"A world-renowned scholar uses the Bible's own words to understand a fateful change that occurred during the biblical era, one that would ultimately determine the whole way in which Jews and Christians would encounter God ever since. A great mystery lies at the heart of the Bible. Early on, people seem to live in a world entirely foreign to our own. God appears to Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and others; He buttonholes Moses and Isaiah and Jeremiah and tells them what to say. Then comes the Great Shift, and Israelites stop seeing God or hearing His voice. Instead, later Israelites are 'in search of God,' reaching out to a distant, omniscient deity in prayers, as people have done ever since. What brought about this change? The answers come from the Bible and other ancient texts, archaeology and anthropology and recent advances in neuroscience. Ultimately, the book leads readers to the most basic matter of all, the nature of humanity's encounter with God from earliest times to our own day. The Great Shift is a landmark book, the culmination of a scholar's lifelong reckoning with the foundational text of Judaism and Christianity. James Kugel, whose religious conviction shines through his scientific exploration of the Bible and the ancient world, has written a masterwork for believers and nonbelievers alike, a profound meditation on the apprehension of God, then and now."--Jacket.