God’s in His Heaven and Albright’s with the World
The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and FeelsThomas Cahill (New York: Doubleday, 1998) 291 pp., $23.50 (hardcover)
There is something special about the Hebrew Bible. Orthodox and fundamentalist believers can easily explain what it is that makes it so special—it is God’s word. For others in the modern period, whether Jewish, Christian or nonaffiliated, the answer is more elusive. Having let go of fundamentalism and its inerrant word, people still respect and revere the Bible, but they’re often not quite sure why. Maybe it’s the pull of habit or tradition. Or maybe there really is something that makes the Bible unique, even when it is seen as a text that originated in the course of human history and not through divine inspiration. Why does the Bible still cast its spell on us?