A great mystery lies at the heart of the Bible: God appears to Adam and Moses, and personally instructs Abraham and Isaiah; then comes the Great Shift, and the Israelites stop seeing God or hearing the divine voice. Instead, later Israelites are "in search of God," reaching out to a distant, omniscient deity in prayers, as people have done ever since. What brought about this change? Former Starr Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University, James Kugel seeks answers in the Bible as well as in archaeology, anthropology, and even neuroscience, and his results reveal much about the origins of the modern sense of self, while offering a profound meditation on encountering God.
"Lively, inviting.... Biblical exegesis at its best: a brilliant and sensitive reading of ancient texts, all with an eye to making them meaningful to our time by making sense of what they meant in their own." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)