Ancient Interpretations of the Biblical Story of Jacob and His Children
Author: James L. Kugel
Pubpsher: Princeton University Press
Rife with incest, adultery, rape, and murder, the biblical story of Jacob and his children must have troubled ancient readers. By any standard, this was a family with problems. Jacob's oldest son Reuben is said to have slept with his father's concubine Bilhah. The next two sons, Simeon and Levi, tricked the men of a nearby city into undergoing circumcision, and then murdered all of them as revenge for the rape of their sister. Judah, the fourth son, had sexual relations with his own daughter-in-law. Meanwhile, jealous of their younger sibling Joseph, the brothers conspired to kill him; they later relented and merely sold him into slavery. These stories presented a particular challenge for ancient biblical interpreters. After all, Jacob's sons were the founders of the nation of Israel and ought to have been models of virtue. In The Ladder of Jacob, renowned biblical scholar James Kugel retraces the steps of ancient biblical interpreters as they struggled with such problems. Kugel reveals how they often fixed on a little detail in the Bible's wording to "deduce" something not openly stated in the narrative. They concluded that Simeon and Levi were justified in killing all the men in a town to avenge the rape of their sister, and that Judah, who slept with his daughter-in-law, was the unfortunate victim of alcoholism. These are among the earliest examples of ancient biblical interpretation (midrash). They are found in retellings of biblical stories that appeared in the closing centuries BCE--in the Book of Jubilees, the Aramaic Levi Document, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and other noncanonical works. Through careful analysis of these retellings, Kugel is able to reconstruct how ancient interpreters worked. The Ladder of Jacob is an artful, compelling account of the very beginnings of biblical interpretation.
The awareness of “light” as both a concept and a phenomenon existed long before it became a matter of scientific interest. This volume investigates the many ways in which light has been conceptualized throughout history. Employing different methodological approaches derived from various disciplines in the humanities, the essays gathered here situate the concept of light within discourses on gender, religion, intellectual life, politics, art, and digital culture. Through diverse perspectives, light is defined – in some cases synchronically – as a physical phenomenon, a visual tool, and a philosophic idea. This book combines the fields of intellectual studies, religion, literature, and visual culture to explore the complexities of conceptual paradigms that represent various manifestations of the idea of light. Through original readings, the contributing authors present a range of scholarly perspectives, offering new interpretations of the idea of light and its history within the humanities.
This book contains some silent monologues and outer dialogues coming from situations that arouse insight. Some entries date back to the early 1970s when this author first arrived in Canada yet they are relevant in today’s parlance as they highlight the gradual emergence of answers to some questions the poems raise. Though, in poetic format, this book is also an account of participant observation research wherein the observer comments on some very central questions in society around democracy, social inequality, sex discrimination, gun violence, subtle classroom discrimination from the perspective of six and seven-year olds, to mention but a few gems in this book. The title, `States of Consciousness’ as used in the book, refers to stages of growth of an individual or a collective. The states represent levels of growth or awareness in self- or group- understanding. In essence the book represents the writer’s journey along the highways to “Love”. The reader will grasp what is meant by “Love” as she/he reads through the heart of this work. Often great teachers in our midst are so busy living life and doing great things for humanity that taking time out to share life’s lessons and blessings becomes tedious. Facing this challenge, this author met some great non-human motivators as you are about to find out by reading this book.
The light ray is fractured and the universal planes are clashing. And fifteen-year-old Tarl Argon, who holds a special knowledge bestowed by his late mother, is called upon to balance these paths. The task seems impossible, but Tarl sees no alternative but to follow the plan. Tarls journey takes him to extraordinary worlds where he discovers he is capable of a lot more than he thought possible. But many questions haunt him. Will he find Truth and Light? Can he learn to understand the triangle of expanding life? Can he face his demons in time to pull these paths into alignment? Or will the prophesized catastrophes annihilate everything? As the universe rips, Tarls fears threaten to overwhelm him until he is confronted with a face he has seen in his dreams. Could this strange, young girl with the grey eyes be the key? He has seen her future in the Moon Gate but he must not let that future happen. With the help of his Uncle Rembeu the Teacher, Melik the Star Gazer, and Umbra the Light Worker, he must hope his imagination is only the beginning of what is possible.
A father talks (for the first time) to his dying son, unraveling extraordinary tales of sea adventures and spiritual encounters. Is this one-way conversation a mere conduit to these extraordinary tales, or is it the key for entering into the mundane drama of living, loving, parenting, and making lasting commitments, as against the manly heroics of taking risks, seducing the passing mermaid, dancing and boozing the night away, and, above all, being counted among the winners? Whichever way you decide to read this book, you will be taken to task by the author: suffering, wondering, enjoying, cursing and occasionally snickering. In the end, you will have to follow Jason to the end of his journey, and there be given the ultimate choice: of accepting what is, or cursing it.
Norman Mailer’s dazzlingly rich, deeply evocative novel of ancient Egypt breathes life into the figures of a lost era: the eighteenth-dynasty Pharaoh Rameses and his wife, Queen Nefertiti; Menenhetet, their creature, lover, and victim; and the gods and mortals that surround them in intimate and telepathic communion. Mailer’s reincarnated protagonist is carried through the exquisite gardens of the royal harem, along the majestic flow of the Nile, and into the terrifying clash of battle. An extraordinary work of inventiveness, Ancient Evenings lives on in the mind long after the last page has been turned. Praise for Ancient Evenings “Astounding, beautifully written . . . a leap of imagination that crosses three millennia to Pharaonic Egypt.”—USA Today “Mailer makes a miraculous present out of age-deep memories, bringing to life the rhythms, the images, the sensuousness of a lost time.”—The New York Times “Mailer’s Egypt is a haunting and magical place. . . . The reader wallows in the scope, depth, the sheer magnitude and—yes—the fertility of his imagination.”—The Washington Post Book World “An enormous pyramid of a novel [reminiscent of] Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow and Carlos Fuentes’s Terra Nostra.”—Los Angeles Herald Examiner Praise for Norman Mailer “[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”—The New York Times “A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”—The New Yorker “Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”—The Washington Post “A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”—Life “Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”—The New York Review of Books “The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”—Chicago Tribune “Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”—The Cincinnati Post