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God: A Biography by Jack Miles

God: A Biography (1995)

by Jack Miles

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Miles shows us God in the guise of a great literary character, the hero of the Old Testament. In a close, careful, and inspired reading of that testament - book by book, verse by verse - God is seen from his first appearance as Creator to his last as Ancient of Days. The God whom Miles reveals to us is a warrior whose greatest battle is with himself. We see God torn by conflicting urges. To his own sorrow, he is by turns destructive and creative, vain and modest, subtle and naive, ruthless and tender, lawful and lawless, powerful yet powerless, omniscient and blind. As we watch him change amazingly, we are drawn into the epic drama of his search for self-knowledge, the search that prompted him to create mankind as his mirror. In that mirror he seeks to examine his own reflection, but he also finds there a rival. We then witness God's own perilous passage from power to wisdom. For generations our culture's approach to the Bible has been more a reverential act than a pursuit of knowledge about the Bible's protagonist; and so, through the centuries the complexity of God's being and "life" has been diluted in our consciousness. In this book we find - in precisely chiseled relief - the infinitely complex God who made infinitely complex man in his image. Here, we come closer to the essence of that literary masterpiece that has shaped our culture no less than our religious life. In God: A Biography, Jack Miles addresses his great subject with imagination, insight, learning, daring, and dazzling originality, giving us at the same time an illumination of the Old Testament as a work of consummate art and a journey to the secret heart of God.
  PSZC | Apr 12, 2019 |
Over all I found this book fascinating, and well worth the read. Though-provoking and reasonable.

(from journal comment made in 2010...)
Ok, I have decided that what I recalled as Jack Miles (in God: A Biography -thanks to Betty for lending me the book on tape back in 1999) claiming a Masoretic change to the text of Job 42:5 must have been simply an alternative reading, not a change, nor even an alternate translation.

I searched and asked several of our Torah Trop leyning 'experts' who found nothing either, but I'd love to see Miles' sources...
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

22 February, 12016 HE
( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
The book recounts the tale of existence of the Judeo-Christian deity as the protagonist of the Hebrew Tanakh or Christian Bible Old Testament. The Tanakh and the Old Testament contain the same books, however, the order of the books is different. Miles uses the ordering found in the Tanakh to provide the narrative on which his analysis is based. The book's central structure is that God's character develops progressively within the narrative. The accounts of God's actions in the various books are then used to deduce information about God's nature and motivation.
  StFrancisofAssisi | Jan 31, 2019 |
So far, it's a good read. He notices that the difference in the order of books in the Jewish Bible and the Christian Old Testament means that the evolution / change / growth [my words] of God differs. Also the fact that the Tanach consists of scrolls in no required order is very different from a codex with a very definite, unchangeable order of pages.
  raizel | Apr 16, 2015 |
This book undertakes to analyze the evolving character of God as he is described in the Hebrew Bible (essentially the same as the Old Testament). I am not qualified to critique this work on any scholarly level but, for the interested layman, his conclusions are intriguing. If you are interested in religious mythic literature, or simply interested in learning more about your Christian roots, this book is well worth reading. It is hard work in the sense that it makes you think and challenges your assumptions about a work that, like it or not, forms one of the major foundations of our civilization. Miles vocabulary is that of a scholar; hence the material he presents takes time to digest. Still, well worth the effort involved. ( )
  turtlesleap | Jun 23, 2013 |
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That God created mankind, male and female, in his own image is a matter of faith. That our forebears strove for centuries to perfect themselves in the image of their God is a matter of historical fact.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679743685, Paperback)

Is it possible to approach God not as an object of religious reverence, but as the protagonist of the world's greatest book -- as a character who possesses all the depths, contradictions, and ambiguities of a Hamlet? How does he depend on the other characters, and how does his relationship with them show his development? Miles provides a learned, original exegesis that will send readers back to the Bible in curious amazement. Winner of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for biography.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

What sort of "person" is God? Is it possible to approach him not as an object of religious reverence, but as the protagonist of the world's greatest book--as a character who possesses all the depths, contradictions, and abiguities of a Hamlet? In this "brilliant, audacious book" (Chicago Tribune), a former Jesuit marshalls a vast array of learning and knowledge of the Hebrew Bible to illuminate God--and man--with a sense of discovery and wonder.… (more)

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