Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bible as Literature

“A Literary Bible,” by ­David Rosenberg, is a large book though not, of course, a complete translation of the Hebrew Bible. Genesis is fairly full, though one looks in vain for the passage “In the beginning . . . ,” from which Genesis takes its title in both Hebrew and Greek. The Prophets, from Samuel to Jonah, get about 160 pages, and an anthology drawn from the Writings — notably the Psalms and Job — occupies the remaining half of the book. Each selection has a preface providing scholarly information and justification for the assumptions and procedures of the present translator. An epilogue, “How the Bible Came About,” makes these points in a more expansive way.

Read more about it here.

It is not in praise of the Creator that R. Crumb portrays him — in the splash page that begins his much-anticipated adaptation of Genesis in comic-book form — as Crumb sees his own father. He grew up in helpless terror of Charles Crumb Sr., a former Marine Corps master sergeant who lorded over his family with icy severity. Early in his progress on “The Book of Genesis,” Crumb was asked by Robert Hughes of Time magazine if he was drawing God to look like Mr. Natural (the burlesque cartoon shaman whom he has long employed to poke fun at pop spirituality). Crumb replied: “He has a white beard, but he actually ended up looking more like my father. He has a very masculine face.” Both paternity and masculinity are matters of dubious value to Crumb, a wonderfully unlikely candidate to breathe new life into the founding narrative of masculine privilege and paternal authority in the Judeo-Christian world.

Read more about it here.

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