A controversial examination of biblical scholarship and literalism was named the Jewish Book of the Year.
“How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now,” by James Kugel, an emeritus professor of Hebrew literature at Harvard University, earned the Everett Family Foundation honors when the Jewish Book Council announced its 2007 National Jewish Book Award winners Wednesday.
Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of several best-selling books, including “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” received the council’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Awards were given in 18 other categories.
Israeli author Meir Shalev took the Fiction prize for “A Pigeon and a Boy,” while Edward Kaplan’s “Spiritual Radical: Abraham Joshua Heschel in America” took top honors for American Jewish Studies.
Michael Makovsky’s “Churchill’s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft” won the History award, and “Inventing Jewish Ritual” by Vanessa Ochs took the Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice category.
Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman’s “My People’s Prayer Book Series” won for Modern Jewish Thought and Experience,” and the Biography award went to George Konrad for “A Guest in My Own Country: A Hungarian Life.”
The awards will be presented at a ceremony March 4 in New York. A complete list of winners and runners-up is available at www.jewishbookcouncil.org.