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One of the Jewish biblical scholars scheduled to appear on the Bill Moyers PBS special on Genesis, Avivah Zornberg employs an amazing repertoire of literary sources to engage the audience and illuminate the text. Delivering her erudition in a pleasantly lyrical style, the author shares her experience of God with the world. It is an intimate, personal, and revealing encounter no one should miss.
Posted November 13, 2007
Aviva Zornberg has written two books interpreting Torah in the tradition of rabbinical exegesis. I strongly recommend this book of hers, traditional in it's aim to interperate the bible, However, there is no other Torah scholar known to combine Torah, Talmud, Jacques Lacan, The Little Prince, Rashi, and Jane Austen in one sitting, and produce an interpretation that is intricately reasoned, psychologically nuanced, emotionally moving, and original yet solidly based on traditional exegetical methods. . . . she doesn't hesitate to bring texts from Nietzsche to Freud to Foucault to bear on her interpretations of the Torah. . . . Recently, Zornberg has been delving more deeply into psychoanalysis and is using what she is discovering to analyze Torah. 'I believe that the Midrash can be compared to the unconscious side of the Torah,' explains Zornberg. 'The slips that come through the pshat, the basic understanding of the words of the text, indicates that there's more beneath the surface than meets the eye.' . . . In line with her attempts to 'crack the unconscious codes' in the Torah, Zornberg has been particularly attracted to chasidic commentaries on the Torah, like the 'Sfat Emet,' the commentary of Judah Aryeh Leib Alter, the Gerer Rebbe, as well as the 'Mei HaShiloah,' the Ishbitzer Rebbe's commentary. 'They take the unconscious for granted,' she explains. 'They'll start from the midrash, and ask how one can interpret it as a dream work. It's quite creative,' she beams with pleasure. 'It's often so different from the schoolbook versions of the Torah.'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 23, 2003
Zornberg's book on Genesis had much promise for me, but the book failed to live up to this promise. The author is certainly well versed in the rabbinic commentaries on the Genesis text, but her writing style is so disorganized, and her intellectual leaps so large that following her arguments often take more time than they are worth. If you are searching for a contemporary analysis of the first book of the Bible, I would recommend Dennis Shulman's Genius of Genesis. This latter book was time much better spent.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 26, 2003
This profound commentary is based on the author's deep knowledge of the traditional Jewish commentaries to the Bible, and her wide reading in psychology,and literature. Mrs. Zornberg has taught for many years in Jerusalem, and the inspiring and very deep commentaries she has given in her public lectures find amplification and illumination on the page. Her insights are often electrifying and bring a sense of putting together material from diverse worlds to deepen the understanding of the text. This work is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to be challenged to understand 'Genesis 'in a more profound way.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.