Reviews in Brief

Biblical Seductions: Six Stories Retold Based on Talmud and Midrash

imageBiblical Seductions:
Six Stories Retold Based on Talmud and Midrash

By Sandra E. Rapoport
Ktav Publishing House
New Jersey, 2011
540 pages

For many people, engaging in modern Biblical scholarship means ignoring all previous attempts to understand the Bible. Recent trends, however, incorporate modern and ancient explanations, allowing the contemporary scholar to join the commentarial discussion with his new tools and perspectives. Sandra E. Rapoport, an author and a teacher, combines literary analysis with midrash and classical commentaries to tell these Biblical stories in full color, studying in detail the characters’ motivations and feelings at each step. Where the classics leave unanswered questions, Rapoport fills in the holes through modern literary analysis and creative storytelling. Without overreaching (generally), she suggests possible motivations and emotional reactions of the characters that fit with the overall plot development. The result is a sensitive, penetrating analysis of Biblical stories often overlooked. Despite the provocative title and subject, the author’s care with words and avoidance of innuendo free the book from any salacious undertones. Rapoport’s writing is compelling, and her questions are always important points around which to analyze the text.

Rabbi Gil Student writes frequently on Jewish issues and blogs at

This article was featured in the Fall 2011 issue of Jewish Action.
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