Piero Boitani discusses how some of the most fascinating scenes of Old and New Testament -- Genesis, Exodus, Job, the Susanna story, the Gospel of John -- are directly or indirectly rewritten in works ranging from the medieval period to the late twentieth-century: by Milton and Mann; by Chaucer, Dryden, La Fontaine, Orwell, and Kafka; by Faulkner and Tournier; by Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, and Joseph Roth. Literature resonates with the mystery
of recognition between human beings, and between God and humankind. The opening and closing chapters of the book examine this theme: from Abraham and Yahweh at Mamre to Joseph and his brothers, from Helen and Menelaus to Jesus and Mary Magdalene, from Pericles and Marina to Mendel Singer and his son
Menuchim. The three central sections of the book discuss the means by which re-scripturing interprets the Scriptures: through truth or fiction; through letter or allegory; through liturgy, exegesis, catacomb frescoes, even churches themselves. This is an illuminating look at the Bible and its medieval and modern rewritings.
`Boitani is a medievalist whose erudition transcends the formal categories, as... that of a true medievalist should. His detailed readings of scripture, Shakespearean drama, and modern poetry and fiction are compelling, often brilliant, often so wayward and wire-drawn - but never dull. The Bible and its Rewritings is nourishingly rich in texture, and has been marvelously translated from Italian by Anita Weston.'
Paul Dean, The New Criterion, Jan 2000
1: From J to M: Recognizing and Rewriting God
2: Susanna in Excelsis
3: In the Beginning Was a Cock: Animal Farms and the Plain Sense of Things
4: Why Should Moses Go Down?
5: To Recognize is a God: Helen, Mary Magdalen, Marina-Menuchim