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The God of Old: Inside the Lost World of the Bible

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  65 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Our notion of God today -- all-powerful, invisible, and omnipresent -- is not the same as the God of the Hebrew Bible. So who is this "God of Old?" And what is His place in the modern spiritual world?
James Kugel is renowned for his investigations into the history of the biblical era, a time beginning more than three thousand years ago, when the Bible's earliest parts fir
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 5th 2004 by Free Press (first published 2003)
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Sep 08, 2010 Rachael rated it really liked it
Kugel presents fascinating insights into how various biblical episodes illuminate God's nature- stories we've all heard before but likely missed the strangeness of them. God was not an abstraction, but a reality close at hand and liable to break through into ordinary life at any moment. Angels, manifestations of God, would appear to biblical heros looking so much like ordinary men that the men and women visited did not realize it was 'the Lord' until the end of the scene. The world is not as it ...more
Bob Anderson
Mar 17, 2015 Bob Anderson rated it really liked it
I stopped by this book in the middle of one of Kugel’s others, How to Read the Bible, because the things he was talking about were fascinating though very long and complex. That book was about shifting interpretations of Biblical passages over time, and this one is about how people in the time of the Old Testament’s writing viewed spiritual matters in a fundamentally different way than people do now; certainly a different way than I was exposed to in my church growing up. One of Kugel’s premises ...more
Katherine Rowland
Kugel's premise is that how people view God has changed over time, even within the timeframe of the writing of the Bible. He attempts to use various Old Testament passages to reveal how the writers of the Old Testament would have thought about and perceived God. Along the way, he challenges what he considers the modern viewpoint of a huge, all-encompassing God who is separate and distinct from this physical world.

Kugel raises some interesting points and questions in the course of the book, but
Gabrielle Carolina Nash

If you've never read the Bible and are stumbling into religious studies, I might suggest The God of Old, however Kugel writes as if unaware of feminist biblical criticism, or, really, any form of biblical criticism, which just doesn't sit right with me.

Also, this book really lacked historical perspective. The idea that the Bible was read/thought of/seen differently from the way we see/read/think of the Bible and God today was expressed, but without enough reference.
Richard Hoch
Jan 28, 2014 Richard Hoch rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading it. Fascinating re-encounter with G-d as described in the Hebrew Bible (and some post-Biblical sources). Worth reading -- somewhat challenging for those of us who read the Bible in light of Maimonides or Aquinas, but definitely worth it. Kugel is an expert on the Bible who also writes clearly -- even if you disagree, you will at least know where he stands and why.
Jan 20, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it
Short & readable book exploring what the authors of the Hebrew Bible believed about God. According to this author, they did NOT have the same ideas about God as modern Jews & Christians do. Most interesting.
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