What is it about Harold Bloom that gets people so worked up? Well, for one, there is almost no way to remain indifferent to a man who writes, “If Yahweh is a man of war, Allah is a suicide bomber.”
The book’s main thesis is the supposed incompatibility of Judaism with Christianity. Almost every page of this book fascinates in its audacity. Bloom cannot reconcile the Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible, with the Christian Old Testament. Christianity, triumphant in the West, has taken the Tanakh (and ancient Judaism) captive like a hunter’s prize. The Jews, thanks to their tenacity, have somehow survived in spite of this. The Judeo-Christian tradition is, in Bloom’s mind, political doublespeak, pure wind. Religious believers may have little interest in a purely literary reading of scripture that tends to undermine every principle of the sacred. Secularists may be offended by Bloom’s unequivocal refutation of the supposed Judeo-Christian tradition, which he terms a “farce.”
Atheists will likely feel betrayed by Bloom’s insistence that reason alone cannot dislodge Yahweh. If you are not well-versed in the Hebrew Bible, Christian New Testament, Mishnah, gnosticism, Talmud, Kabbalah, and the work of Freud, Kafka and Walt Whitman (and the myriad commentaries on all of the above) you may not get past page three.