he credits William Tyndale as their fountainhead. Reading the King James Bible alongside Tyndale's Bible, the Geneva Bible, and the original Hebrew and Greek texts, Bloom highlights how the translators and editors improved upon—or, in some cases, diminished—the earlier versions. He invites readers to hear the baroque inventiveness in such sublime books as the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Job, and alerts us to the echoes of the King James Bible in works from the Romantic period to the present day. Throughout, Bloom makes an impassioned and convincing case for reading the King James Bible as literature, free from dogma and with an appreciation of its enduring aesthetic value.

Author Bio

Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University. He lives in New Haven, CT.

Editorial Reviews

“A fascinating, intellectually nimble tour de force.”—Yvonne Zipp, Washington Post
Booklist, named A Top 10 Book in Religion and Spirituality, 11/15/2011

“Bloom celebrates King James not for anything so pedestrian as ‘accuracy’ but for what he himself has championed during his long and distinguished career as a literary critic: creative misreading.”—Edward Alexander, Chicago Jewish Star
 “Bloom yields to the KJB’s literary splendor—and invites readers to join in his surrender.”—Booklist, starred review

“Just fascinating, brilliant, and reliably Bloomsian.”— Mark Sarvas, The Elegant Variation

"Bloom . . . has many arresting things to say and says them, often, with exquisite precision.  He is, by any reckoning, one of the most stimulating literary presences of the last half-century - and one of the most protean, a singular breed of scholar-teacher-critic-prose-poet-pamphleteer."—Sam Tanenhaus, New York Times Book Review

“Bloom reveals his own magisterial, sometimes mischievous, self in his meditations on the masters with whom he connects.”—Iain Finlayson, The Times

“Ah, then there’s Harold Bloom, America’s giant of a literary critic. . . . In The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life, Bloom pulls off a masterly connecting of the dots through the literary canon and his own life with his usual breathtaking eloquence.”—Publishers Weekly

"Bloom’s erudite mix of acerbic judgments (e.g., the New Testament's literary ugliness) and awed delight ('the biblical David is an incarnate poem') offers readers a fresh take on an old book."—Publishers Weekly

“The greatest strength of Bloom's volume comes in helping the reader navigate to, and through, the finest literary passages of the Bible; explaining how the ancient verses have influenced the past four centuries of Western literature.”—Deseret News

“Exhilarating, provocative. . . . Bloom [enriches] his remarks with lively associations and frequent references to his beloved Shakespeare (did you know that Hamlet's divided personality has much in common with King David's?). . . . When [Bloom] praises the English translators of John's Gospel, he calls their interpretation ‘dazzling in its audacity.’ The same, of course, can be said of this book.”—Nick Owchar, Los Angeles Times

Product Reviews

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  1. Providence, RI
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    Starts interesting, ends abysmally
    March 18, 2014
    Providence, RI
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 1
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    This is not just a book about his own personal faith and distorted theology, but a trashing of the Bible from a highly biased, self-indulgent, subjective literary lens. Bloom's own 'Kabbalah and Criticism' was nothing but a love fest on that topic. Here, he goes to the very source (the Bible) behind his own abstract leaning towards Christianized Gnosticism and Jewish Kabbalah, and proceeds to rip the Bible apart; and not just the King James version either.

    The book starts off intriguingly enough, although with the usual speculative modern scholarship ('Jahwist, 'Priestly', 'multiple Isaiahs', 'Q', etc. He is the co-athor of atrocious 'Book of J' after all.)

    That aside, he offers some interesting interpretations, mostly from Genesis and also between God and Moses; yet once he arrives to Jeremiah, leave any expectation of quality insights behind. By the time he arrives to Acts and the letters of Paul, it is nothing but pure, popular vitriol against Paul's challenging, philosophical and unique writings.

    Also, the previous lengthy essays about the Torah, are whittled down to nothing but bitter concise notes; ending in a spectacular finish by declaring nothing relevant about Revelation but his dislike for 'apocalyptic literature'.

    Bloom, a self-confessed Gnostic and of a seemingly traditional Orthodox Jewish upbringing (what a contradiction, yet wait for it...), confesses a massive dislike of Yahweh, in true Gnostic fashion. That mistrust of Yahweh, then obviously hinders everything about this work.

    I'm not even sure why he bothered with this endeavor. How this is an 'appreciation' and an attempt at objective, respectful literary insight, is beyond me.
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