Interview with Sarah Ruden

In the past month, I interviewed Sarah Ruden about her new book, The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible (published by Pantheon Books), and her new translation of St. Augustine’s Confessions (published by The Modern Library). The two interviews can be found here and here, respectively.

In the run up to the interviews and in their wake, Sarah and I traded messages about Augustine, the Bible, and other topics. Sarah kindly granted me permission to reproduce parts of our exchange here in an edited format.

Garrett: I can’t help but begin by asking: Is there a work of Greek or Latin literature that is unduly overlooked? Or, to put a different spin on the question, is there a work of Greek or Latin literature that should be better known or more widely read by Christians?

Sarah: I’m an interested party, because I’ve translated this work myself, but still I can’t resist recommending Apuleius’s Golden Ass, a comic novel of the mid-second century A.D. The book gives vivid pictures of ordinary people’s lives at a time of great growth in Christianity. Also, the story is full of moral and religious themes and offers the most detailed account to date of a religious conversion; the conversion is to the worship of the goddess Isis, but the differences from and similarities to Christian conversions are fascinating in themselves.
Continue reading “Interview with Sarah Ruden”

Interview with Marc Brettler

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cover of the second edition

This transcript is a lightly edited version of an interview that took place on September 1, 2015, and retains its oral style.

Interviewer: Hello. Welcome to New Books and Biblical Studies, where we look at New Books about the Bible—from modern day commentaries and art books to scholarly monographs and reference works.

On today’s program, I’m talking with Marc Brettler about the second edition of The Jewish Study Bible, published by Oxford University Press, which he co‑edited with Adele Berlin.

Professor Brettler is Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor of Judaic Studies at Duke University’s Center for Jewish Studies, and member of Duke’s Department of Religious Studies. From 1986 to 2015, he taught Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, and since 2001 was the Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies. Continue reading “Interview with Marc Brettler”

Fall 2015 books

At BookExpo two weeks ago, I had a chance to preview some of the forthcoming titles in the fall 2015 season. Here is a select list of books that looked the most promising.

August

Raymond Tallis, The Black Mirror: Looking at Life through Death (Yale UP)—the author of Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity

September

Mark Edmundson, Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals (Harvard UP)

Aviya Kushner, The Grammar of God: A Journey into the Words and Worlds of the Bible (Spiegel & Grau)

Candida Moss and Joel Baden, Reconceiving Infertility: Biblical Perspectives on Procreation and Childlessness (Princeton UP)

October

Leo Damrosch, Eternity’s Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake (Yale UP)

Harry G. Frankfurt, On Inequality (Princeton UP)—from the author who brought you On Bullshit

Philip Jenkins, The Many Faces of Christ: The Thousand-Year Story of the Survival and Influence of the Lost Gospels (Basic Books)

Tom Lewis, Washington: A History of Our National City (Basic Books)

November

Mary Beard, S.P.Q.R.: A History of Ancient Rome (Liveright/Norton)

Craig Koester, Revelation: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries)—paperback release

Jon D. Levenson, The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism (Princeton UP)

John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume V: Probing the Authenticity of the Parables (Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library)—in which he argues that only four parables—those of the Mustard Seed, the Evil Tenants, the Talents, and the Great Supper—can be attributed to Jesus with certitude.

December

Diana Fuss and William Gleason, The Pocket Instructor: Literature: 101 Exercises for the College Classroom (Princeton UP)

Early 2016

J. Richard Gott, The Cosmic Web: Mysterious Architecture of the Universe (Princeton UP)—the author of Sizing Up the Universe (National Geographic, 2012)

Leonard Sax, The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups (Basic Books)—the author of Why Gender Matters

Miroslav Volf, Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World (Yale UP)

New Books in Biblical Studies

From the looks of this site, it seems as if I took a hiatus from posting for Lent. Unfortunately, that wasn’t intentional. But I have been focused on a new endeavor—becoming a host for the New Books Network. My “channel” is New Books in Biblical Studies, and my first podcast, an interview with Tremper Longman about his new commentary on the Psalms, is now up on the site. Please let me know what you think of it! I’ll be posting new interviews each month.

Most Anticipated Books of 2015

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Here are a few of the books that I am most looking forward to reading in 2015. (I will announce some fall books later this spring, after BookExpo.)

Happy reading!

 

 

 

January

February

March

May

  • Kirsten Powers, The Silencing (Regnery)—Powers has been an outspoken and visible witness to those on the Left. Her book will likely be more honest than David Shipler’s forthcoming book, Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword (Knopf).

June

July

farther out

  • Jan Assmann, The Book of Exodus: A Biography (Princeton University Press)
  • George Marsden, C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity: A Biography (Princeton University Press)
  • Robert Alter, translator, Isaiah (W. W. Norton)

recent honorable mention

Christmas 2014: Favorite Children’s Books

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Following my previous post about my favorite books of 2014, I wanted to share a few of my favorite contemporary children’s authors. After having gone through scores of books that had been stored up from my 1970s childhood, and having been throughly unimpressed by most of them, I have been struck by the quality of the storytelling and illustrations in recent years. Here are a few standouts. Continue reading “Christmas 2014: Favorite Children’s Books”