For the Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book

Overview


Quoting King Solomon’s famous prayer to God at the Temple in Jerusalem, “Behold, the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded,” Alicia Suskin Ostriker posits a God who cannot be contained by dogma and doctrine.  Troubled by the way the Bible has become identified in our culture with a monolithic authoritarianism, Ostriker focuses instead on the extraordinary variability of Biblical writing.

For the Love of God is a provocative and...

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New Brunswick, NJ 2007 Hard cover New. Glued binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 164 p.

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Overview


Quoting King Solomon’s famous prayer to God at the Temple in Jerusalem, “Behold, the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded,” Alicia Suskin Ostriker posits a God who cannot be contained by dogma and doctrine.  Troubled by the way the Bible has become identified in our culture with a monolithic authoritarianism, Ostriker focuses instead on the extraordinary variability of Biblical writing.

For the Love of God is a provocative and inspiring re-interpretation of six essential Biblical texts: The Song of Songs, the Book of Ruth, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Jonah, and Job.  In prose that is personal and probing, analytically acute and compellingly readable, Ostriker sees these writings as “counter-texts,” deviating from convention yet deepening and enriching the Bible, our images of God, and our own potential spiritual lives. Attempting to understand “some of the wildest, strangest, most splendid writing in Western tradition,” she shows how the Bible embraces sexuality and skepticism, boundary crossing and challenges to authority, how it illuminates the human psyche and mirrors our own violent times, and how it asks us to make difficult choices in the quest for justice.  

For better or worse, our society is wedded to the Bible.  But according to Talmud, “There is always another interpretation.” Ostriker demonstrates that the Bible, unlike its reputation, offers a plenitude of surprises.

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Editorial Reviews

author of Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective - Judith Plaskow

"The perfect antidote to fundamentalist readings of the Bible, For the Love of God artfully conveys the multiple meanings that can be gleaned from biblical texts"
professor of religion, Princeton University - Elaine Pagels

"No one who reads this amazing, brilliantly written book will ever read the Bible the same way again."
editor of The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary - Robert Alter

"Against popular misconceptions of the Bible as a 'book' that is the dependable repository of supposedly biblical values, Alicia Ostriker vividly unfolds the strong and at times startling differences of outlook of different biblical texts. She writes with the sensitivity of a poet, unafraid to argue with Scripture yet keenly responsive to what there is to discover in it."
author of Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism - Howard Schwartz

"In For the Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book, Alicia Ostriker tears away the encrusted interpretations of the Hebrew Bible and reveals new ones that restore its mythic power and vision."
author of God: A Biography - Jack Miles

"Think wrestler. Revise to Jewish wrestler. Revise again to Jewish Woman Wr
Shofar

"Through prose that is deeply poetic and critically compelling, in For the Love of God Alicia Suskin Ostriker takes quite seriously the Talmudic assertion that 'there is always another interpretation' . . . offering provocative and insightful re-interpretations of six fundamental biblical texts. Much of Ostriker's work speaks to what she interprets as our own contemporary needs, specifically our collective desire for peace, and this book is no exception."
Religion

"Ostriker's work is at once challenging and inspiring, revisionary and reverent. Her insights and commentaries are both inspiring and shocking, insightful and aphoristic. And, although one can either love or hate her interpretations, one cannot miss her sincere desire to see into the truth of the text."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813542003
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 9/20/2007
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Alicia Suskin Ostriker is an award-winning poet, critic, and midrashist, whose writing appears in many Jewish anthologies and journals. She is the author of The Nakedness of the Fathers: Biblical Visions and Revisions (Rutgers University Press).
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Table of Contents


Preface Introduction The Song of Songs The Book of Ruth and the Love of the Land Psalm and Anti-Psalm Ecclesiates as Witness Jonah Job Afterword Some Further Reading Notes
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