Winner of the National Jewish Book Award
Since its publication in 1995, The Beginning of Desire has opened new pathways in the reading of the Bible. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg’s innovative use of midrash, literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis draws deeply upon the familiar biblical narratives to produce interpretations that are at once startlingly beautiful and completely authentic. Illuminating the tensions that grip human beings as they search for an encounter with God, Zornberg gives us a brilliant analysis of the stories of Adam and Eve; Noah; Abraham and Sarah; Isaac and Rebecca; Jacob, Rachel, and Leah; and Joseph and his brothers.
About the Author
Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg earned a Ph.D. in English literature from Cambridge University, and worked as a lecturer in the English Department at Hebrew University before turning to the teaching of religion. She has conducted classes in Torah for thousands of students at several different institutions in Israel. She also lectures widely in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and holds a visiting lectureship at the London School of Jewish Studies, an affiliate of the University of London.
“Deserves to be the most widely read book on the Bible in years, perhaps decades.”
“Not only is Zornberg’s book leagues removed from popular trivializations, it also does what all successful midrash is meant to do: open up new perspectives on ancient texts.”
“A sinewy, powerful, and hauntingly beautiful reanimation of the ancient text of early Israel and of their heroes and heroines.”
“Spectacular readings . . . A beautiful and arresting exercise in biblical literary criticism; highly recommended.”
“Zornberg brings a brilliant mastery of psychology, literature, and Judaismto bear on the Bible . . . This is an extraordinary book.”
—The Jerusalem Report