Taken from both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, Joseph A. Soldati’s SACRIFICES: RETOLD AND UNTOLD STORIES FROM THE SCRIPTURES, retells and presents new variations of already familiar Biblical events and the characters and actions that shaped them. The poems, whose intent is neither heretical nor blasphemous, attempt neither to "prove" nor "disprove” any religious doctrine, but to point up the intensely human poignancy, the underlying ambiguities, contradictions, ironies and, occasionally, humor that open these tales for further wonder and reflection. How like and unlike us these men and women are! They are good, just, sad, heroic, ecstatic, cowardly, scheming, cruel, perplexed, funny, vile, loving, hurting, angry, and alone. These poems focus on heroes like Moses, Simon of Cyrene, and the unknown Samaritan, and sometimes with the villains--Eve and Adam, Goliath, Ahab and Jezebel, Herodias, and the thief at Calvary who did not believe. Soldati sympathizes not only with the victims of the Bible--Abel, Isaac, an inept soldier in Gideon's army, Uriah, Vashti, the brother of the prodigal son, Kandake's eunuch treasurer--but also with those heroes and heroines who become victims--Lot and his wife, Samson, and Uzziah. Moreover, the poet seems particularly fond of the Bible's lovers--Solomon and the Pharaoh's daughter, the bride and groom at Cana, and an observer watching Jesus ride into Jerusalem. He is also intrigued by those usually peripheral, often shadowy yet vital figures of Biblical lore--Noah's wife, Potiphar's wife, the innkeeper at Bethlehem, Lazarus, an unnamed soldier at Golgotha, Mary of Magdala, and the pagan goddess Artemis. And he may be among the few who see God as a victim, perhaps of Himself. SACRIFICES is a volume of poignant and unusual poems in which all of its Biblical characters articulate different, rather than expected, points of view. For example: “Life isn't easy on a raft.” – “Noah’s Wife”; and, “I was angry and alone. / No one had come to see me die.” – the unrepentant thief in “Cross.” In Soldati’s SACRIFICES are the utterances these men and women kept silent, the feelings and insights they suppressed for countless generations. Here, now, they speak for themselves even as they speak to us.