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Bewilderments

Bewilderments by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
Hardcover
Feb 24, 2015 | 400 Pages
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Praise

“Celebrated for her brilliant teaching and her dazzling skill in interpreting Bible narratives, Zornberg offers masterful midrashic readings of biblical texts. Through psychological insight, Jewish philosophy, and comparative literary analysis, she plumbs the depths of rabbinic interpretation. Those who have had the pleasure of reading her previous works will be delighted to know that Bewilderments has just been published.  New readers will also savor this commentary.” —Lilith
 
“Zornberg’s background allows her to draw from English and European literature and from the most recent literary and psychoanalytic sources, as well as from her deep knowledge of Jewish texts, particularly classical rabbinic midrash and modern Hasidic writers.” —The Jerusalem Post Magazine
 
“Zornberg is among the leading, and perhaps the most original, biblical commentators at work today. Biblical scholarship usually stays hidden within the academy or appeals to a limited audience, but Zornberg’s penetrating takes on the Torah, interweaving broad literary and analytic sources, are increasingly finding their way to a wider public.” —The Jewish Week
 
“Zornberg has an immense body of knowledge at her command. She has the unique ability to draw on everything from postmodern literary criticism, art history, and psychoanalysis, even as she remains mindful of classical rabbinic commentary and more recent Hasidic writings.” —Tablet
 
“Biblical verses blossom into a bouquet of provocative and enlightening insights . . . well managed by Zornberg.” —Booklist

“This is not a simple retelling of the book of Numbers but, rather, a commentary of a high order based on artful Hebrew prose and poetry. Zornberg displays her own superior hermeneutic skills as she calls on the teachings of vaunted rabbinic authorities, Midrashic tradition, and the homilies of Hasidic masters. [She also] incorporates psychiatry, philosophy, and world literature into the study of Holy Writ. A powerful, important textual deconstruction of the mystical fourth book of the Old Testament.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Zornberg’s grasp of the rabbinic interpretations of the text (as well as of Jewish philosophy generally) is masterful, and the meat of her work is in relating these interpretations to the spiritual and psychological questions, or bewilderments, evoked by the book of Numbers.” —Publishers Weekly

Table Of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preamble xi
 
1. Flags in the Wilderness 3
2. Madness and Civilization 31
3. Desire in the Wilderness 63
4. “Sing—Now!—to God”: Miriam and Moses 92
5. Bewilderments 119
6. Black Sun: Moses and Job 147
7. “From Another Shore”: Moses and Korach 170
8. Heart of Stone, Heart of Flesh 194
9. “Wherefore Could Not I Pronounce ‘Amen’?”: Balaam and Moses 234
10. To Be or Not to Be: A Tale of Five Sisters 263
11. “Let Me See That Good Land”: The Story of a Human Life 286
 
Notes 313
Bibliography 341
Index 345

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