Thursday, July 19, 2018

Review: The Old Testament

The Old Testament The Old Testament by Amy-Jill Levine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series of lectures on the Old Testament is very good as an overview to the history of the text and the different interpretative approaches to the Old Testament. Levine brings together, at different points, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and secular understandings of the texts. This is not a religion or theology course; there is no presupposition of the divinity of the text, but such a view, for those that have it, is not incompatible with Levine's discussions. Though I am sure those with particular views about the meaning of the Old Testament will disagree at lots of points, Levine doesn't present her interpretation as _the_ definitive one. She acknowledges the reality of many traditions and interpretations.

In 24 lectures, one can hardly get too deep into the books and stories of this text, and Levine acknowledges through out the series this limitation. Nevertheless, in the aspects she discusses, she is able to convey much of the meaning and the history.

Personally, I would have liked even more on the history of these texts, and their comparisons to other texts of the region and period. That's really a different course though.

I wish Levine had more courses at the Teaching Company--ones that individually delved more deeply into select books of the Bible. Her style is pleasant, she cares deeply for her subject, and she has an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge of it.


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Review: A New Dawn

A New Dawn A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For fans of Rebels, this is a great way to spend more time with Hera and Kanan, and to see how they first met. Like Rebels, it gives you a look at the beginnings of the rebellion. Miller also introduces Rae Sloane who goes on to play important roles in the Aftermath trilogy. She is a fascinating character. An imperial, she is not corrupt. She is ambitious, but not blindly so. She is committed to the law and order ideology of the Empire and this guides her character from A New Dawn up through the end of Aftermath. This makes her a great antagonist. She is not a monster like Vidian, Vader, or Palpatine. Sloane is understandable. She is competent, intelligent, and has a kind of integrity.

The book is a little slow to get going as it introduces the characters and the setting, but the story picks up to an exciting conclusion.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Review: Dance for the Dead

Dance for the Dead Dance for the Dead by Thomas Perry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second novel in the Jane Whitefield series refreshingly doesn’t follow the same plot structure as the first novel. Jane still guides "people out of the world” but the reasons for the hiding are quite different, and the manner in which Jane goes about it is also different. The story has some rather dark and brutal parts. Jane continues to be an intriguing protagonist. She shows more vulnerabilities in this novel, but is still just as tough, intelligent, and component. Highly recommend this series.

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