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'The Bible and the Comic Vision'

Web posted on: Friday, October 02, 1998 6:28:03 PM EDT

"The Bible and the Comic Vision" by J. William Whedbee is a study of the presence of comedy in the Scriptures. The author argues that, apart from the occasional recognition of comic forms or motifs in Biblical dress, interpreters have usually discounted or disdained the possibility of the Bible having any significant place for the comic vision.

Recently published by Cambridge University Press, the book offers an in-depth analysis of such richly diverse biblical texts as Genesis, Exodus, Esther, and Job. This exploration brings to light the biblical appropriation of the comic vision as a vital strategy to overcome death and despair and to revel in life and laughter.

The author argues that what gives this comic vision its passion and vital depth is its recognition of the place and power of tragedy, of that vision of the dark, jagged side of human existence which unveils the stark presence of unredeemed death, of unjustified disaster, and of unimaginative despair.

"The Bible and the Comic Vision" focuses on the comic vision from four interrelated perspectives: plot-line, characterization of basic types, linguistic and stylistic strategies , and functions and intentions, which the author uses to demonstrate how the comic vision emerges in key texts in the Hebrew Bible.


"Traditions" by Sara Shendelman and Dr. Avram Davis is a complete book of prayers, rituals, and blessings for Jewish homes. It contains ancient, traditional, and modern Jewish blessings for special occasions and life celebrations, as well as original recipes and stories for various holidays, the Jewish calendar, and the dates of the holidays from 1998 through 2010.

"Traditions" helps readers bring the sacred into their lives in a way that is direct, profound and intimate, the author says. It also translates traditional Jewish spiritual practices for non-Orthodox individuals, families, and communities.

The work, recently published by Hyperion, is illustrated with modern and archival photography of historical artifacts, religious symbols, and practical elements. It is divided into three main parts: "Holiday Cycle," "Home Blessings, " and "The Life Cycle." In each is both traditional and reform material, and the Holy Days described in Part I follow the traditional Hebrew calendar.

'Believers in One God'

"Seekers After Truth" and "Believers in One God" are written by Michael Keene for 14-16 year-olds who are studying religion. Published by Cambridge University Press, the first book covers Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism while the second book covers Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Both volumes are divided into three sections which look at each of the religions in various aspects --history, beliefs, festival, worship and sacred texts. Colorful and informative photographs and maps further help the reader to understand what is often difficult subject matter. In addition, there is a glossary of key words in each book. This is an aide to help the children grasp the essence of each religion and to help with work for examinations.

"Believers In One God" is divided into three parts. Part one discusses the beginning of the Jewish nation, what Jews believe about God and their holy books, Jewish worship, and the milestones in life. The milestones discussed in the part include birth and circumcision, marriage, and death.

Part two discusses who Christians are and what they believe, the different churches in Christianity, worship and festivals, and different milestones of life, including infant baptism and adult marriage. The third part of "Believers in One God" discusses Islam. This section goes into detail about what Muslims believe, the Muslim family, and the sacred writings of Islam: The Qur'an and The Hadith.

'Spiritual Judaism'

"Spiritual Judaism" by David S. Ariel, Ph.D., is written for those who wish to rediscover the spiritual teachings and customs of traditional Judaism and incorporate them into modern practices. It presents an enlightened view of Judaism as a living source of inspiration that draws faithfully on the past but looks boldly to the future, the author says.

"Spiritual Judaism", recently published by Hyperion, provides the seeker with a contemporary vision of spirituality grounded in historical Judaism. Historical, Biblical and ritual understandings blend to illustrate a dynamic and rich spiritual tradition.

The book was written to show how to live a spiritual Jewish life, how to create a spiritual congregation, how to give meaning to prayer and personal practice, and how to deal with the challenges of life. This includes how to find holiness in the every day and how to face suffering and loss.


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