A late-night train, a poor student reading and a man next to him who looks intently at the book's cover - this was the situation when I first read Ernst Bloch's Atheism in Christianity (1972). The bold, sans-serif letters across the front of the worn blue hardcover had attracted the eyes of my solitary neighbour on the train. After he had gone, I re-entered Bloch's text, sinking into the words and sentences that did not quite make sense to me. Bloch was, if anything, enigmatic. Later I would realize it was his expressionistic style. What amazed me then, however, was the oxymoron he presented. Here was a German scholar who could write without anchoring his pages with weighty footnotes referring to every possible work written on the topic (and a few that weren't). That was a wonder to behold, and that alone was enough to keep me reading. . . as well as the craggy, stern face that glared at me from the back cover. Bloch was doing his best to look like a fire-breathing Hebrew prophet.
Caught Reading Again: Scholars and Their Books p. 30-40