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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Passions of the Matriarchs
Tuchman, Shera Aranoff and Sandra E Rapoport

Jersey City, N.J.: Ktav, 2004 pp. xxi + 376. $35.00

Description: The Bible is spare in its use of dialogue when it comes to the biblical matriarchs Ė Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. The written biblical text records at length, and in minute detail, the religious and national history of the Jewish people. Yet it only affords us a mere glimpse of the private and intimate lives of these strong and prophetic women. On the surface, these women--the biblical matriarchs--lived difficult and flawed lives. They endured childlessness, abduction, wearisome marriages, envy of the "other woman," and difficult children. We are left wondering what they thought and how they felt, as they lived their personal lives and built a nation. This book, for the first time ever, answers these questions by drawing extensively upon classical biblical commentaries and Talmudic and Rabbinic writings which reveal the underlying emotions of the matriarchs. The reader enters the world of the matriarchs, experiencing the agony of infertility, the ecstasy of passionate love, and the pain of being unloved. Their thoughts, feelings, words and actions are fleshed out, and the women emerge not as one-dimensional figures, but as complex women possessing an array of universal passions. At the same time, these women remain grounded in Godliness, building the "House of Israel" as partners with the patriarchs. The Passions of the Matriarchs is a riveting and readable book that tells the story behind the passions that ruled the lives of these laudable women.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Mishnah, Talmudic and Rabbinic Literature, Literature, Methods, Social-Scientific Approaches, Psychology

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Review by Amelia Devin Freedman
Published 4/28/2007
Citation: Amelia Devin Freedman, review of Shera Aranoff Tuchman And Sandra E Rapoport, The Passions of the Matriarchs, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2007).

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