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Abraham: The First Historical Biography

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Abraham: The First Historical Biography

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Abraham: The First Historical Biography
By David Rosenberg
Basic Books (2007), 368 pages
ISBN-10: 0465070957
ISBN-13: 978-0465070954

Reviewed by Israel Drazin - February 9, 2010

After co-authoring The Book of J with Harold Bloom and The Book of David on his own, as well as other books, David Rosenberg turned to the man considered the founder of Judaism, Abraham. As with the two previously mentioned books, he offers his readers an iconoclastic, but interesting, in-depth and rich version of the biblical hero. Most of the narratives about Abraham need, of course, to be imaginative, but Rosenberg based his views on the known history of the times of Abraham and the cultures of the nations he lived in. Rosenberg portrays Abraham as an educated Sumerian who questioned the authenticity and values of the Sumerian culture, and who transformed and elevated them by means of clear sophisticated reasoning. Rosenberg's goal, he writes, is to "restore the cosmic theater enfolding biblical narrative and poetry." He seeks to uncover the lost Hebraic culture and reveal it "as a poet inspired by historical processes," and thereby explore the boundaries of the human situation.


Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of seventeen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides. The Orthodox Union (OU) and Yeshiva University publish weekly chapters of Drazin and Wagner's book Let's Study Onkelos on www.ou.org/torah and on www.yutorah@yutorah.org. His website is http://booksnthoughts.com.

The views expressed in this review/article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Eye.
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