Biblical Seductions: Six Stories Retold Based on Talmud and Midrash

KTAV  2011

The Bible’s approach to sex and sexual matters is not timid and presents us with stories that, even as modern readers, we struggle to understand and question what wisdom we can discern from these ancient tales. Sandra E. Rapoport, a lawyer and independent scholar, has examined anew six stories of seduction, betrayal, and, sometimes love, that are familiar to the reader. She retells the stories and weaves in traditional interpretations from Talmud and Midrash to help us delve further into the characters and the motivations for their actions.

The book begins with one of the most controversial and disturbing stories, Lot and His Daughters, then moves on to the familiar stories of Dinah and Shechem, Judah and Tamar, David and Batsheva, Ruth and Boaz, and the less known story of Amnon and Tamar.

This well-written book is more than a retelling, but rather, 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 of researching the commentary and presenting a coherent analysis of flawed characters, often trying to do the right thing, and, the consequences of their actions, or inactions.

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