Critical praise for Journey to Heaven
Is it bodily resurrection or immortality of the soul, reincarnation or transmigration? Leila Bronner has written a fascinating analysis of the afterlife in Judaism, tracing its mysteries from earliest biblical texts...to post-Holocaust views.... Adding her own creative insights and sociological analyses to the mix, she presents a highly readable, erudite exposition that brings clarity, knowledge--and life--to an elusive, oft-neglected concept in Judaism.
-- Blu Greenberg,
author of On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition
Conversant with Jewish writings throughout the ages, Dr. Bronner is a gifted writer with an uncanny ability to trace the major Jewish beliefs in an afterlife through the ages, recognize nuances and tensions, and present the reader with lucid formulations. The ideas of bodily resurrection, immortality of the soul, reincarnation, the World to Come, and the Messiah have continuously suffused Judaism and are still with us. A fascinating book.
-- Professor Bezalel Porten,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
In her compelling and widely encompassing Journey to Heaven, Bronner succeeds in elucidating an area in which many angels feared to tread. With scholarship and commitment, she has provided an historical textual study of the ideas concerning the afterlifeâ€¦. Since death touches each of us throughout our lives and eventually brings every one of us into its domain, there can be no topic of greater interest and significance. Bronner is to be congratulated for giving us the challenge and the comfort of the fruits of her scholarship.
-- Rabbi Shlomo Riskin,
Chief Rabbi of Efrat
Academic and critical praise for From Eve to Esther
Bronner points out the complexity of rabbinic, midrashic texts about women and female sexuality and provides their accessibility to modern readers without censure. She makes us realize that rabbinic culture ... affords more than one model of femininity. This kind of analysis ... unlocks options very relevant for us today.
-- Athalya Brenner,
Catholic University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands,
and the Technion, Haifa, Israel
Bronner's excellent study of the ambivalent rabbinic views of biblical women in Talmud and midrash … is full of fascinating details, insights, and not a few surprises.
-- Jane Schaberg,
professor of religious studies,
University of Detroit
A timely and illuminating book that richly rewards scholars and general readers alike.
-- Tamara Cohn Eskenazi,
professor of Bible,
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles
Leila Bronner's analysis of Rabbinic views on biblical women is a fascinating addition to existing studies of women in Scripture. From Eve to Esther sets out to show the power both Bible and Midrash have had on women's roles and status for generations... She intends to present a balanced picture, recognizing the multivalence of biblical texts and the social preoccupations of the sages interpreting them.... In the end Bronner calls for "further studies in the emerging tradition of depatriarchalizing interpretation," that we might "reclaim biblical women with our own midrash and reinstate them as paradigms for our modern lives."
-- Word and World
Particularly provocative ... Bronner focuses specifically on Eve, Serah bat Asher, Ruth, Hannah, Deborah, and others. Separate chapters examine daughters and prostitutes. Bronner points up the complexity and contradiction in the rabbinic construction of a woman. The author succeeds in presenting what the aggadic traditions of Talmud and Midrash say about women. A bibliography and index of rabbinic references provide added value to this book.
-- Menorah Review
Though Bronner does far more than a surface reading of both the biblical and the rabbinic texts, the work is understandably written, suitable for both the general reader and the scholar alike.
A positive feature of Bronner's work is her willingness to reveal the rabbis' views in all their variations and ambivalence. She shows us clearly how there is no one monolithic understanding of any of these figures, helping us to be less surprised that we have seen wide disagreements about these biblical women in interpretations since the rabbis spoke. ... This work represents a worthy undertaking and one which fills a void in biblical and rabbinic study. While scholarship has begun to pay attention to the portrayal both of women in the Bible and of women in the rabbinical literature, the topic of rabbinical reinterpretation of biblical women has been left relatively untouched. Hence, just in terms of its pioneer status this work would be welcomed, and it is sure to be the beginning of further conversation about rabbinical views of these figures. Yet its value is greater than that, as Bronner has given us a perceptive look at this topic.
-- Horizons in Biblical Theology
Academic and critical praise for Stories of Biblical Mothers
As [Bronner] rightly says, whereas mothers and motherhood are the most dominant social function attributed to women in the Hebrew Bible, this subject has rarely been treated in a consistent fashion beyond generalities. Here the whole spectrum of narratives relating to mothers -- universal, national, royal, wise, mothers to daughters, metaphorical, unconventional, even the maternal roles of the Hebrew God -- are systematically described and analyzed.
-- Athalya Brenner,
University of Amsterdam
Exploring images of motherhood in the Bible and beyond, Leila Bronner offers an array of intriguing insights and connections to all who are interested in feminist readings.
-- Angela Bauer,
Episcopal Divinity School,
This is a careful and insightful study of biblical mothers. Bronner shows that, while the biblical context was certainly patriarchal, these women are not portrayed as helpless pawns of the system. They may not have enjoyed positions of authority, but they did wield significant power. Both named and unnamed mothers are treated in the first six chapters: "The First Mothers"; "Mothers of a Budding Nation"; "Wise Women and Queen Mothers"; "Mothers and Daughters"; "The Metaphorical Mother"; and "The Unconventional Mother." The seventh chapter discusses the motherly role of God. The detailed footnotes and the extensive bibliography are evidence of the noteworthy research that undergirds this study. This very readable book will be of interest to a wide readership.
-- The Bible Today