Magazine May 1, 2017, Issue

The Word and Its Words

The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible, by Sarah Ruden (Pantheon, 272 pp., $26.95)

We would value the written word more if we didn’t have so much of it. Street signs, product labels, instruction manuals, tax forms, blog posts, e-mails, text messages . . . What would Gutenberg say? “That’s not what I had in mind”? The pace at which we produce and consume writing is out of control. A speed-reading tactic that we adopt often without realizing it is to refrain from mentally vocalizing the words as we push our eyes to devour chunks of text as big as possible. We read like a cobra.

That’s why we find the Bible so hard. It’s

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


More Food, Fewer Farmers Robert D. Atkinson’s piece “In Defense of Robots” (April 17) made me reflect on the great impact that advances in technology have had on my own ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ It takes a special talent to come off as the bad guy in a conversation about Bashar al-Assad and Adolf Hitler. ‐ Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s national-security adviser, admits, after ...
Politics & Policy


WHAT CAME BEFORE When the mists of antiquity roll down the mountain with what came before written history, before the celestial irresolution of dark and light, when persistent survival was a near miracle, at the ...


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