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Book Shop News: Rediscovered Treasures

Canon John Rettger’s recent Sunday Forum on Genesis 12 examined the familiar tale of Abraham’s (or rather, Abram’s) call from God to “go forth” in the light of recent Jewish scholarship. In doing so, he not only gave most of us a fresh vision of one of our most basic foundation stories, considering different ways we can see this portion of Scripture and how we might see ourselves in it as well, but also pointed to the liveliness and fruitfulness of Jewish writers in exploring it. The Book Shop now has copies of two of that Sunday’s recommended texts: The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis, by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, and Not in God’s Name, by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Professor Zornberg’s innovative use of midrash, literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis grows out of her own search for meaning, to discover how life and the Biblical text inform each other. Her “richly powerful and beautiful reanimation of the ancient te xt” (Publishers’ Weekly) earned the National Jewish Book Award, and though it’s not brand new, it’s new and fascinating to us!

The same award went in 2015 to Rabbi Sacks’ timely book, subtitled Confronting Religious Violence. Arguing that if religion is perceived as part of the problem, it must also form part of the solution. Looking anew at Genesis, he explores how religiously inspired violence has arisen from misreading Bible texts common to all the Abrahamic faiths, and offers a radical re-reading of its stories of sibling rivalry.

And, on another subject, we welcome a new shipment of beautiful scarves from Kyrgyzstan. We’ve waxed poetic about these before, but they’re worth another look (or two!): woven of the most delicate – weightless – silk, they’re “felted” with softest merino wool, creating mysteriously colorful, dreamlike patterns. Perhaps they’ll make you catch your breath as they did us! Come and see…