With All Thine Heart: Love and the Bible

With All Thine Heart: Love and the Bible

With All Thine Heart: Love and the Bible

With All Thine Heart: Love and the Bible


Is the Bible actually a love story between a deity and a people? And what does this love story have to do with the modern world? In With All Thine Heart distinguished cultural critic Ilan Stavans speaks to freelance writer Mordecai Drache about love in the Bible.

Presented in an engaging, conversational format and touched with striking artwork, the textured dialogue between Stavans and Drache is meant to show how the Bible is a multidimensional text and one that, when considered over the course of history, still has the power to shape our world. The theme of love provides the connective tissue that binds this work.

Addressing a wide range of topics, from biblical archaeology and fundamentalism to Hollywood movies, lexicography, and the act of praying, With All Thine Heart suggests that the Hebrew Bible is a novel worth decoding patiently, such as one does with classics like Don Quixote de la Mancha, In Search of Lost Time, and Anna Karenina. Similar to the protagonists in these tales, biblical characters, although not shaped with the artistic nuance of modern literature, allow for astonishing insight. This exploration of love through the pages of the Bible--organized chronologically from Genesis to Exodus and followed by insightful meditations on the Song of Songs and the Book of Job--is a delightful intellectual and spiritual treat... Shema Ysrael!


Mordecai Drache: Although the prayer Shema Ysrael isn’t part of scripture in the exact form as Jews recite it, it might be a suitable place to start a discussion on love in Jewish life, and, more concretely, on love in the Bible—or perhaps love and the Bible— which will be, I propose, the central, recurrent theme of these conversations.

First, a word about their origin. the conversations, shaped electronically, began when I invited you to reflect on the topic for an interview published in 2007 in the online magazine Zeek (www.jewcy.com/zeek). Once we finished, it was obvious to me that there was much more to discuss. Thus, I proposed a sustained discussion, over a period of twelve months, from July 2008 to June 2009, using various technological devices, principally e-mail and phone.

Second, let us establish the way you and I will use the term “Bible.”

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