Stephen Mitchell is a tireless curator of wisdom, whose life’s work is nothing less than the study of human transformation. With Joseph and the Way of Forgiveness, Mitchell has reached back in time to one of our oldest stories of grace and brought its lessons forward to us. The heart cannot help but be moved and healed by the treasure to be found in these pages.” Elizabeth Gilbert
“Stephen Mitchell’s Joseph and the Way of Forgiveness is a rich and meaningful chronicle-cum-midrash.” Cynthia Ozick
"Joseph and the Way of Forgiveness is a beautiful ‘retelling’ of one of the most profound and moving passages in the Bible. Stephen Mitchell has fashioned a deceptively simple version of the story of Joseph and his brothers, and given it back to the world in luminous prose that the authors of the King James Version would applaud. A unique and special kind of masterpiece."John Banville
"Stephen Mitchell has offered us a lovely treat, a creative and heartfelt way to re-inhabit this biblical story full of wisdom and healing." Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart
“Joseph and the Way of Forgiveness is a timeless narrative that will transform your mind as it engages your imagination. It’s a delight to read, a wonder for the heart, and an inspiration.”
Daniel J. Siegel, MD, New York Times bestselling author of AwareThe Science and Practice of Presence
“Joseph and the Way of Forgiveness is a sparkling, joyous retelling of a story that seems endlessly opaque and hard to comprehend in the Bible. Stephen Mitchell has made the story wondrous, and a page turner that takes us into a new, mysterious world, as palpable as the one we live in today.” Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest
“Stephen Mitchell’s vividly imagined narrative breathes interior life into the classic Joseph story, and offers the reader a generous and much needed giftan incisive and moving account of the spiritual power of forgiveness.” Elaine Pagels
"How do you honestly and deeply 'interpret' a dream? By dreaming it onwards. How do you honestly and deeply read a story from the Bible? By telling it onwards, again and again, with a reverent imagination. Stephen Mitchell has beautifully reimagined the Biblical story of Joseph with an enhanced retelling in exquisite language and with subtle insight. You won’t find a more moving, inspiring and enlightening book on the Bible."
Thomas Moore, author of The Care of the Soul and Ageless Soul
"A lyrical and vivid retelling of the biblical tale, with powerful lessons for those of us living in a fractious age."
Rabbi David Wolpe, author of David: The Divided Heart
"Exceptionally written and scripturally loyal, this is a fine achievement."Kirkus (Starred Review)
"It is not just Tolstoy who saw the Biblical tale of Joseph and His Brothers as 'the most beautiful story in the world.' It is also the Qur’an, which narrates it in full, while introducing it as 'the most beautiful of narrations.' In this elegant book, Stephen Mitchell takes that beauty to new heights, while also elucidating the moral wisdom behind it. He presents not just an enchanting prose, but also an uplifting spirit."
Mustafa Akyol, author of The Islamic Jesus
"[A] captivating contemporary retelling of the biblical story of Joseph"Publisher's Weekly
"Evoking the ancient Jewish art of Midrash, Mitchell has now novelized this timeless story, bringing to it a touch of metafiction, and a sometimes breezy and insouciant but always reverent style. Richly imagined and told in bite-size chapters, the story is compulsively readable and inspirational. It’s a timeless tale retold in a timeless fashion.” Booklist
“With the gift of a storyteller and the knowledge of a Bible scholar, Mitchell engages in an extended work of midrash that breathes new life and meaning into familiar characters…. A pleasurable, enlightening, lively, and lyrical book.” Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal
"Joseph and the Way of Forgiveness: A Biblical Tale Retold” by Stephen Mitchell (St. Martin’s) reads like a novelistic treatment of the Joseph story, when he is sold into slavery by his brothers. Mitchell inserts brief mediations into the narrative, illuminating ideas. About Joseph, he writes, “True forgiveness, he had learned, is the realization that there is nothing to forgive.” The New York Jewish Week
In this captivating contemporary retelling of the biblical story of Joseph, independent scholar Mitchell (The Gospel According to Jesus) delivers a strong message of forgiveness. In witty prose, he introduces the reader to Joseph, the beautiful, favored son of Jacob. Because of Jacob’s favoritism and Joseph’s tattling, Joseph’s brothers’ resentment of him intensifies to hatred when Jacob presents Joseph with the lavish gift of a multicolored coat. Meanwhile, Joseph has dreams of his brothers bowing down to him, and when he shares them with his brothers and Jacob, they are displeased. Jacob is convinced Joseph is destined for greatness, but he admonishes him to keep his dreams to himself, while the brothers contemplate how much better life would be without their spoiled younger brother. “No one, of course, wants to suffer. And yet the fortunate among us manage to learn from our suffering what can be learned nowhere else.” Mitchell takes a novelistic approach as he shares Joseph’s suffering through betrayal, slavery, and false accusations against him by his brothers. Also included are a helpful prologue and epilogue (as well as a section of “Notes and References”) that provide context. Focusing on themes of humility, redemption, and forgiveness, Mitchell’s retelling will be perfect for bible study groups and Christian readers looking for an easy point of entry into the Book of Genesis. (Sept.)
An imaginative retelling of the biblical story of Joseph.
In his latest, Mitchell (The Frog Prince: A Parable of Love and Transformation, 1999, etc.)—who has translated Beowulf, The Odyssey, Bhagavad-Gita, and the Tao Te Ching, among many other significant works—re-creates the story of Joseph into a novelistic tale of self-discovery, tragedy, love, and reconciliation. Joseph, the most beloved of Jacob's 12 sons, was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, but he eventually became a powerful leader in Egypt and saved his family and many others through his wisdom during a major famine. Mitchell approaches this ageless tale with tact and respect, adding to it through his artistic, sensitive retelling. Whereas the Bible's language is spare and to the point, Mitchell's prose is rich with imagery and reflection. Because of his thorough understanding of the time period, the author is able to provide, or create, authentic details that flesh out the Joseph story for all readers. At the same time, he manages to slyly squeeze in anachronistic details that add to the richness of the story. In one scene, for example, Mitchell writes, "Joseph leans back in his adjustable chair and puts his feet up on the mahogany desk that was last year's birthday present from his boss." The author also draws on the understated sexual details of the biblical account and portrays scenes of lust and longing, sometimes shocking in their context yet also very human. He creates vivid psychological portraits of the characters, as well, portraying a broken-hearted Jacob, a rough yet ethical Judah, a bumbling but amiable Potiphar, and a saintlike Joseph. Mitchell presents Joseph as he is in the Bible: a man of imperfections as well as great wisdom and restraint, favored by God. In keeping to the scriptural ideal of Joseph, the author provides authenticity to a bold work of creative storytelling.
Exceptionally written and scripturally loyal, this is a fine achievement.