Sarah Laughed: Modern Lessons from the Wisdom and Stories of Biblical Women

Overview

In this vivid collection, religious scholar Vanessa Ochs brings the legends of the biblical matriarchs to new life using her own form of midrash, a creative but scholarly reinterpretation of sacred works that puts flesh and bones on the original. Finding her own, distinctly female voice in this traditional art, Ochs retells the incredible stories of the biblical matriarchs, filling in the gaps and answering some of the key questions left behind by the original text.

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Overview

In this vivid collection, religious scholar Vanessa Ochs brings the legends of the biblical matriarchs to new life using her own form of midrash, a creative but scholarly reinterpretation of sacred works that puts flesh and bones on the original. Finding her own, distinctly female voice in this traditional art, Ochs retells the incredible stories of the biblical matriarchs, filling in the gaps and answering some of the key questions left behind by the original text.

By learning about the gifts of these ancient women, you'll discover exhilarating ways to embrace your own personal gifts and gain fresh insight into:

  • Finding your inner wisdom
  • Speaking your true self
  • Being a good friend
  • Maintaining romantic partnerships
  • Raising a family
  • Letting go of children
  • Feeling blessed with a life well lived
  • And much more
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With warmth, erudition and a very contemporary sensibility, Ochs offers reflections on the lives of Old Testament matriarchs that should appeal to women across religious lines. Director of Jewish Studies at the University of Virginia, Ochs uses her own research with unobtrusive grace to shed light on gaps in the biblical stories. While focused on the narratives, she chooses to combine an inspirational self-help message with Jewish lore and the testimony of modern female friends. Most often, she is successful, as when she discusses well-known figures like Sarah, laughing in reaction to the news that she will bear a child in her old age. "Sarah's laughter gives us perspective on our yearning. We can hear her laughter when we hold on to our dreams and when we decide it's time to relinquish them." Even when she grapples with enigmatic or tragic women, like Jephthah's daughter, Ochs finds parallels between their stories and the dilemmas of her modern readers. Divided thematically by topics such as friendship, parenting and healing, the chapters include translations from the Hebrew, a "midrash-like" commentary on the story and practical rituals designed to bring home the diverse lessons of this appealing book. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Ochs (Jewish & religious studies, Univ. of Virginia) has written an ardently and unstoppably upbeat reconsideration of some of the women who appear in Hebrew Scripture. Her approach blends semi-fictionalized retellings with her own contemporary reflections on the meanings of the "stories" she retells or elaborates from Scriptural sources. More traditionally minded Jews and Christians alike may be surprised to find, for instance, Jephthah's daughter celebrated for her self-sacrifice for her friends' sake, but Ochs's point has more to do with reshaping old interpretations to find uplifting models for contemporary women than pleasing conservative authorities. For most collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071402903
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 9/16/2004
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Vanessa L. Ochs, Ph.D., is the Ida and Nathan Kolodiz Director of Jewish Studies at the University of Virginia. The recipient of a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she has written several books, including Words on Fire, and dozens of articles for national newspapers and magazines. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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Table of Contents

Introduction xi
Part I Being Wise
Chapter 1 Eve: Tasting Wisdom 3
Chapter 2 Hagar: Envisioning a Positive Outcome 15
Chapter 3 Miriam: Inspiring Others 25
Part II Living in a Woman's Body
Chapter 4 The Daughters of Tzlofhad: Speaking Out in a Man's World 37
Chapter 5 The Woman of Valor: Repairing the World in Your Own Way 47
Chapter 6 Esther: Setting One's Own Standards of Beauty 57
Part III Being a Friend
Chapter 7 Dina: Embarking Upon New Relationships 69
Chapter 8 Jephthah's Daughter: Being There for Friends 79
Chapter 9 Naomi and Ruth: Revising Mother-Daughter Relationships 91
Part IV Being a Parent
Chapter 10 Sarah: Protecting Your Dreams 105
Chapter 11 Rebecca: Raising a Family in Partnership 121
Chapter 12 Yocheved: Letting Children Go 131
Part V Healing
Chapter 13 The Woman Who has Given Birth: Waiting for the Right Time 143
Chapter 14 Job's Wife: Healing by Expressing Anger 155
Chapter 15 Vashti: Taking Care of Yourself 165
Part VI Being in the Divine Presence
Chapter 16 Leah: Feeling Blessed 177
Chapter 17 Hannah: Seeking God 187
Chapter 18 Women Who Bake Cakes for the Queen of Heaven: Worshipping as Women 199
Afterword: An Invitation 211
Acknowledgments 213
Notes 215
Index 219
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