Tikva Frymer-Kensky

Studies in Bible and Feminist Criticism by Tikva Frymer-Kensky is a collection of 30 essays addressing various topics in the Bible and comparing them with their treatment in Near Eastern religions. Of particular interest was her analysis of the ancient Mesopotamian myths of creation, the flood, and goddesses.

The primary focus of the collection was on different aspects of Judaism and how it compares with Near Eastern religions and Christianity. Frymer-Kensky explores Jewish law; perspectives on the image; the covenant; ecology; and the role of women. She interrogates the concept of gender-neutral terms for God. And in her final essay, “Woman Jews,” she includes personal reflections on why she is a Jew.

The essays were uneven, and there was some overlapping and repetition of ideas, especially in her discussion of the Mesopotamian poem, Atrahasis. Her reading of the poems, in particular the Enuma Elish, may be subject to interpretation since she disagrees with scholars who see the poem as a precursor to monotheism. But the depth and scope of her scholarship is impressive. The notes at the end of each chapter coupled with an extensive bibliography are provided for further reading.

Recommended for those with an interest in Jewish perspectives of the Bible.

AuthorTamara Agha-Jaffar
CategoriesBook Review