Books by Jonathan Kirsch

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The Grand Inquisitor's Manual: A History of Terror in the Name of God (HarperOne)

"Kirsch's powerful and cautionary account is essential reading for historians and anyone who wants to understand the potential dark side of religion." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review).

cover of history

A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization (HarperOne)

"Kirsch has written an important study of the 'little book' that almost didn't make it into the New Testament: the Book of Revelation. Kirsch, author of the best-selling The Harlot by the Side of the Road, does a masterful job of leading readers through the labyrinth of Revelation...Fascinating, highly readable, and sure to provoke heated discussion." (Booklist)

"Jonathan Kirsch has written an important book that is essential reading in our torn, conflicted world: it is articulate, learned and balanced." (Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God and The Spiral Staircase.)


God Againts the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism (Viking)

“Lively and engaging.... Kirsch helpfully points out that the conflict between the worship of many gods and the worship of one true god never disappeared from the lives of Jews or Christians — and demonstrates clearly the ways in which this conflict gave rise to tensions that exist even today.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A brilliant and controversial book... may it generate heat as well as light.” (Booklist)

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The Woman Who Laughed at God: The Untold History
of the Jewish People

“A grand story, grandly told” (Chicago Tribune)

“An entertaining tour of Jewish history” (Washington Post)

“Writing with vivacity, Kirsch has produced a readily accessible and entertaining version of Jewish history.... Kirsch’s well-written re-examination of Jewish history tells the remarkable story of how Jewish diversity has contributed to Jewish survival.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A new way of thinking about a very old subject.... Kirsch makes a persuasive case that orthodoxy has only existed in the minds of those who considered themselves Orthodox. Of considerable interest is Kirsch’s treatment of goddess worship hidden in the Bible.” (Booklist)


King David: The Real Life of the Man Who Ruled Israel (Ballantine)

“With his energetic, modern reading of the best story in the Hebrew Bible, Kirsch achieves an immediacy more scholarly works can’t touch.... The book can be heartily recommended for the questions it raises and the attention it draws.... Readers’ appetites will be whetted for this handsome, troubled king.” (Washington Post)

King David bids fair to become the favorite portrait of the most-favored son in the biblical tradition and also the best-selling life of King David in present company.... He emerges from the shadows of legend and myth into the full glare of history. Kirsch has retold this very dramatic, suspenseful tale exceedingly well.” (international Bible scholar David Noel Freedman in the Los Angeles Times)

“Kirsch welcomes a wide audience to a scandalous, violent and surprisingly familiar ancient Israel.... King David both educates and entertains.” (Publishers Weekly)

Moses, A Life (Ballantine)

“A brightly written work that shows how much life remains in the Bible” (Washington Post)

“A deeply probing search for ‘the real Moses’ ...the writing is clearly fired by a conviction that the unexamined Moses is not worth having.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Kirsch takes us perhaps as far as we can go in the search for the historical Moses.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Kirsch expresses himself with zeal and showmanship, skill and sensitivity...he makes the riches of 20th-century biblical research accessible to a much larger audience.” (Toronto Globe & Mail)

The Harlot by the Side of the Road:
Forbidden Tales of the Bible

“masterful” (Washington Post)

“fascinating and refreshing” (Christian Science Monitor)

“guaranteed to turn the heads of bookstore browsers from coast to coast” (Los Angeles Times)

“readable and insightful.... Go out and buy Jonathan Kirsch’s fascinating new book.” (San Francisco Chronicle)


Kirsch’s Guide to the Book Contract
for Authors, Publishers, Editors and Agents
(Acrobat Books)

“The book every writer should have.” (Writers Digest)

“As lively as it is useful. Demystifies complex legal concepts. Highly recommended.” (Library Journal)


Kirsch’s Handbook of Publishing Law
for Authors, Publishers, Editors and Agents
(Silman-James Press)

Now in revision