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 serves as the Nathan and Janet Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he joined the faculty upon his ordination as Rabbi in 1977. He has served as the Associate and Acting Dean of the Graduate School (1991-96), as the founding Rabbi of the egalitarian worship service of the Seminary Synagogue, and as the director of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at JTS. Prof. Visotzky has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University, a visiting fellow and life member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, as well as a visiting faculty member at Princeton Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College, and the Russian State University of the Humanities in Moscow. Dr. Visotzky is also Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at Union Theological Seminary, New York. In Spring, '04 he was Visiting Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies at Princeton University. Rabbi Visotzky has been chosen to serve as the Master Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, during Spring, 2007. Dr. Visotzky received his B.A. with honors and highest distinction from the University of Illinois (Chicago), a Masters in Education from Harvard University, and his M.A., Rabbinic ordination, and Ph.D., and D.H.L. (hon.) from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prof. Visotzky's articles and reviews have been published in America, Europe, and Israel. He is the author of eight books. Visotzky's popular volumes include: Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text (1991), The Genesis of Ethics: How the Tormented Family of Genesis leads us to Moral Development (1996), The Road to Redemption: Lessons from Exodus on Leadership and Community (1998), and From Mesopotamia to Modernity: Ten Introductions to Jewish History and Literature (1999). With Bill Moyers, he developed ten hours of television for PBS on the book of Genesis, serving as consultant and a featured on-screen participant. The series, "Genesis: A Living Conversation," premiered in October, 1996. Visotzky was also a consultant to Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks for their 1998 film, "Prince of Egypt." Visotzky is active in Jewish/Christian/Muslim dialogue internationally, in capitals such as Warsaw, Rome, Cairo, and Doha, Qatar. Rabbi Visotzky is active as a lecturer and scholar-in-residence throughout North America, Europe, and Israel. His study groups and books have been hailed on radio, television, and in print. He is married to an attorney, Sandra Edelman. They make their home in New York City and Kent, Connecticut.