Biblical Games: A Strategic Analysis of Stories in the Old TestamentSteven Brams (MIT Press: Cambridge and London, 1980) 196 pp., $15.00
Neither religious nor sacrilegious, this volume, written by a political scientist, applies game theory to selected Biblical tales, such as the story of Adam and Eve and the snake in the Garden of Eden. Brams posits that the characters in the Bible were “playing games”—applying strategies. If you understand that, he says, you discover that all the players, from the Highest to the meekest, act rationally. However, Brams concedes that although the mathematical theory of games is a useful tool for giving rational explanations of the behavior of God and his protagonists, it does not penetrate the mystery of the Bible.
The Idea of Biblical Poetry—Parallelism and Its HistoryJames Kugel (Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1981) 339 pp., $77.50