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Excerpt: Peter Manseau's 'Rag and Bone'

By Peter Manseau

Excerpt from ‘Rag and Bone’ by Peter Manseau: This is a book about dismembered toes, splinters of shinbone, stolen bits of hair, burned remnants of an anonymous rib cage, and other odds and ends of human remains, but it is not a book about death. Around every one of the macabre artifacts that, for a variety of reasons, have come to be venerated as religious relics, circles an endless orbit of believers and skeptics, bureaucrats and clergy, fathers and mothers and children, pilgrims, beggars, con artists, and just plain curious souls. This is a book about life.Read More


Episcopalian, By Way of Yiddish

By Peter Manseau

Confessions of a Jewish Priest: From Secular Jewish War Refugee to Physicist and Episcopal Clergyman By Gabriel Weinreich Pilgrim Press, 177 pages, $25. * * *‘Yiddish has magic,” the linguist Max Weinreich once said. “It will outwit history.” But history, it turns out, also has a few tricks up its sleeve. For evidence, look no furtherRead More


Crafting Modern Midrash in the Form of Fiction

By Peter Manseau

Fallen By David Maine St. Martin’s Press, 256 pages, $23.95. * * *In this strange time when even ideas about the beginning of the world have become a political battleground, it seems there is no story that so sharply divides as the biblical account of creation. When Arizona Christians lobby to install verses from scripture at the local zooRead More


A New Novel Tears Down a Sacred Shrine

By Peter Manseau

One of the more surprising moments in recent music history comes midway through the celebrated 1998 indie rock album “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” by the band Neutral Milk Hotel. Hiding in otherwise understated tune are some startling lyrics:Read More

                      I know they buried her body with others
Her sister and mother and five hundred families

                    

Nailing Down a Film’s Legacy

By Peter Manseau

Around this time last year, on the brink of Easter, the humble nail came into its own as a religious symbol. Tiny silver pendants in the shape of railroad spikes were among the many marketing tie-ins produced in connection with Mel Gibson’s cinematic phenomenon, “The Passion of the Christ.” Amid the dueling chorusesRead More






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