Friday, October 07, 2005

Harold Bloom's latest

Jim Davila mentions an interview with Harold Bloom in Forward. The provocative Jewish author answers questions about his new book, Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine. You can register free to read it.

Bloom shakes things up as always, though this new book doesn't appear to pack as much wisdom as it does punch. That's too bad. Bloom's American Religion remains one of my favorite critiques of contemporary American Christianity.

Excerpts from the interview:

“Christianity has four gods and none is Yahweh. They have Jesus Christ who is not Yeshua but a Greek theological god, then they have God the father, whatever you take that creature to be, then they have the most amazing invention, the Holy Ghost, now so dominant in Pentecostals in United States, and then they have the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are in fact a polytheism. I feel no particular indignation about that. After all, we have done it also, though in very different ways, with the Shekhina, if you read Moshe Idel's book ‘Kabbalah and Eros.’

“There is no question that, alas, either there is Yahweh or there is just nothing at all. If indeed there is Yahweh, as I greatly fear there is, then I can only say that He has deserted, gone into exile. I read ‘eheye asher eheye’ (‘I shall be as I shall be,’ Exodus 3:13-14) as being that I will be absent whenever and wherever I choose to be absent. There are, as you know, in the world today 1.5 billion Christians and 1.5 billion Muslims; there are 14 million of us, so clearly He has been absent and is not to be trusted. Forgive me for saying so, but there it is.

“My wife, who kindly read my book, but only after the proofs were sealed and no more changes could be made, said, ‘Harold, there's a sentence that should not be there.’ But this sentence is indeed in the book, and that has to be the answer: ‘If Yahweh is a man of war, then Allah is a suicide bomber.’”

The Booklist reviewer thinks Jesus and Yahweh is “more personal than argumentative”, and the above citations certainly confirm this. I suppose I’ll read the book anyway.

UPDATE: Jim West prescribes doses of Martin Marty instead of Bloom.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Loren,

My name is David Cogger and I am a producer with Open Source, a nationally syndicated program on public radio. (

We've been tracking the blogosphere with regard to Harold Bloom and his latest book, Jesus and Yahweh: The Name's Devine, and your blog post caught my attention.

We're doing a show TONIGHT at 7 p.m. EST with Harold Bloom as our guest. I would love to talk to you about this, if you're available this afternoon. Please give us a call if you have a spare moment to talk.

Please check out the link to the show (below), and feel free to comment. (

Thanks so much. I look forward to hearing from you.



David Cogger
Open Source


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