A Great Israeli Writer

Yosef Haim Brenner (1881-1921) was a Russian-born author of Hebrew stories and one of the outstanding pioneers of modern Hebrew literature, a man who inspired other Israeli writers. He portrayed the grim realities of life with emotive punctuation and ellipses that moves his readers, as we will see below. His life and death In 1902, […]

The figure in the carpet

Henry James (1843-1916) published “The Figure in the Carpet” in 1896. He is best known for his novel “The Portrait of a Lady,” first published in 1880. He frequently filled his tales with ambiguity and even obscurity, as he does in this 48-page short story. He never gave us an interpretation of this story. He […]

The truth is the truth

Maimonides taught in his introduction to his Guide of the Perplexed, the truth is the truth no matter what its source. Therefore, Maimonides said he had no scruple about generally accepting the philosophy of the Greek Aristotle (384-322 BCE), one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Western thought. The rabbis also accepted […]

The Petrified Forest

TSome Broadway plays and even gangster films, besides being entertaining, can teach us important lessons. The Petrified Forest is an excellent example of this possibility. My encounter with this film When I was a youngster, some sixty years ago, I took a course at Johns Hopkins University on plays, and one of the plays the […]

The Babylonian flood story Atrahasis

  There are three diverse Babylonian tales of a worldwide flood. One is the history of Atrahasis. A study of the similarities and differences between Atrahasis and the Genesis flood story will help us see the differences between the biblical and Babylonian approaches to life and will give us new insights into how theGenesisversion taught lessons […]

No need to fear dying

The Greek philosopher Plato describes the remarkable story of the deathof his teacher the famed philosopher Socrates. Socrates explained to his students why he was unafraid of dying. His view will give many people comfort.[1]                                    The death of Socrates The philosopher Plato, born in 427 BCE narrates the trial and death of his seventy-year-old teacher […]

A masterful autobiographical novel

Individuals who dislike reading novels and feel they could get much more information and insights by reading non-fiction will lose much when they ignore autobiographical novels, especially one such as S. Yizhar’s 1991 “Preliminaries,” which is by a master writer, whom the newspaper Haaretz called “The great master of Hebrew lyrical prose,” a story about […]

Seven types of atheism

  Professor John Gray’s 2018 book [1] is filled with interesting information that can give us an insight into religion, human concerns, and proper behavior.[2] Atheism and the focus of this book At the outset of his book, Professor Gray defines atheism, “an atheist is anyone with no use for the idea of a divine […]

A wonderful wise satire

There is much that people can learn from books written with humorous satire. The four books of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, finished in 1725 and first published the following year, is a good example.[1] Book 4: Life in Houyhnhnms (The word horses use to describe themselves) After being home only five months, the wanderlust […]

The love story of Joseph and Aseneth

T The Bible states (41:37-45, 50–52; 46:20) that Joseph married Aseneth (also spelt Asenath) who was Egyptian, the daughter of Potiphera, the Egyptian priest of On, and had two children by her. The Bible doesn’t say that Joseph courted her or that she wanted to marry him; but the biblical language seems to imply that […]

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