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Thursday, September 18, 2008

From "Forbidden Tales of the Bible"

To be sure, the Hebrew Bible includes generous portions of strict moral instruction, starting with the Ten Commandments and bulking up to include some 613 other dos and don'ts.  For that matter, there is little that one cannot find in the Bible, which is actually a fantastic grab bag of law, legend, history, politics, propaganda, poetry, prayer, ethics, genealogy, hygienic practices, military tactics, dietary advice, and carpentry instructions, among many other things,  But... the Bible is also a treasury of storytelling that recounts the lives of men and women who were thoroughly human, which is to say that they were as confused, conflicted, twisted, tortured, and vulnerable to the weaknesses of the flesh and failure of the spirit as any character in Homer, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, or any of the soap operas, bodice rippers, and tabloids that amount to the literature of our times.

- Jonathan Kirsch, The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Tales of the Bible (New York: Ballantine Books, 1997), 2.

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