Arguing Over Jesus

by Christopher Carroll

For all of the controversy surrounding Reza Aslan and his book Zealot, the work follows in a long tradition of study of the historical figure of Jesus—a subject that has provoked vigorous debate in The New York Review’s pages over the decades.

Netanyahu, Then and Now

by Nathan Thrall

As Israelis and Palestinians embark on a new round of peace talks, critics of Benjamin Netanyahu have expressed doubt that the Israeli prime minister, once a leading opponent of the Oslo Accords, can change his ways. On Monday, a member of the prime minister’s Likud party wrote that “Netanyahu will not offer the Palestinians more than his predecessors, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, so it is just a matter of time before these peace talks deadlock as well.” Yet the presumed reticence of Netanyahu and his government to match the offers of their predecessors is among the weaker reasons to doubt Kerry will reach his stated goal of ending the conflict.

Charles Rosen’s Lost Masterpiece

by Jim Holt

Frédéric Chopin was “the greatest master of counterpoint since Mozart”—so claimed the late pianist and author Charles Rosen in a 1987 review in these pages. At the time I read this, it came as a double surprise to me. I had never thought of Chopin’s music as having a lot of contrapuntal interest. I had always imagined it to stress sonority over structure, to be more emotional—even sentimental—than intellectual: a sort of higher mood music.

The Joys of ‘Mere’

by Gabriel Winslow-Yost

One of the joys of Mere, the new book by the cartoonist C.F., is how thoroughly it resists categorization, or even basic explanation. C.F is best known for Powr Mastrs, an ongoing, fascinatingly strange fantasy series with heavy doses of abstraction, barely comprehensible mysticism, and weird eroticism (one plot culminated in an extended sex scene with a squid). Mere, a collection of mini-comics C.F. produced over the course of 2012, is if anything even more odd: a tour through a wide variety of familiar comic book genres, from horror and science fiction to a cheery, kid-oriented “suicide prevention comic,” that manages to make each seem more alien and nonsensical than the last.

Dancing Miss

by Darryl Pinckney

On the anniversary of Billie Holiday’s death, Darryl Pinckney remembers Elizabeth Hardwick’s portrait of the singer, which first appeared in the March 4, 1976 issue of The New York Review.