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Bible Review, October 2002



David’s Threat to Nabal

How a little vulgarity got the point across

By Peter J. Leithart

When David first meets Abigail, his second wife-to-be, she is married to another man, a prosperous farmer named Nabal. In Hebrew, Nabal’s name means “Fool,”1 a clear sign that he won’t amount to much in the biblical world. Indeed, Nabal dies almost as soon as he is...Read more ›


A model medieval king

By Richard Leson

The tumultuous world of ancient Israel collides with that of medieval Europe in a lavish 13th-century picture book now housed in the Pierpont Morgan Library, in New York, and used to illustrate the preceding article in this issue (see “David’s Threat to Nabal”). The conflicts of Abraham,...Read more ›

Unwrapping the Torah

Making a symbol real again

By Tikva Frymer-Kensky

The Bible plays an enormous role in Jewish ritual life. Many of the psalms have been incorporated into the synagogue liturgy, forming an essential component of the regular daily services, as well as the Sabbath and festival services. On Jewish festivals, entire books of the...Read more ›

Christian and Jewish Views of the Holy Land

Visiting sacred sites vs. working the land

By Aaron Demsky

The famous mosaic map in a church in Madaba, Jordan, and the not-so-famous mosaic inscription from an ancient synagogue near Tel Rehov, in Israel’s Beth-Shean Valley, reflect two very different views of sacred geography. In Christianity, the Holy Land is perceived as the totality of...Read more ›

The Two Faces of Jesus

How the early church pictured the divine

By Robin M. Jensen

In the upper reaches of the Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, just below the painted wood ceiling, appears a striking series of 26 mosaics portraying the life and passion of Jesus. Dating to the early sixth century, they constitute one of the oldest—perhaps the...Read more ›