Saturday, February 20, 2016

Review of Gregg, Shared Stories, Rival Tellings

MARGINALIA REVIEW OF BOOKS: Scripture in the Age of Non-mechanical Reproduction – By Mira Balberg. Mira Balberg on Robert Gregg’s Shared Stories, Rival Tellings.
Robert C. Gregg’s book Shared Stories, Rival Tellings is an ode to those creative encounters between stories and readers (or hearers) in specific historical moments, and a powerful demonstration of the enormous value of “retellings” of sacred stories for understanding processes of identity formation, doctrinal differentiation, and religious competition. The book focuses on five sets of central biblical/Quranic figures — Cain and Abel, Hagar and Sarah, Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Jonah, and Mary — and their representations by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim authors and artists throughout the first millennium (more or less) of the common era. This majestic book, spanning more than 600 pages, is an invaluable resource for anyone who wishes to appreciate and help others appreciate the infinite ability of religious communities to renew and revivify themselves through imaginative re-creations of foundational stories.