If we look to the Bible for historical accounts of ancient life, we make a profound error. So contends Calum Carmichael in this original and incisive reading of some of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament?s most famous narratives. Sifting through the imaginative layers of these texts with an uncanny sensitivity and a panoptic critical eye, he unearths patterns connecting disparate passages, providing fascinating insights into how ideas were expressed, received, and transformed in the ancient Near East. Ranging from Jacob?s encounter with Leah to the marriage at Cana to Jesus? encounter with the woman at the well, these readings demonstrate the remarkable subtlety and sophistication of the biblical views on marriage, sexuality, fertility, impurity, creation, and love.