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Canon and Creativity: Modern Writing and the Authority of Scripture
by Robert Alter
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0300084242, Hardcover)The term canon, which originally referred only to the collection of sacred scriptures endorsed by ecclesiastical authority, has in recent decades been adapted to a secular context, as a name for the collection of great books most venerated by mainstream cultural authorities. The term's elasticity is the subject of Canon and Creativity: Modern Writing and the Authority of Scripture by literary critic Robert Alter (author of The Art of Biblical Narrative and translator of Genesis and The David Story). Alter begins with a brief essay on the history of the canon of the Hebrew Bible; his subsequent readings of Kafka, Joyce, and the Russian poet Bialik (who wrote in Hebrew) concentrate on the ways in which each writer's creative strengths were enabled by their reference to the biblical canon. Together, the four essays present a compact, understated argument against the idea that canon is merely "a vehicle for theological truths" and praising "the perennial liveliness of the old canonical texts as a resource for imagination and moral reflection." --Michael Joseph Gross
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:33:38 -0500)
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An edition of this book was published by Yale University Press.
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