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
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Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 2011
|Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)|
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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.
“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
formedclayProvidence, RIAge: 25-34Gender: male1 Stars Out Of 5Starts interesting, ends abysmallyMarch 18, 2014formedclayProvidence, RIAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 1Value: 1Meets Expectations: 1This 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.