Torah scholar Zornberg reads Leviticus through the lens of commentaries from the rabbis of the Talmud, medieval and Hasidic scholars, philosophers, psychoanalysts and literary masters to consider the book's message about the nature of reward and punishment, good and evil, Eros and Thanatos and humankind's complicated encounter with the divine.
Zornberg creates a revolving world of texts that often flashes with new insight on the biblical material. At times, though, this interpretive process could benefit from engaging more directly the difficulties readers have when encountering these sources from the past. While Zornberg is erudite within her circle of texts, there are places where it would have been appropriate to slow down and deal more directly with the gaps between the historical authors and the contemporary readers, on issues of disability, race, sexuality, and violence ... Although readers might be occasionally disappointed by an infelicitous approach to a delicate topic or a missed opportunity for a critical conversation with pre-modern quotations, reading Leviticus alongside Zornberg still manages to be a thoughtful, informative experience.
... a stirring examination of Leviticus ... Zornberg’s nuanced interpretations reward close study, particularly her observation that 'stumbling' is essential to the process of understanding God’s words and 'failure is the process by which the Torah becomes real.' This outstanding exegesis builds on its penetrating analysis of the Golden Calf and a surprising roster of sources—including Aristotle, George Eliot, and Sigmund Freud—to arrive at an original and persuasive take on Leviticus. Admirers of Karen Armstrong’s The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts will be richly rewarded.
... a densely detailed, challenging tour of the traditional and mystical readings of Leviticus, drawing especially from the Midrash and other Jewish writings and interpretations through history ... Assuming that her readers are familiar with the scriptural background, Zornberg spends very little time on reviewing the text itself ... Though this book is an impressive scholarly reference, it will be confusingly inaccessible to readers without a prior working knowledge of midrashic scholarship and Hebrew. A work of depth and cultural value that will have limited appeal beyond religious scholars.