by Rachel Barenblat

Subversive Torah

The radical idea that it’s an open book

In For the Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book (Rutgers, $22.95), Alicia Ostriker explores “countertexts” in Torah, texts which deviate from dominant Biblical themes and offer the seeds of subversion within the Bible itself. Her claim is that the Bible can be read in a way that undermines the mainstream American culture which ostensibly arises out of it. Of course, this is not news to progressive Jews. But what makes this small book powerful is not its basic thesis, but the prooftexts Ostriker brings to bear — and the impassioned precision with which she makes her arguments clear.

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