Since I had just finished reading a fictional retelling of the story of the Biblical Dinah, I thought I'd move on to this book, which had been sitting on my shelf for a while. This book briefly retells a few of the more "scandalous" stories from the Bible (those involving rape, incest, murder, & such). The retellings are printed alongside the actual text of the original stories. Then, the author talks (at length) about the different possible translations and interpretations of these events, taking into account what various scholars throughout history have said regarding the stories, and how the events related were likely viewed by contemporary listeners, in the context of ancient middle-eastern culture and society. Kirsch is, overall, positive in his message, but is not afraid to relate the stories to present day politics, or to be critical.
It's a very interesting book - I think the "harlot" and "forbidden" stuff is mainly to reel in readers - hey, it worked on me - I don't read a whole lot of religious scholarship! But I found this to be a very interesting and illuminating book, and one that many many people would benefit from reading....
Forbidden? I did not know that! This book, however attempts to explain the reasons these stories were included in the Bible, giving us insight into the human condition as well as how "all things work together for good to those that love God"... God can turn the worst situations into lessons for us today.
"Sex. Violence. Scandal. These are words we rarely associate with the sacred text of the Bible. Yet in this brilliant book, Jonathan Kirsch recounts shocking tales that have been suppressed by religious authorities throughout history. He places each story within the political and social context of it's time,... explains why each one was originally censored, and shows how these ancient narratives hold valuable lessons for all of us."