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The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconsciousby Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
Synopses & Reviews
From one of the most innovative and acclaimed biblical commentators at work today, here is a revolutionary analysis of the intersection between religion and psychoanalysis in the stories of the men and women of the Bible.
For centuries scholars and rabbis have wrestled with the biblical narrative, attempting to answer the questions that arise from a plain reading of the text. In The Murmuring Deep, Avivah Zornberg informs her literary analysis of the text with concepts drawn from Freud, Winnicott, Laplanche, and other psychoanalytic thinkers to give us a new understanding of the desires and motivations of the men and women whose stories form the basis of the Bible. Through close readings of the biblical and midrashic texts, Zornberg makes a powerful argument for the idea that the creators of the midrashic commentary, the medieval rabbinic commentators, and the Hassidic commentators were themselves on some level aware of the complex interplay between conscious and unconscious levels of experience and used this knowledge in their interpretations.
In her analysis of the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, Abraham, Rebecca, Isaac, Joseph and his brothers, Ruth, and Esther–how they communicated with the world around them, with God, and with the various parts of their selves–Zornberg offers fascinating insights into the interaction between consciousness and unconsciousness. In discussing why God has to “seduce” Adam into entering the Garden of Eden or why Jonah thinks he can hide from God by getting on a ship, Zornberg enhances our appreciation of the Bible as the foundational text in our quest to understand what it means to be human.
With concepts drawn from psychoanalytic thinkers, attempts to answer the questions that scholars and rabbis have been wrestling with for centuries to give us a new understanding of the desires and motivations of the men and women whose stories form the basis of the Bible.
From the internationally acclaimed Israeli writer Meir Shalev comes a mesmerizing novel of two love stories, separated by half a century but connected by one enchanting act of devotion.
During the 1948 War of Independence--a time when pigeons are still used to deliver battlefield messages--a gifted young pigeon handler is mortally wounded. In the moments before his death, he dispatches one last pigeon. The bird is carrying his extraordinary gift to the girl he has loved since adolescence. Intertwined with this story is the contemporary tale of Yair Mendelsohn, who has his own legacy from the 1948 war. Yair is a tour guide specializing in bird-watching trips who, in middle age, falls in love again with a childhood girlfriend. His growing passion for her, along with a gift from his mother on her deathbed, becomes the key to a life he thought no longer possible.
Unforgettable in both its particulars and its sweep, A Pigeon and A Boy is a tale of lovers then and now--of how deeply we love, of what home is, and why we, like pigeons trained to fly in one direction only, must eventually return to it. In a voice that is at once playful, wise, and altogether beguiling, Meir Shalev tells a story as universal as war and as intimate as a winged declaration of love.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Meir Shalev was born in 1948 on Nahalal, Israel’s first moshav, and is one of Israel’s most celebrated novelists. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages and have been best sellers in Israel, Holland, and Germany. In 1999 the author was awarded the Juliet Club Prize (Italy). He has also received the Prime Minister’s Prize (Israel), the Chiavari (Italy), the Entomological Prize (Israel), the WIZO Prize (France, Israel, and Italy), and for A Pigeon and a Boy, the Brenner Prize, Israel’s highest literary recognition. A columnist for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Shalev lives in Jerusalem and in northern Israel with his wife and children.
Evan Fallenberg (www.evanfallenberg.com) translates fiction by well-known and upcoming Israeli writers. He teachs creative writing at Bar Ilan University in Israel and is the author of Light Fell, a novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Of the Murmuring Deep
I. BETWEEN GOD AND SELF
1 Seduced into Eden: The Beginning of Desire
2 Despondent Intoxication: The Flood
3 Jonah: A Fantasy of Flight
4 Esther: "Mere Anarchy is Loosed upon the World"
II. STRANGER WITHIN
5 In the Vale of Soul-Making: Abraham's Journey
6 Abraham Bound and Unbound: The Akedah
7 "Her Own Foreigner": Rebecca's Pregnancy
8 Blindness and Blessing: Isaac Trembles Twice
III. BETWEEN SELF AND OTHER
9 "And I Did Not Know. . .": The Secret of Prayer
10 The Pit and the Rope: Recovering Joseph
11 "What if Joseph Hates Us?": Closing the Book
12 Law and Narrative in the Book of Ruth
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