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  • Published: 15 September 2017
  • ISBN: 9780805212518
  • Imprint: Doubleday US
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $32.99

Bewilderments



Now in paperback, a masterly analysis of the book of Numbers, the newest volume in the award-winning series of commentaries on the Hebrew Bible by "a celebrated biblical scholar, keen on on weaving together traditional Jewish exegesis, psychoanalysis, and postmodern criticism" (The New York Times Book Review)     Through the magnificent literary, scholarly, and psychological analysis of the text that is her trademark, Avivah Zornberg tackles the enduring puzzlement of the book of Numbers. What should have been for the Israelites a brief journey from Mount Sinai to the Holy Land has become a forty-year death march. Both before and after the devastating report of the Spies, the narrative centers on the people's desire to return to slavery in Egypt. At its heart are speeches of complaint and lament. But in the narrative of the book of Numbers that is found in mystical and Hasidic sources, the generation of the wilderness emerges as one of extraordinary spiritual experience, fed on miracles and nurtured directly by God: a generation of ecstatic faith, human partners in an unprecedented conversation with the Deity. Drawing on kabbalistic sources, the Hasidic commentators depict a people who transcend prudent considerations in order to follow God into the wilderness, where their spiritual yearning comes to full expression.     Is there a way to integrate this narrative of dark murmurings, of obsessive fantasies of return to Egypt, with the celebration of a love-intoxicated wilderness discourse? The question touches not only on the language the Israelites speak but also on the very nature of human utterance. What effect does the cumulative trauma of slavery, the miracles of Exodus, and the revelation at Sinai have on a nation that is beginning to speak? In Bewilderments, one of our most admired biblical commentators suggests fascinating answers to these questions.

  • Published: 15 September 2017
  • ISBN: 9780805212518
  • Imprint: Doubleday US
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg

Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg is the author of The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis, for which she received the National Jewish Book Award, and The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus. She was born in London and received a Ph.D. in English literature from Cambridge University. She lectures widely in Israel, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. She lives and teaches in Jerusalem.

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