Reviews of “Biblical Seductions”

Praise for Biblical Seductions and author Sandra E. Rapoport:

The Catholic Bible Quarterly – April 2013

“To best describe Rapoport’s method in [Biblical Seductions], I would use the metaphor of a painter. Rapoport painstakingly paints a detailed picture, which is bold in design and color. The passages she examines become vivid to the modern reader… The [stories] become more immediate… Rapoport is especially adept at explaining the meanings of Hebrew words and the implications associated with those meanings in a way that is readily understandable by a nonspecialist.”

Jewish Book Review – April 2013

“Sandra E. Rapoport, an attorney who spent twelve years litigating sexual harassment cases . . . analyzes the stories of six women in the Hebrew Bible. These women found themselves in what we recognize as disturbing relationships with men. The tales involve seduction, rape, incest, murder, fratricide, and loss, but also triumph and the birth of sons. . . Rapoport fills in the gaps in the biblical narrative. . . . Always thoughtful and compelling, Rapoport’s work is recommended for Bible study and women’s groups.”

Dr. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg says:

“In this highly engaging book, Sandra Rapoport weaves material from traditional commentary, midrash, and modern biblical scholarship into a thoughtful account of six biblical seduction narratives.  Her background as an attorney specializing in sexual harassment cases enriches her approach to the text.”

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks says:

“With verve and literary insight Sandra Rapoport takes us through some of the most fraught narratives of the Hebrew Bible—tales of passion and exploitation—bringing them vividly to life and revealing them to be rich with contemporary resonances.  A powerful and provocative work.”

Professor Phyllis Trible says:

“In this inimitable book, Sandra Rapoport excels as passionate reader, imaginative exegete, and indefatigable storyteller.  She interweaves biblical narratives with Talmudic, midrashic, and modern commentary to give us treasures old and new.  Truly a remarkable achievement with contemporary relevance.”

61st National Jewish Book Awards Tribute-March 2012

“Rapoport uncovers the simple meaning of the text, rabbinic and medieval commentaries, midrash, and contemporary scholarly and feminist perspectives on these complex Biblical stories. The texts work together cohesively, the style is elegant, and new ways of revealing the texts are illuminated.”

Jewish Book Council-Fall 2011

“Sandra E. Rapoport, a lawyer and independent scholar, has examined anew six [biblical] stories of seduction, betrayal, and sometimes love… This well-written book is more than a retelling, but rather [is] a re-positioning of the stories and how we have understood them in past scholarship, and how we might view them today. Re-positioning in the sense that they are taken out of the biblical text and explored as moral tales that stand on their own and withstand the test of time. Rapoport has done an extraordinary job…presenting a coherent analysis of flawed characters often trying to do the right thing, and the consequences of their actions and inactions.”

Publishers Weekly-March 28, 2011

“Rapoport, an attorney and author, examines the narratives relating to six women in the Bible who either seduced or were violated…  [She] does a fine job of weighing every angle of the story to provide readable in-depth analyses, and she grips readers…certain to please…”

Library Journal-May 1, 2011

“Rapoport…is dedicated to understanding the lives and deeds of the women of Hebrew Scripture, and here she has taken up some difficult subjects — the raped Tamar and Dinah, the seductive daughters of Lot, Bathsheba, and Ruth.  With the imagination of the novelist but the method of a teacher, Rapoport treats these women as real persons and wonders what motivated them and those around them, always finding a lesson for contemporary readers.  Verdict:  A…moving book on stories sometimes deemed untouchable; suitable for reading groups…”

JOFA Journal-Summer 2011

“…Highly readable…Sandra Rapoport retells and explores six biblical episodes in which the sexuality of the female characters is ‘used or abused.’…The narratives are enriched by Rapoport’s background as an attorney specializing in sexual harassment cases.”

Jewish Action-Fall 5772/2011

“Sandra E. Rapoport, an author and a teacher,…tell[s] these biblical stories in full color…  Where the classics leave unanswered questions, Rapoport fills in the holes through modern literary analysis and creative storytelling…  The result is a sensitive, penetrating analysis of Biblical stories often overlooked…  Rapoport’s writing is compelling…”

AJL Reviews-September/October 2011

“Sandra Rapoport’s commentary belongs on the shelves along with those of Avivah Zornberg and Tikva Frymer-Kensky, whose work she cites in footnotes. She tackles those troublesome x-rated stories that many would like to ignore: Lot’s seduction by his daughters; the rape of Dinah and her brothers’ murderous response; David’s lust for Bathsheba; the provocative stories of the two different Tamars, one a seduction and one a rape; and finally the story of Ruth and Boaz…  [I]t is compelling reading…   I recommend this highly…”

Hirhurim Musings-March 3, 2011

“…[Rapoport’s] recent book, Biblical Seductions:  Six Stories Retold Based on Talmud and Midrash… [is] impressive… simply indispensable for anyone studying these biblical stories.”

Reference & Research Book News-April 2011

“Continuing her examination of women in the Hebrew Bible, Rapoport retells and comments on six stories in which women stepped outside acceptable behavior to help their families or their people. They are Lot and his daughters, Dinah and Shechem, Judah and Tamar, David and Batsheva, Amnon and Tamar, and Ruth and Boaz. By day she [was] an attorney specializing in sexual harassment cases.”

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