Who’s Who in the Jew­ish Bible

David Man­del
  • Review
By – March 2, 2012

This ref­er­ence work offers com­pre­hen­sive bib­li­ogra­phies of every char­ac­ter men­tioned by name in the Hebrew Bible. The infor­ma­tion is culled entire­ly from the Bib­li­cal nar­ra­tive, with no exter­nal sources or edi­to­r­i­al com­men­tary. This lack of agen­da or spin is refresh­ing, though at times we are left with unan­swered ques­tions: why did Rachel steal her father’s idols, why was Aaron not pun­ished along with Miri­am for rebuk­ing their broth­er Moses? 

Mandel’s research is thor­ough and impres­sive. The author intends the work to be used by Chris­t­ian and Jew­ish groups alike, for var­i­ous types of aca­d­e­m­ic and infor­mal study, by chil­dren and adults. It would have been help­ful for him to make sug­ges­tions as to how the resource can be used, for exam­ple, to intrigue a read­er to fol­low a Bib­li­cal sto­ry, or to offer a read­er of the Bible more insight on a char­ac­ter who spans sev­er­al chap­ters or books. 

Since he spec­i­fies that under study is the Jew­ish Bible, it would also have been help­ful to have the Hebrew pro­nun­ci­a­tion of the names along­side the English/​academic spelling. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, intro­duc­to­ry essays, timeline. 

Miri­am C. Berkowitz holds a B.A. in Inter­na­tion­al Rela­tions Magna cum Laude from Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty and an M.A. and Rab­binic Ordi­na­tion from the Schechter Insti­tute in Jerusalem. A wide­ly pub­lished writer, her teshu­vah on mikveh was recent­ly accept­ed by the Com­mit­tee of Jew­ish Laws and Stan­dards, and she was appoint­ed to serve on the Com­mit­tee for a five-year term.

Discussion Questions