As A Driven Leaf / Edition 1by Milton Steinberg
Pub. Date: 10/28/1996
Publisher: Behrman House, Incorporated
The story, written in 1940, follows the life of Elisha, an orphan boy who becomes a rabbi. Despite the assaults of the Roman Empire and the lures of pagan luxuries, Elisha and his companions try to preserve the traditions of Judaism. Then Elisha's own faith is plunged into doubt when tragedy strikes. He leaves his home to become part of the intellectual society of Rome, but the city has tired radical Jews, and are killing and enslaving thousands. Thinking he can help, Elisha becomes a Roman advisor--only to be forced to witness the torture, He is finally broken.
- Behrman House, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.64(w) x 8.26(h) x 1.09(d)
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This book is a marvelous period piece set in the late 1st century in Palestine. The author takes a rabbinical figure (Elisha ben Yehuda)who was excommunicated, and creates a narrative that describes how this person possibly became disillusioned. There's some fascinating philosophical discussions that contrasts the Jewish point of view with Greek thought. Although the writing may not be at a great literary level, I thought the author told a compelling story.
Ihad heard so much about this book that I thought it would be a work of great spiritual inspiration.I thought it would question the Tradition in the deepest way in order to affirm it. To my surprise the spirit of the heretic pervades and overwhelms the book. The life is long and interesting to a point. Then somewhere along the way it seems much of the same, and without real inspiration and faith . I too had thought there would be much more Jewish learning in the book than there is .Still it is a very readable story.
This book gives the reader a good historical perspective of Rabbibic Judaism during the time Rome ruled Palestine. The author does a good job of drawing the reader into both the internal and external struggles Elisha the sage encounters when he abandons his faith, and spends a tragic life attempting to replace faith with scientific and philosophical reason.
This is the tragic and disturbing story of Elisha son of Abuya, a great sage turned heretic. The author portrays the rabbis of the talmud as real people. One comes away with a picture of Akiva, Joshua, Eliezer, Meir, Gamliel and Beruria. One also gains a picture of the political and intellectual challenges for Jews in Roman Palestine. This alone makes it worthwhile reading. If you study Talmud but can't seem to get a clear picture in your head of what sort of situation these rabbis were living in, this is a good book to read.