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Torah Song: The Theological Role of Torah Poetry

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Geula Twersky’s book, Torah Song: The Theological Role of Torah Poetry, provides the reader with the musical notes, instruments, and tempo to uncover the inspiring and moving world of Biblical poetry. — Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President, Yeshiva University

 

Geula Twersky has marshalled an impressive range of traditional biblical commentary and contemporary scholarship to offer insight into some of the most challenging, significant, and elusive texts of the Hebrew Bible. — Dr. Erica Brown, Vice Provost of Values and Leadership

Geula Twersky’s Torah Song is enlightening and thought-provoking. It is a remarkable effort at analyzing the major poems of the Torah, and is a creative attempt to underline how the entire Torah—and particularly its poetic passages—forms an intricate network of ideas that unite the ideology of the Torah. Twersky’s book will prompt readers to exert extra effort to fathom the divine treasures underlying biblical poetry, and to become religiously inspired through these efforts. — Rabbi Hayyim Angel

Twersky asks not only what the texts mean and how they say what they mean, but more profoundly, why certain things are said in poetry rather than prose. — Professor Aaron Koller, Associate Professor of Near Eastern and Jewish Studies, Yeshiva University

God chose to reveal Himself to the world through the written word—not only in prose narrative but also in poetic song. Indeed, the Torah refers to itself as a “song.” Twersky helps us develop methodological sensitivities that make us more receptive to hearing God’s divine song. — Rabbi Jeffrey Saks, Editor, Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought

Torah Song seeks to grasp the seemingly impenetrable mechanism of biblical poetry and to access the essential theological function that it plays in the Torah. Mining the poetry of the Torah for its theological gems necessitates that we acknowledge Torah poetry and prose to be fundamentally distinctive literary forms. Poetry, unlike prose, precludes the possibility of pinning it down in an absolute sense. Its allure derives from a certain indefinable harmony between articulation and intimation, best expressed in the language of the fine arts as impressionism. The shift in genre from ‘realism’ to ‘impressionism’ calls for an interpretive approach that relinquishes the insistence upon restrained exactitude, thereby allowing for analytical spontaneity. Torah Song articulates a groundbreaking interpretive methodology specific to the unique needs of biblical poetry and demonstrates the poetry of the Torah to function as a loosely connected, broad meditation on Israel’s unmitigated acceptance of God’s earthly domain, קבלת עול מלכות שמים, within their role as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, ממלכת כהנים וגוי קדוש, caretakers of the divine covenant.

 

View Sample Pages

Geula Twersky’s book, Torah Song: The Theological Role of Torah Poetry, provides the reader with the musical notes, instruments, and tempo to uncover the inspiring and moving world of Biblical poetry. — Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President, Yeshiva University

  Geula Twersky has marshalled an impressive range of traditional biblical commentary and contemporary scholarship to offer insight into some of the most challenging, significant, and elusive texts of the Hebrew Bible. — Dr. Erica Brown, Vice Provost of Values and Leadership

Geula Twersky’s Torah Song is enlightening and thought-provoking. It is a remarkable effort at analyzing the major poems of the Torah, and is a creative attempt to underline how the entire Torah—and particularly its poetic passages—forms an intricate network of ideas that unite the ideology of the Torah. Twersky’s book will prompt readers to exert extra effort to fathom the divine treasures underlying biblical poetry, and to become religiously inspired through these efforts. — Rabbi Hayyim Angel

Twersky asks not only what the texts mean and how they say what they mean, but more profoundly, why certain things are said in poetry rather than prose. — Professor Aaron Koller, Associate Professor of Near Eastern and Jewish Studies, Yeshiva University

God chose to reveal Himself to the world through the written word—not only in prose narrative but also in poetic song. Indeed, the Torah refers to itself as a “song.” Twersky helps us develop methodological sensitivities that make us more receptive to hearing God’s divine song. — Rabbi Jeffrey Saks, Editor, Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought

Torah Song seeks to grasp the seemingly impenetrable mechanism of biblical poetry and to access the essential theological function that it plays in the Torah. Mining the poetry of the Torah for its theological gems necessitates that we acknowledge Torah poetry and prose to be fundamentally distinctive literary forms. Poetry, unlike prose, precludes the possibility of pinning it down in an absolute sense. Its allure derives from a certain indefinable harmony between articulation and intimation, best expressed in the language of the fine arts as impressionism. The shift in genre from 'realism' to 'impressionism' calls for an interpretive approach that relinquishes the insistence upon restrained exactitude, thereby allowing for analytical spontaneity. Torah Song articulates a groundbreaking interpretive methodology specific to the unique needs of biblical poetry and demonstrates the poetry of the Torah to function as a loosely connected, broad meditation on Israel's unmitigated acceptance of God’s earthly domain, קבלת עול מלכות שמים, within their role as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, ממלכת כהנים וגוי קדוש, caretakers of the divine covenant.  
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