East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Rating: * * * * * out of five stars.
“Don’t you see?” [Lee] cried. “The American Standard translation [of the Bible] orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?”
A small word can change the meaning of central themes in the Bible. I never actually thought about that until I read this passage, so it’s always exciting to examine and think about new topics. My brain likes the workout.
Overall, I would consider this one of my favorite books. I may write about it again later on. While I was reading A Clockwork Orange (which was the next book I read), I kept relating the two novels, as both are about choice and the freedom to choose.