Between the Lines of the Bible — Genesis: Recapturing the Full Meaning of the Biblical Text
by: Rabbi Yitzchak Etshalom; OU Press, Urim Publications
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Rabbi Yitzchak Etshalom’s Between the Lines of the Bible: Genesis is a revised and expanded edition of a book which has been unavailable for a number of years. Rabbi Etshalom argues for a return to peshat, the “plain sense” of the text, and in so doing, he uncovers a new world hidden beneath the familiar narratives. Rabbi Etshalom’s contribution is not merely a fresh look at an ancient text, but a methodology which makes use of such diverse academic disciplines as literary analysis and archeology to discover the meaning of the divine word. This methodology, which has emerged over the last generation primarily in religious Zionist circles in Israel, offers an approach which is both traditional—many of its apparently new ideas are rooted in the approaches of the Midrash and of medieval commentators—and also highly innovative, in encountering the text on its own without preconceived notions. Throughout the book, Rabbi Etshalom explains his methodological tools for examining the literary structure of a passage. What seem to be repetitions, for example, can be explained as multiple perspectives of the same event. Between the Lines of the Bible is an excellent introduction to a new world of Torah commentary which is both highly original and deeply committed.