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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

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The Genesis of Ethics


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Burton L. Visotzky, one of America's most respected scholars of religion, guides readers through a close reading of the narratives of the Book of Genesis, exposing their brutal power and revealing how their moral dilemmas apply to ethical issues we face in our lives today.

Rabbi Visotzky has led highly regarded seminars, attended by novelists, poets, editors, filmmakers and critics, Fortune 500 CEOs, bankers, and attorneys. He also was a major participant in Bill Moyers's PBS Genesis series. His reading of Genesis opens the door to moral development for all readers--Christians, Jews, Muslims, and secularists.

As Burton Visotzky says, the Book of Genesis seems to be, at least on first reading, "an ugly little soap opera about a dysfunctional family . . . a story about rape, incest, murder, deception, brute force, sex, and blood lust.  But these stories reveal much about human dilemmas and ethical problems that mirror our own lives. By delving into the lives of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Esau and holding up these characters of Scripture to the light of critical inquiry, Burton Visotzky reveals much that is fresh and useful about ethics and morality.

"He is a rabbi who is earthy, playful, and full of insight, who refuses to draw a veil over the dark side of the Bible or of our own contemporary experience. "

--Thomas Cahill, author of How the Irish Saved Civilization

"[Visotzky] has a wonderfully earthy, human touch to his commentary, a perspective that can be especially refreshing for Christians who have seen the 'Old Testament' sanitized or ignored by their own tradition."

--San Francisco Chronicle

"Thrilling original insights . . . a new way to see and feel these old, old sentences. "

--The New York Times Magazine

"Visotzky delights in turning the gem of each story so that its facets, especially the darkest ones, gleam out at us. . . . The Genesis of Ethics is a unique contribution to Bible discussion. . . . One can only applaud and thank him. "

--Naomi Rosen, Congress Monthly

About the Author

Burton L. Visotzky holds the Nathan and Janet Appleman Chair of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He lives in New York City.

Product Details

Visotzky, Burton L.
Three Rivers Press (CA)
New York :
Bible - Study - General
Bible - Study - Old Testament
Ethical problems
Ethics in the bible
Christianity - Christian Life
Christianity - Christian Life - General
Christian Life - General
Biblical Studies - Old Testament
Philosophy | Ethics
Edition Number:
1st pbk. ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.66x5.50x.56 in. .66 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Humanities » Philosophy » Ethics
Religion » Christianity » General
Religion » Christianity » Old Testament » General

The Genesis of Ethics New Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages Three Rivers Press (CA) - English 9780609801673 Reviews:
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