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Moses: A Life

por Jonathan Kirsch

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290369,870 (3.72)2
Lawgiver and liberator. Seer and prophet. The only human permitted to converse with God "face-to-face." Moses is the most commanding presence in the Old Testament. Yet as Jonathan Kirsch shows in this brilliant, stunningly original volume, Moses was also an enigmatic and mysterious figure--at once a good shepherd and a ruthless warrior, a spiritual leader and a magician, a lawgiver who broke his own laws, God's chosen friend and hounded victim. Now, in Moses: A Life, Kirsch accomplishes the wondrous feat of revealing the real Moses, a strikingly modern figure who steps out from behind the facade of Sunday school lessons and movie matinees. Drawing on the biblical text and a treasury of both scholarship and storytelling, Kirsch examines all that is known and all that has been imagined of Moses. In these vivid pages, we see the marvels and mysteries of Moses's life in a new light--his rescue in infancy and adoption by an Egyptian princess; his reluctant assumption of the role of liberator; his struggles to wrest his people from the pharaoh's dominion; his desperate vigil on Mount Sinai. Here too is the darker, more ominous Moses--the sorcerer, the husband of a pagan woman, the military commander who cold-bloodedly ordered the slaying of innocent people; the beloved of God whom God sought twice to murder. Jonathan Kirsch brings both prodigious knowledge and a keen imagination to one of the most compelling stories of the Bible, and the results are fascinating. A figure of mystery, passion, and contradiction, Moses emerges from this book very much a hero for our time.… (mais)
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The author uses the Bible, extra-Biblical literature, and Jewish exegesis to fill in the story of Moses and attempt to explain some of the contradictions that appear in the Biblical account. As always, the author rights in a smooth, easy to read style that carries the reader from chapter to chapter. ( )
  Devil_llama | Apr 17, 2011 |
One of my favorite traditions is watching The Ten Commandments on TV -- the story as told by Cecil B. DeMille is a grand piece of cinematic achievement. Now, after having read Moses: A Life, I appreciate the story of the freeing of the Hebrew slaves and the following forty years of wandering in a wholly new way.

Full review: http://libwen.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/moses-a-life-by-jonathan-kirsch/ ( )
  juliayoung | May 6, 2010 |
Moses: A Life is a vivid portrait of the life of Moses, a character in the bible and in history. The author, Jonathan Kirsch, weaves an enchanting narrative by interspersing the bible’s depiction of Moses with fanciful stories in rabbinic and midrashic literature, modern scholarship, and even wild speculations by Sigmund Freud. And while there is no evidence, apart from scripture, for the historical existence of Moses, Kirsch says it’s beside the point. The idea of Moses is what matters: A liberator of his people, a confidant to the Israelite tribal god Yahweh, the lawgiver who brought down the Ten Commandments, and the miracle worker.

Through Kirsch’s pen the fairy tale “life” of Moses comes alive. I enjoyed reading the book and I hope to read more of his work.

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  HeathenDan | May 17, 2009 |
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I have set before thee life and death,
the blessing and the curse;
therefore choose life, that thou mayest live.

--MOSES
DEUTERONOMY 30:19

Four hundred years of bondage in Egypt, rendered as a metaphoric memory, can be spoken in a moment; in a single sentence. What this sentence is, we know; we have built every idea of moral civilization on it. It is a sentence that conceivably sums up at the start every revelation that came afterward: "The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you,and you shall love him as yourself; because you were strangers in the land of Egypt."
--CYNTHIA OZICK
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For Ann, Adam, and Jennifer,
Remember us in Life, O Lord who delighteth in life . . .

And for my mother and stepfather, Dvora and Elmer Heller,
and inscribe us in the Book of Life . . .

And in loving memory of my father, Robert (Reuven) Kirsch;
my grandparents, Rose (Rachel) Nisman and Morris (Moshe) Nisman;
and my father-in-law, Ezra Benjamin
May their names be recalled for a blessing.
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Lawgiver and liberator. Seer and prophet. The only human permitted to converse with God "face-to-face." Moses is the most commanding presence in the Old Testament. Yet as Jonathan Kirsch shows in this brilliant, stunningly original volume, Moses was also an enigmatic and mysterious figure--at once a good shepherd and a ruthless warrior, a spiritual leader and a magician, a lawgiver who broke his own laws, God's chosen friend and hounded victim. Now, in Moses: A Life, Kirsch accomplishes the wondrous feat of revealing the real Moses, a strikingly modern figure who steps out from behind the facade of Sunday school lessons and movie matinees. Drawing on the biblical text and a treasury of both scholarship and storytelling, Kirsch examines all that is known and all that has been imagined of Moses. In these vivid pages, we see the marvels and mysteries of Moses's life in a new light--his rescue in infancy and adoption by an Egyptian princess; his reluctant assumption of the role of liberator; his struggles to wrest his people from the pharaoh's dominion; his desperate vigil on Mount Sinai. Here too is the darker, more ominous Moses--the sorcerer, the husband of a pagan woman, the military commander who cold-bloodedly ordered the slaying of innocent people; the beloved of God whom God sought twice to murder. Jonathan Kirsch brings both prodigious knowledge and a keen imagination to one of the most compelling stories of the Bible, and the results are fascinating. A figure of mystery, passion, and contradiction, Moses emerges from this book very much a hero for our time.

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