Michael Walzer’s writing on politics has helped shaped our understanding of power, war, and the morality of political society. With In God’s Shadow he has penned a creative and engaging work about the Bible, approaching the Bible as a political treatise and then meticulously unveiling the greatness of the Book of Books.
At the outset Professor Walzer, who is emeritus professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, explains one of the greatest problems scholars encounter in analyzing the Bible: Who wrote it? From his reading it is clear that, on the one hand, he feels that there were a series of writers and editors who have completely differing points of view on politics. But then Walzer is struck by the consistent theme of pluralism found throughout the Bible — even in those parts in which he has concluded that the editors and authors were themselves not pluralistic. This is what Walzer refers to as an “inclusive characteristic” of the Bible.
Walzer sees the Bible as a series of inherent contradictions that, in his words, “cry out for engagement.” For Walzer the Bible is more of an anthology than a unified text and, as such, the editors did not worry about agreement. When reading In God’s Shadow one can feel Walzer working through the texts. Walzer the author invites readers along on a serious but engaging, conversation about a subject that is extremely dear and important to him. And he wants his readers to be as moved and inspired as he is.
In God’s Shadow will be enjoyed by anyone interested in elevating their reading of the Bible and for everyone who wants to engage with one of the world’s finest thinkers about a work as important as the Bible.
Micah D. Halpern is a columnist and a social and political commentator. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Terror, and maintains The Micah Report at www.micahhalpern.com.