Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Shadal on Exodus: Samuel David Luzzatto’s Interpretation of the Book of Shemot
Luzzatto, Samuel David
Klein, Daniel A., translator

New York: Kodesh, 2015 pp. 524. $29.95

Description: Samuel David Luzzatto (1800-1865), known by his Hebrew acronym Shadal, was the leading Italian Jewish scholar of the 19th century. A linguist, educator, and religious thinker, he devoted his talents above all to the interpretation of the Bible. As a master of Hebrew grammar and usage, he focused on the plain meaning of the text. Although he was a devout believer in the divinity, unity, and antiquity of the Torah, Shadal approached the text in a remarkably free spirit of inquiry, drawing upon a wide variety of sources, ancient and contemporary, Jewish and non-Jewish. As a result, his interpretations may strike even the modern reader as fresh and novel. Among the highlights of Shadal’s Exodus (Shemot) commentary are his view of the Ten Plagues as nature-based phenomena that nevertheless contained supranatural qualities, his discerning literary analysis of the Song of the Sea, and his daring willingness—despite his acceptance of rabbinic halakhah in practice—to look behind the Rabbis’ interpretation of the book’s legal sections and examine their literal meanings. Shadal’s treatment of Exodus, as well as the other books of the Torah, consisted of his Italian translation of the text and his Hebrew-language commentary. Here, for the first time, is an all-English version of both the text translation and the unabridged commentary, the first complete edition of Shadal’s Exodus since its original publication in 1872. The translator-editor has supplied explanatory notes and a list identifying the sources cited.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pentateuch, Exodus, Literature

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). In May 2019, SBL improved security of its main site with a new login procedure that requires an email address and a password, instead of an SBL member number. RBL’s login procedure is now synched to SBL’s. Please use your email address and SBL password to log in to RBL. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBL’s Terms of Use.


Email Address
SBL Password
 
  
 Forgot Your Password
 Join SBL or Renew Membership


Review by Alan Cooper
Published 12/26/2019
Citation: Alan Cooper, review of Samuel David Luzzatto, Shadal on Exodus: Samuel David Luzzatto’s Interpretation of the Book of Shemot, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).


Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.

 

 
Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us