Reading the Lines: A Fresh Look at the Hebrew BibleBy Pamela Tamarkin Reis (Hendrickson Publishers, 2003) 239 pp., $24.95 (hardback)
If Pamela Tamarkin Reis is right, then the great majority of scientific Bible scholars of our time are wrong. They say that the Bible is a composite of materials that come from many different sources, pasted together by a redactor, and that this accounts for the repetitions and the discrepancies within it. She says that the Bible is the work of a literary genius, and nothing is included in it without a reason. What makes her work so interesting is that she has no union card, that is, no Ph.D., and no formal training in biblical studies. Until she was 50, she knew no Hebrew and no Bible at all. She studied in a couple of home study groups, audited classes at Yale and listened to the Torah reading on Shabbat morning in synagogue. And yet she has produced a dozen essays deemed good enough for publication in the field’s major scholarly journals. Now she has put these essays together in book form, together with fascinating introductions explaining how she arrived at her unique interpretations.