The University of Wisconsin Press

Religion / Judaica / World Literature / History


Who Wrought the Bible?
Unveiling the Bible’s Aesthetic Secrets
Yair Mazor

“A tour de force. . . . An aesthetic voyage whose end product is a revelation of the Bible’s sublimity.”
—Stephen Katz, author of The Centrifugal Novel: S. Y. Agnon’s Poetics of Composition

Approaching the Hebrew Bible as a work of literary art, Yair Mazor examines its many genres, including historical narratives, poetic narratives, poetry, psalms, and songs. Line drawings from a late nineteenth-century Bible illustrate many of the most famous scenes in scripture, suggesting another aesthetic layer of the text. By breaking the Bible into constituent parts, Mazor traces the range of its writing styles, reconfiguring the work as a literary collage and an artistic masterpiece. He shows how the aesthetics of the texts that comprise the Bible serve its over-arching message, and he develops a literary portrait of its authors by decoding their cryptic aesthetic devices. “To analyze, reflect, and understand aesthetic and artistic characteristics of the Hebrew Bible is an important desideratum in biblical studies and one admirably fulfilled by Yair Mazor. He invites the reader not only to read about biblical aesthetics but to confront the process itself.”—Zev Garber, editor and contributor, Mel Gibson’s Passion: The Film, the Controversy, and Its Implications

“The originality of Yair Mazor’s contribution to the field of biblical literary criticism lies in his erudition and mastery of both biblical studies and literary criticism, a rare combination. He is able to integrate modern day, up-to-date literary critical tools with first-hand knowledge of the Hebrew Bible.”—Moshe Pelli, author of The Shadow of Death: Letters in Flames

Yair Mazor is professor of Hebrew and Biblical literature and was the first director of the Center for Jewish Studies and the Certificate Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His many books include The Poetry of Asher Reich: Portrait of a Hebrew Poetand Pain, Pining, and Pine Trees: Contemporary Hebrew Poetry, both available from the University of Wisconsin Press.

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the cover of Mazor's book is illustrated with an old painting illustrating the vision of Jacob's ladder.

January 2009
LC: 2008012030 BS
232 pp. 6 x 9
32 b/w illus., 20 charts

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ISBN 978-0-299-22844-6
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