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The Gods Are Broken!: The Hidden Legacy of Abrahamby Jeffrey K. Salkin
Synopses & Reviews
The story of Abraham smashing his fathers idols might be the most important Jewish story ever told and the key to how Jews define themselves. In a work at once deeply erudite and wonderfully accessible, Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin conducts readers through the life and legacy of this powerful story and explains how it has shaped Jewish consciousness.
Offering a radical view of Jewish existence, The Gods Are Broken! views the story of the young Abraham as the “primal trauma” of Jewish history, one critical to the development of a certain Jewish comfort with rebelliousness and one that, happening in every generation, has helped Jews develop a unique identity. Salkin shows how the story continues to reverberate through the ages, even in its connection to the phenomenon of anti-Semitism.
Salkins work—combining biblical texts, archaeology, rabbinic insights, Hasidic texts (some never before translated), philosophy, history, poetry, contemporary Jewish thought, sociology, and popular culture—is nothing less than a journey through two thousand years of Jewish life and intellectual endeavor.
"Although it involves biblical characters, the widely known story of Abraham's smashing the idols in the shop of his father, Terah, is not in the Bible. Nevertheless, according to author Salkin (The Modern Men's Torah Commentary), it is the forerunner of monotheism, the beginning of Jewish history, and may 'be the most important Jewish story ever told.' His book tries to demonstrate the truth of these contentions by examining commentaries on the story by theologians, poets, writers, philosophers, a composer, and an artist. He examines the implications of the story for Christians and Muslims and its relationship to anti-Semitism. Salkin, a Reform rabbi, gave up his congregational pulpit to become director of the Anti-Defamation League's New Jersey office, claiming that this move gives him a new opportunity to fight against bigotry in general and anti-Semitism in particular. He makes impressive claims for the overriding significance of this story, but surely many biblical stories can arguably be considered to be 'the most important Jewish story.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the author of numerous books, including Righteous Gentiles in the Hebrew Bible: Ancient Role Models for Sacred Relationships and Putting God on the Guest List, winner of the 1993 Benjamin Franklin Award for the best religion book published in the United States.
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History and Social Science » Sociology » Jewish Studies