Interpretations of the Bible throughout the centuries
Throughout the centuries there have been various interpretations and commentaries about the bible. Among the best-known are one from the 11th century, of Rabbi Shlomo Yitschaki (known as Rashi, 1040 – 1105) – a French rabbi of the Middle Ages, considered as the greatest scholar ever to interpret the Old Testament. Another well-valued interpretation of the Old Testament is from a much later date – the 19th century – the one of Moshe David Cassuto, an Italian Rabbi and Scholar (1883 – 1951).
Many of such interpretations are meant primarily to those who devote themselves to reading in and learning the Bible, and otherwise are too complicated for the average person to understand.
Bible stories told in simple language
In addition, there are many books which tell the Bible stories in a more “simple, readable” language. Many of such books, intended for adults as well as for children, attempt to be accurate to the Scripture, crafted in a simple, understandable language, aimed at having the reader(s) grasp and understand the main point(s) of the stories (I do not mention here any examples of such stories in order not to “advertise” any of them).
Yet, Mordechai Rimor, Ph.D., a psychologist, a philosopher, a college teacher and the author of many academic and literary works, has found a unique way to bring the bible’s stories to our attention (Mordechai Rimor, Ph.D.: Variations on the Book: Glimpses from the Bible, Create Space Independent Publishing, 2012, 590 Pages).
The Uniqueness of Dr. Rimor’s “Variations on the Book”
“Variations on the Book”, is unique in form and style, featuring brief tales – one page or less. Each tale is based on one verse taken from the Old or the New Testament. In the more than 500 tales in “Variations on the Book” Dr. Rimor allows his imagination to carry him beyond “dry” interpretation of the verse and to a more poetic, interesting, compact story-line. In so doing he not only brings forth a unique approach (different from many others who tried to literally interpret the Bible), but also engages us, the readers, in visualizing the picture he draws in front of our eyes.
What’s unique and refreshing about Dr. Rimor’s “Variations on the Book” is that he does not try to interpret the bible stories, nor does he attempt to re-write or craft them in a simple language. Rather, he takes a paragraph which attracts his attention and, based on this single paragraph, he crafts a short, concise fictional story, applying his own imaginary powers.
In so doing Dr. Rimor gives us – the readers – the freedom and the “permission” to use our own imagination, psychological and philosophical perception – just as he does! – to relate to the Bible’s stories in our own way, thus linking our own life-experiences and wisdom to the Bible’s stories.
Many literary as well as religion scholars have long agreed on the premise that the Bible engulfs all possible “scenarios” of human kind, from love and death, to betrayal and war; from belief and devotion, to sadness and happiness. Dr. Rimor’s book takes a note of such a well-known argument and uses his fruitful imagination to bring a new, current life-perspective to many of the Bible’s verses.
As such, Rimor’s “Variations on the Book” hints at the educational value of the Bible, by “allowing” and encouraging us to open our eyes and imagination to the Bible’s stories – each from our own perception and life-experiences.
Is there any better way to get “involved” with these stories than on a personal level?