The Book of J

The Book of J

by David Rosenberg
     
 

Scholars agree that the first strand in Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers was written by an author whom they call J, who lived in the tenth century before Christ.

In The Book of J, accompanying David Rosenberg's startling new translation, America's greatest literary critic, Harold Bloom, asserts that J was a writer of the stature of Homer, Shakespeare, and Tolstoy…  See more details below

Overview

Scholars agree that the first strand in Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers was written by an author whom they call J, who lived in the tenth century before Christ.

In The Book of J, accompanying David Rosenberg's startling new translation, America's greatest literary critic, Harold Bloom, asserts that J was a writer of the stature of Homer, Shakespeare, and Tolstoy and puts forth the revolutionary idea that J was very likely a woman.

J was a genius with unmatched powers of irony and characterization, as shown in her unforgettable and very human portraits of Abram and Sarai, Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel, Joseph, Tamar, and Moses — and, above all, God, or Yahweh. The Book of F reclaims the Bible's first and greatest author and presents us with the full grandeur of her creation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly

Betsy Byars began her writing career rather late in life. "In all of my school years, . . . not one single teacher ever said to me, 'Perhaps you should consider becoming a writer,'" Byars recalls. "Anyway, I didn't want to be a writer. Writing seemed boring. You sat in a room all day by yourself and typed. If I was going to be a writer at all, I was going to be a foreign correspondent like Claudette Colbert in Arise My Love. I would wear smashing hats, wisecrack with the guys, and have a byline known round the world. My father wanted me to be a mathematician." So Byars set out to become mathematician, but when she couldn't grasp calculus in college, she turned to English. Even then, writing was not on her immediate horizon.

First, she married and started a family. The writing career didn't emerge until she was 28, a mother of two children, and living in a small place she called the barracks apartment, in Urbana, Illinois. She and her husband, Ed, had moved there in 1956 so he could attend graduate school at the University of Illinois. She was bored, had no friends, and so turned to writing to fill her time. Byars started writing articles for The Saturday Evening Post, Look,and other magazines. As her family grew and her children started to read, she began to write books for young people and, fortunately for her readers, discovered that there was more to being a writer than sitting in front of a typewriter.

"Making up stories and characters is so interesting that I'm never bored. Each book has been a different writing experience. It takes me about a year to write a book, but I spend another year thinking about it, polishing it, and making improvements. I always put something of myself intomy books — something that happened to me. Once a wanderer came by my house and showed me how to brush my teeth with a cherry twig; that went in The House of Wingscopyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

Library Journal
Modern biblical critics have called the author of the oldest texts in the Hebrew Bible J, standing for Jahweh. Bloom and translator Rosenberg, authors of many works of literary criticism and of Jewish and biblical studies, have collaborated on a clear but controversial translation and analysis of parts of the Pentateuch using the term Jahweh. Bloom claims that the author of J was a woman, living in or at the time of the Solomonic court, 950-900 B.C.E., who wrote these selections not as a religious or historical treatise but as a literary work that Bloom compares to Shakespeare. While Rosenberg's translation is both modern and moving, he has made significant changes in the meanings of the Hebrew text. The proofs offered for these theories are no substitute for hard evidence. Nevertheless, The Book of J deserves consideration as a literary work.-- Maurice Tuchman, Hebrew Coll. Lib., Brookline, Mass.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802110503
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
08/01/1990
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
288

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