The Bible and Poetry

Michael Edwards


We send all orders via Royal Mail: within the UK, choose from 1st Class, 2nd Class or Special Delivery; for the rest of the world, International Standard or International Tracked. Delivery and packaging charges are calculated automatically at the checkout.

To collect orders in person from the Bookshop, choose Click and Collect at the checkout.

The New York Review of Books, Inc
15 August 2023
ISBN: 9781681376370
192 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Stephen E. Lewis

The Bible is full of poems. In the Old Testament, there are the Psalms and the Song of Songs, the great exhortations and lamentations of the Prophets, and passages of poetry woven in throughout. In the New Testament, Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven with poetic epithets such as “a treasure hid in a field,” calling the Son of God “the true vine,” “the light of the world,” “the good shepherd,” and “the way, the truth, and the life.” The Gospels reverberate with allusions to the poetry of the Old Testament; the last book of all is Revelation, a visionary poem. The Bible, in other words, asks to be read poetically from start to end, and yet readers have rarely considered what that might mean, much less heeded that call.

In The Bible and Poetry, the poet and scholar Michael Edwards reshapes our understanding of the Bible and religious belief, arguing that poetry is not an ornamental or accidental feature but is central to both. He speaks personally of his early, unanticipated, transformative encounters with scripture. He offers close, insightful, and resonant readings of biblical passages. Poetry, as he sees it, is the vital and necessary medium of the Creator’s word, and the truth of the Bible is not a question of precepts and propositions but of a direct experience of its poetry, its power.