CBR9 Review #82

The Grammar of God by Aviya Kushner

Because of scheduling conflicts, we’ve had to merge June and July’s books for our friend book club. A has chosen The Grammar of God to complement What Is the Bible? and I believe their thematic similarities will provoke an interesting discussion next week. At the very least, the more memoir and academic focus of this book gave me a lot to think about.

Aviya Kushner had done journalism in Israel and was on a plane back to New York on September 11, 2011. She decided to return to graduate school for creative writing in Iowa. There, she took Marilynne Robinson’s class (seriously, I may have died a little out of envy) and discovered that the Bible she had grown up reading in Hebrew was not the same Bible her Christian friends grew up reading in English. And thus began her thesis project: to understand how a different Bible affects our reading and understanding of it, as well as how we see and perceive God when we understand the grammar(s) of God.

This was an interesting book with an interesting premise, though I sometimes had a hard time following the organizational structure to its argument. The structure itself is great, though the examples Kushner uses are hard to understand, because she does not stay in the book of Genesis but bounces around the Old Testament. Nor is it always clear how each chapter connects to her overall thesis. Nevertheless, this is an interesting blend of memoir and academic study, one that challenged me as a Christian in my own reading of the Bible (in English).

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