Sunday, August 09, 2020

In this fluent and penetrating study of the Book of Ruth, Yael Ziegler provides a masterful primer on how to read biblical narratives with sensitivity and depth, using recent methodological breakthroughs in the study of Tanach. Beyond providing an eye-opening reading of a familiar biblical book, the author creatively demonstrates that Midrashic readings can reveal deep strata of textual meaning, and combines these insights with classical and contemporary scholarship to uncover the religious messages of this beautifully crafted story. In Ruth: From Alienation to Monarchy, modern techniques of literary analysis and rabbinic homilies merge to yield common insights into themes such as leadership, redemption, identity, and social morality.


The Book of Ruth, with its focus on the exemplary behavior of Ruth and Boaz, stands at the crossroads between society’s downward trajectory during the era of the Judges and its ascent during the era of the monarchy. It teaches the timeless lesson of how two individuals can act in accordance with their own conscience and, through small acts of kindness and humanity, change the course of history and restore hope and unity to a nation.

Ruth: From Alienation to Monarchy is the fourth volume of the Maggid Studies in Tanach. This series explores the texts, themes, and personalities of the Bible using an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates traditional rabbinic interpretations with scholarly literary techniques. Maggid Books is an imprint of Koren Publishers Jerusalem.

Dr. Yael Ziegler is a lecturer in Bible at Herzog Academic College and at Matan Jerusalem, and author of Promises to Keep: The Oath in Biblical Narrative. A graduate of Stern College and Bar-Ilan University, she lectures widely in Israel, the United States, Europe, and South Africa. Dr. Ziegler resides in Alon Shevut, Israel, with her husband and their five children.

By Yehudit Jessica Singer

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