Item description for The Burning Word: A Christian Encounter with Jewish Midrash (Many Mansions Book) by Judith M. Kunst...
Overview Midrash, an ancient Jewish method for interpreting the Bible, views the Bible as one side of a conversation, started by God. Kunst invites readers to explore midrash for the first time through a conversation between the author's own experiences and stories and insights of Jewish thought.
Midrash is a Hebrew word meaning "to search out." This ancient, Jewish method for interpreting the Bible searches not for what is familiar but for what is unfamiliar, not for what's clear but for what's unclear, and then wrestles with the text, passionately, playfully, and reverently. Midrash views the Bible as one side of a conversation, started by God, containing an implicit invitation to keep the conversation going. Kunst invites the reader to explore Midrash for the first time through a conversation, at times humorous, reflective and poetic, offering practical suggestions for personal Midrash-making along the way. To listen to an excerpt from The Burning Word, click here. Click Here to listen to an interview with Judith Kunst
Citations And Professional Reviews The Burning Word: A Christian Encounter with Jewish Midrash (Many Mansions Book) by Judith M. Kunst has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 01/16/2006 page 58
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As a Christian writer with an ongoing interest in how language can shape one's faith, Judith M. Kunst has spent her life wrestling with words, and with the absence of words. Judith received her B.A. from Tufts University and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. An award-winning poet, her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Mars Hill Review, and many other publications, and she has been an editor, teacher, and adjunct professor. She lives in Stony Brook, New York with her husband and two children.
Judith M. Kunst currently resides in Stony Brook, in the state of New York.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Burning Word: A Christian Encounter with Jewish Midrash (Many Mansions Book)?
Group enjoys The Burning Word Oct 30, 2006
My Bible Study Group picked this book to learn a bit about Midrash. We are finding that it is enabling us to open our hearts and minds to God's Word in ways that never occurred to us. At this time we are about half way through the book and still excited about what we are learning.
Midrash magic May 23, 2006
This book is a little miracle. Like the King James Bible, it is lyrical. Like Torah, it goes to the essence of faith. Moving easily between Judaism and Christianity, it reveals similarities and differences, enriching our knowledge of both traditions as it introduces us to the Hebrew way of probing the language of the Bible, midrash.
Great intentions, disappointing results May 17, 2006
Kunst's intent in this book is admirable - to show to Christians the value of imaginative interpretation of Scripture and to provide concrete exercises for applying it in your life. Unfortunately, many of the exercises seem drawn from writers' creative stimulus books - remember a time when nature .... etc. Although it deals with visual rather than verbal midrash, I find Jo Milgrom's book (Handmade Midrash) to be more effective in walking Christians through imaginative interpretation of Scripture. Kunst does, however, provide insight into the depth of change required of her to move from her evangelical-based study of Scripture to the more imaginative approach. This is the strength of the book, to the extent that it almost overshadows the midrash itself. In this approach, Kunst skillfully avoids theory and concentrates on the practical. She encourages the reader to follow her on her path by emphasizing what she has learned. Some readers will appreciate this low key approach. Myself, I prefer a bit more "meat" on my midrash and would recommend a handful of Jewish texts as introductions over this book. But I suspect there is a group of readers who need a non-threatening, explicitly Christian introduction that makes few intellectual demands. This might be the book for them.
Reading Scripture with Reverence and Imagination Apr 15, 2006
To take seriously the Hebrew and Christian scriptures as paradoxically God-breathed and humanly composed requires a comparable paradox in our reading of them, that is, both reverent attention and daring imagination. Also required is a kind of wonder and love for language itself and its mysterious power as a medium for revelation and creativity. Judith Kunst presses us into these paradoxes in her own engaging story of learning, as a Christian, to read the Bible through the ancient Jewish practice of midrash. Kunst admits us into her life and her love for words--and the Word--with refreshing honesty and bracing creativity. She parses text as both pilgrim and poet. For those who adhere to a rigorous analytical approach to scripture, Kunst will extend your hermeneutical eyesight so that you might see far more. For those who largely ignore the scriptures as a means of spirituality, Kunst will show you the lively and lovely wisdom to be gained by looking with renewed curiosity. The soil of scripture is fertile and full of seed. Happily Kunst blends two traditions of harvest so that we may reap an increased yield of truth and grace.