Cas­san­dra Mis­reads the Book of Samuel & Oth­er Untold Tales of the Prophets

Gidon Roth­stein
  • Review
By – December 20, 2011
Ordained rab­bi Gidon Roth­stein is also a mas­ter teacher and sto­ry­teller. Aside from his well-received aca­d­e­m­ic writ­ings in the fields of Bible and Jew­ish stud­ies, Roth­stein has a gift for cast­ing tra­di­tion­al themes in a pop­u­lar fic­tion­al for­mat. His first nov­el, Mur­der in the Mik­dash, takes place in post Mes­sian­ic Israel and so real­is­ti­cal­ly por­trays what life would have been like at that time that it now has a teacher’s guide. 

In Cas­san­dra Mis­reads the Book of Samuel & Oth­er Untold Tales of the Prophets, Roth­stein retells sev­er­al Bib­li­cal sto­ries in con­tem­po­rary lan­guage that nev­er­the­less retains the fla­vor of the peri­od in which the sto­ries take place. The Bible often leaves much unsaid, and the Midrash fre­quent­ly fills in some of the gaps. Here Roth­stein cre­ates his own midrash for sev­er­al Bib­li­cal episodes. Tak­ing lib­er­ties with the text and invent­ing dia­logue, he tells us what could have been said. What did Eli’s sons say to their father? How does one train to be a prophet and how does a prophet get his books (i.e. scrolls) pub­lished? What was it like for a fam­i­ly to expe­ri­ence the episode of the Gold­en Calf? Rothstein’s answers are fas­ci­nat­ing. His sto­ries feel authen­tic, despite the con­tem­po­rary idiom. He blends deep knowl­edge and respect for the Bib­li­cal text with rab­binic and con­tem­po­rary schol­ar­ship, result­ing in an enchant­i­ng book filled with lessons about truth, courage, and meaning. 
Wal­lace Greene, Ph.D., has held sev­er­al uni­ver­si­ty appoint­ments, and cur­rent­ly writes and lec­tures on Jew­ish and his­tor­i­cal subjects.

Discussion Questions