For the Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book
Rutgers University Press, 2009 - 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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This is neither the usual picture of scripture nor its usual function. Scripture is supposed to be boring, full of begats; or a text used to regulate people's behavior and suppress their enjoyment of life; or something to save them from ...
The biblical scholar and translator Robert Alter observes that scripture incorporates radically diverse conceptions “of history, ethics, psychology . . . of priesthood and laity, Israel and the nations, even of God.
Scripture is deeply archaic and starkly contemporary, universalist and tribal, conservative and radical, personal and public, hotly physical and coolly metaphysical. It can and should yield nourishment to many different sorts of hunger.
Readers coming to the Song of Songs for the first time commonly express astonishment 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.
What is this most erotic sequence of poems doing in sacred scripture? The question is an ancient one, and it raises the larger question of what we mean—or might mean—by “sacredness,” by “scripture,” and by “the erotic.