Elie Wiesel, “Five Biblical Portraits”

This very enjoyable 155-page book features portraits of Saul, Jonah, Jeremiah, Elijah, and Joshua.   Wiesel is a Jew, of course, so the Christian perspective is lost; also, he relies not just on Scripture but on other (Jewish) authorities (Talmud, Midrash) and perhaps does not always distinguish them.  But these are not disqualifiers; his analyses are very thoughtful if sometimes a bit forced.  One interesting tidbit (124):  He describes Jeremiah as “the first — and most eloquent — among Jewish writers of all times.”

This is a good place to add a short note that might not merit a separate post of its own:  Judaism, by Dan Cohn-Sherbok, is part of the “Religions of the World” series (apparently not aimed at juvenile readers), and provides a brief (110 page) overview of the religion’s history and beliefs.  The author is Jewish and sympathetic to the Orthodox, though liberal in his politics (108).