Adam Kirsch

Beyond Idolatry
March 03, 2011

Foreign Bodies By Cynthia Ozick (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 255 pp., $26)  I. ‘There is no swarming like that of Israel when once Israel has got a start, and the scene here bristled, at every step, with the signs and sounds, immitigable, unmistakable, of a Jewry that had burst all bounds. ...

The Baffling Book
February 24, 2011

The Rise and Fall of the Bible is Timothy Beal’s attempt to shatter the popular understanding of the Bible as a combination of divine instruction manu

The Trouble With Anger
February 17, 2011

In the brief national soul-searching that followed the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, many observers, including President Obama, reflected on the troubling excess of anger and moral indignation in our political discourse—the kind of indignation that turns opponents into enemies, and campaigns into crusades. Yet, even as responsible figures on the right and the left in America are urging their fellow-citizens (in Roger Ailes’s surprising words) to “tone it down,” the best-selling book in France is a pamphlet titled Indignez-vous!—roughly, Get Angry!

The Thought Experiment
February 16, 2011

Sari Nusseibeh is not a Palestinian Gandhi—he is a secular intellectual, not a saint, and while he has occupied prominent roles in Palestinian life (f

January 13, 2011

Zeruya Shalev writes about character and emotion in a thoroughly psychoanalytic spirit. Indeed, one of the surprising features of this Israeli novel i

Edited Out
December 09, 2010

Tablet and Pen includes writing in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, as one would expect, but no Hebrew writers. But why? Tablet and Pen is really an anth

The Man in the Storm
November 22, 2010

It is a fitting irony that S. An-sky, who preferred Russian and occasionally used Yiddish but could not write Hebrew, should be remembered today as a

November 10, 2010

Who would believe that in Fascist Italy, a group of several dozen Catholic peasants would spontaneously decide to convert to Judaism; that they would

Why 'Rubicon' Is the Perfect Spy Show for the Obama Era
October 27, 2010

All the attention paid to the season finale of "Mad Men," last Sunday night more or less eclipsed the finale of AMC’s other Sunday-night drama, "Rubicon." It’s not clear yet whether Rubicon will be back for another season—it hasn’t exactly gotten rave reviews (New York Magazine’s verdict: “A promising show that started with a train crash ends up kind of a train wreck.” But complaints about the series’ slow narrative pace and uneven performances shouldn’t be allowed to obscure what made "Rubicon" so fascinating: its subversion, even deconstruction, of the very spy-thriller clichés it was built

October 20, 2010

Robert Alter’s ongoing translation of the Hebrew Bible into a new, more accurate and forceful English version is one of the most ambitious literary pr