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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I write about the Bible as a woman, a Jew, and a poet. I write about the Hebrew Bible because it is my heritage. The men and women in it are my mothers and fathers. Anywhere I look, it offers a mirror of myself.
In addition, the Song is extraordinary not only because of its sexual content but because its poetic structure and language imply alternatives to our usual modes of perceiving and categorizing reality, and especially to the usual ...
... the expository visions of synagogue and church is an exquisite insight: the love that forms human partnership and community, and that sustains the whole of creation, is a gift of God's own self.” 13 As the poet 16 For the Love of God.
13 As the poet Grace Schulman also remarks, “it seems a pity to miss the Song's wider implications by regarding it as being either religious or secular, without entertaining simultaneously sacred and erotic interpretations.
... and the blur of possibilities, unfortunately eliminated by many modern translations, is part of the essence of the Song. Millennia later, an equally ardent and riddling poet, Emily Dickinson, begins a poem 24 For the Love of God.