PositiveThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)Calasso presumably did not think that such stories as the account of the creation in Genesis 1–2 were literal truth, but he describes them in the same rather neutral style as he does for more plausibly historical accounts such as the stories of the Hebrew kings. At the same time, the biblical stories are often enriched by attractive details from later Jewish legends as found in Midrashim and other later sources, occasionally also from kabbalistic traditions ... the at times slightly naive-seeming retelling of the biblical accounts is, in reality, highly artful ...There are...indications of an essentially Christian reading of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, too. Jesus is sometimes appealed to as improving on the Hebrew Bible’s teaching, and the chapter on the Messiah with which the book ends, although it draws on many Jewish teachings, suggests by its very placement a Christian, teleological reading of the Old Testament. There are other points one could quibble about ... This is in some ways a strange book, which really makes sense only in the context of Calasso’s larger project. Read at face value, it is simply an extended paraphrase of the Hebrew Bible with some embellishments and digressions, and is as such interesting enough. But it is not meant to be read at face value. It is intended to contribute to the attempt to draw out connections between literature from the ancient world and modern sensibilities. In this by and large it succeeds, helping to show how and why the Bible still has power to speak. My hope is that it will encourage people to read the Bible itself, guided by the helpful pointers Calasso provides.