Harold Bloom has recently published Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine, which I’ve purchased, but haven’t read. Jonathan Rosen’s review in Sunday’s New York Times (forgive me, I’m still catching up from my week away) suggests that it’s as fascinating as I had hoped it would be when I got it. It focuses on the intersection of literary criticism and religious thought, an old theme of Bloom’s, one Rosen describes Bloom addressing in a class that Rosen took at Yale twenty years ago called “Counter-Normative Currents in Contemporary Jewish Literature”:
…which included moderns like Freud, Kafka and Babel but began with “the Yahwist,” author of the oldest strand of the Hebrew Bible. Suddenly, being a Jewish writer wasn’t just for post-Enlightenment Johnny-come-latelies, but an ancient birthright. This notion was given bolder expression in a lecture I heard Bloom deliver about how the New Testament was a “weak misreading” of the Hebrew Bible… Bloom punningly referred to the New Testament in Hebrew as “Brit haHalasha” (“weak covenant”), instead of “Brit haHadasha” (“new covenant”).
And then there’s this Jewish lament about Christianity, one my wife has been giggling about since she read the review on Sunday:
Christianity stole our watch and has spent 2,000 years telling us what time it is.
I have nothing to add to that. I’m looking forward to the book. I hope it’s as amusing and provocative as the review.