The Bible as literature: Bob Dylan and the near-sacrifice of Isaac

The Bible as literature: Bob Dylan and the near-sacrifice of Isaac


The Bible as literature: Bob Dylan and the near-sacrifice of Isaac

Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son” Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on” God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?” God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but The next time you see me comin’ you better run” Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?” God says, “Out on Highway 61” The word of the Lord according to Bob Dylan, in the opening lines from the title track of his landmark album Highway 61 Revisited . It is a sly and menacing retelling of the famous episode of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son Isaac from Genesis 22 . And Dylan sets it along the famous highway of the blues that stretches along the Mississippi River from New Orleans up almost to Canada. It is the highway where legend has it Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to play the…

The Bible as literature: the King James, Psalm 46, and Shakespeare

The Bible as literature: the King James, Psalm 46, and Shakespeare


The Bible as literature: the King James, Psalm 46, and Shakespeare

The “Chandos portrait” of Shakespeare Last night I taught our first class in a course entitled “The Bible as Literature” in Wash U’s University College . So don’t be surprised if there’s a few posts here over the next weeks with that title before the colon. One of my basic theses for the course is that perhaps the most foundational event in the history of English-speaking literature was the translation of the Bible into the Authorized Version, otherwise known as the “King James.” Shakespeare is a very close second. To illustrate my point, we played a famous little game with the King James version of Psalm 46

Holy Texts, Human Hands

Holy Texts, Human Hands


Holy Texts, Human Hands

The Boston Globe is reporting on the near-completion of a critical edition of the Koran. To those of us who have a different holy book this should seem to be of little interest. We have our own critical editions of what are now called the Old Testament and the New Testament in, respectively, Hebrew/Aramaic and ..

Jesus Rifles

Jesus Rifles


Jesus Rifles

The headline from ABC News is certainly attention grabbing — “No More Jesus Rifles.” Weapons supplied to US forces in the Middle East with “Bible Codes,” which are used in combat against Muslims is being widely condemned, predictably, as evoking the Crusades, inflaming Islamic perceptions of Western religious imperialism, and ignoring the constitutional separation of ..