Friday, November 14, 2008

Five American books for Arabs

At Paper Cuts, the New York Times' blog for books, Barry Gewen named five works of nonfiction for the Kalima project, an initiative backed by the UAE to translate from English to Arabic "literature [which] best captures American dreams, opportunities and challenges" and "books [that] could help build mutual understanding between the United States and the Arab World."

One title on Gewen's list:
“How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now,” by James L. Kugel. If you want to know what modern anthropology, archeology and textual criticism can teach us about the truth or untruth of the Old Testament, this is the book for you. When Kugel gets done, there isn’t much left of the biblical stories we all grew up with, and fundamentalists of every stripe (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) may find him malevolently subversive. But Kugel is himself religious, and one of the things he demonstrates is that it’s possible to wholly accept the findings of science and still retain belief in the teachings of the Bible.
Read about another book on Gewen's list.

--Marshal Zeringue