A Rabbi’s Bible

Written by Jonathan Magonet Reviewed By Richard S. Hess

The principal of Leo Beck college invites us on a journey to appreciate with him the Hebrew Bible and its interpretation. Drawing on his experience in inter-faith Bible studies, the author discusses different approaches to reading the Bible. He introduces us to some of the important literature of Judaism along the way. Fascinated by the different perspectives of viewing and telling a story, we join Balaam’s donkey in pondering the prophet’s problems. Magonet takes us along to the set of the King David movie, which he advised, and he draws parallels between movies and Bible reading. One need not agree with everything in the chapter on revelation to appreciate the importance of the relationship between the Bible and its reader for interpretation. The second half of the book is heavier going. It provides insights into the author’s liberal/Reform Jewish perspective on sin, salvation, prophets and the portrayal of God in the Hebrew Bible. The book is a good place to begin for the reader who knows little about modern Judaism.

Richard S. Hess

Denver Seminary, Denver