A Woman Called Moses: A Prophet for Our Time

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Description

What if there was another Moses, very different from the one we know?

According to tradition, Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. He is depicted there in a surprising way: with and against God; with and against his people; bringer of the Tablets of the Law, which he breaks; a stuttering prophet, guide to a Promised Land entry to which remains forbidden to him, and dead in an unknown tomb... Highly confusing for those who imagine a Moses carved out of a single block.

By way a series of possible portraits - including one of a female Moses - Jean-Christophe Attias follows the metamorphoses of the Hebrew liberator through ages and cultures. Drawing on rabbinical sources as well as the Bible itself, he examines the words of the texts and especially their silences. He discovers here a fragile prophet, teacher of a Judaism of the spirit, of wandering, and of incompleteness.

Receive and transmit. Listen, even when the message is confusing. Insistently question, especially when there is no answer. And always, remain free. This seems to be the Judaism of Moses. A Judaism that speaks to believers and others - to Jews, of course, but also far beyond them, inviting its hearers to have done with tribal pride, the violence of weapons, and the tyranny of a special place.

Product Details

Price
$27.95  $25.71
Publisher
Verso
Publish Date
April 07, 2020
Pages
224
Dimensions
5.6 X 0.9 X 8.4 inches | 0.7 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9781788736398

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About the Author

Jean-Christophe Attias is professor of medieval Jewish thought at the École pratique des hautes études (Université PSL, Paris). Author of numerous scholarly works, essays and a personal memoir, he has published in English: Israël, the Impossible Land, The Jews and their Future: A Conversation on Jewish Identities, The Jew and the Other, and The Jews and the Bible.

Reviews

"In one of the most imaginative and creative works of contemporary Jewish thought, Jean-Christophe Attias presents a fascinating interpretation of Moses as a woman. Building on intriguing suggestions in the Bible, Attias inspires us to wonder how our understandings of the Bible and its sacred history might change if we think of Moses as female."
--Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College

"In this original and magical portrait of Moses, Attias takes the stock figure of the stern lawgiver and transforms him into 'one of us.' His Moses combines humility and grandeur, frailty and strength. He is a Jew and a non-Jew, 'and all the more of a human being because he is both.' Likewise, 'fully a man because he is also a woman.' Even his death emphasizes his humanity: he 'dies likes the rest of us, prematurely.' 'We do not know who buried him.' But we do know who brings him back to life: Attias the scribe. In this inspired, humane and deeply moving book, the 'Woman called Moses' speaks also to 'those of us who are secular.' She is truly 'a prophet for our times.'"
--Brian Klug

"Who was Moses? Not the historical Moses or the Moses of tradition, but the biblical Moses without apologetics, Moses in his most contradictory and obscure configuration. In A Woman Called Moses Attias presents us with a provocative, evocative, and courageous reading of Moses, seamlessly drawing from the biblical imaginary and classical commentaries combined with modern sensibilities and literary finesse that brings this imaginary figure to life. Attias' pen sparkles with literary insight and poetic breadth. This work should be enjoyed slowly, like fine French wine."
--Shaul Magid, Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College

"Attias's respect and attention to Moses's example and legacy shines through ... Open-minded readers are in for a thought-provoking treat."
--Publishers Weekly