Moses: A Human Life

Yale Univ. Nov. 2016. 240p. illus. notes. ISBN 9780300209624. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780300225129. BIOG
Widely published Torah scholar Zornberg (The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious) continues here her method of reading and interpreting biblical texts through an amalgam of literary theory, psychoanalysis, midrash, and the arts, with a perspective on biblical leader and lawgiver Moses. As with her previous works, this is not for the faint of heart. Zornberg does not so much tell a story as weave a complex web of signifiers that are intended to augment the brevity of biblical narrative with the nuance, spirituality, and psychological insight that she argues is missing from the text. For instance, speaking of Moses's prophetic voice, she writes, "The murmuring deep gives voice to those chinks in the carapace of meaning," a sentence that demands reflection as well as the energy to challenge all that is behind it. Ultimately, Zornberg concludes that Moses is for her "the quintessential voice of Israel," simultaneously personal and transcendent.
VERDICT A thoughtful work that is worth the effort for spiritually erudite and patient readers.
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