No figure looms larger in Jewish culture than Moses, and few have stories more enigmatic. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, acclaimed for her many books on Jewish thought, turns her attention to Moses in this remarkably rich, evocative book.
Drawing on a broad range of sources—literary as well as psychoanalytic, a wealth of classical Jewish texts alongside George Eliot, W. G. Sebald, and Werner Herzog—Zornberg offers a vivid and original portrait of the biblical Moses. Moses's vexing personality, his uncertain origins, and his turbulent relations with his own people are acutely explored by Zornberg, who sees this story, told and retold, as crucial not only to the biblical past but also to the future of Jewish history.
"A celebrated biblical scholar, keen on weaving together traditional Jewish exegesis, psychoanalysis and postmodern criticism, Zornberg always displays minute attention to the psychological subtext of the Scriptures. . . . Bringing together copious, diverse and sometimes dissonant references (spanning Hasidic masters, George Eliot, Zizek and Beckett, among others), Zornberg gives a new tour of the life of Moses."—Clemence Boulouque, New York Times Book Review
"In this exceptionally well-written book, which has the elegance of literature, Zornberg sidesteps the historical question. She treats Moses as a fictional character, not because she rejects his possible historicity but rather because she focuses on him as a personality. . . . The result is a thoughtful and highly literate read."—Robert A. Segal, Times Higher Education Supplement
"For those wishing to engage the legacy of Moses more deeply, this is a must-read."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Brings together a rich literary reading of the biblical text, Midrashic insights, and contemporary psychology and sociology…This book will prove invaluable to teachers and students who want a deeper sense of the originating and ongoing significance of this ‘man of God’.”—Matthew J. Lynch, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
"Only Avivah Zornberg could tell the story of Moses in such a way as to situate him on the very cusp of the sacred and the human while showing how completely he participates in both. Only Zornberg has the prodigious scholarship to draw out from her sources the uniquely anguished and creative energy of Moses’ life. In doing so she makes a plea for a Jewish ethics grounded in the outsider, the one who stutters and falls, while at the same time returning Moses as a fully modern prophet to the modern world."—Jacqueline Rose, author of The Last Resistance and Women in Dark Times
"The author has perfected a distinctive approach to the biblical text that is both traditional and post-modern, playful and profound, imaginative but also truthful."—Steven Weitzman, author of Solomon: The Lure of Wisdom