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 National Jewish Book Council announced its 2007 award winners Wednesday.
Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of several best-selling books, including â€œWhen Bad Things Happen to Good People,â€ received the councilâ€™s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Awards were given in 18 other categories. Israeli author Meir Shalev took the Fiction prize for â€œA Pigeon and a Boy,â€ while Edward Kaplanâ€™s â€œSpiritual Radical: Abraham Joshua Heschel in Americaâ€ took top honors for American Jewish Studies. Michael Makovskyâ€™s â€œChurchillâ€™s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraftâ€ won the History award, and â€œInventing Jewish Ritualâ€ by Vanessa Ochs took the Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice category. Rabbi Lawrence Hoffmanâ€™s â€œMy Peopleâ€™s Prayer Book Seriesâ€ won for Modern Jewish Thought and Experience,” and the Biography award went to George Konrad for â€œA Guest in My Own Country: A Hungarian Life.â€ 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.