For the Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book
Rutgers University Press, 2007 - 164 páginas
Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2008
Alicia Ostriker named to Moment Magazine's list of Ten Great Jewish Poets, 2011Quoting 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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Here is a sentence I should like to see inscribed on the forehead of every literalist and fundamentalist on earth—Jewish, Christian, Muslim—everyone who has the arrogance to believe that we human beings, specks of dust that we are in ...
... at its apparently sacrilegious presence in scripture; God is never mentioned once in it; yet the great rabbi Akiba declared the Song “a holy of holies.” By both Jews and Christians, the Song has been interpreted as a sacred text.
Let me make several suggestions. First: the love celebrated in the Song may be understood as equally natural and spiritual. It is no accident that Jewish, Christian, Sufi and The Song of Songs 11.
It is no accident that Jewish, Christian, Sufi and Hindu mystics all speak of God as the beloved and that everyone in love sees the beloved's face as holy. If elsewhere we must divide the “sacred” from the “secular,” that division is ...
Christian commentary has taken it to represent the love of Christ for the Church, or for the individual Christian soul, or the “mystical marriage” of God and the Virgin Mary. Both Jewish and Christian mystical writings have been deeply ...