Rutgers University Press, 1994
Transgressive, devout, poetic, bawdy, Ostriker's book executes a Jewish feminist's contradance with tradition and makes of it an ecstatic celebration."

--Marilyn Hacker, poet and former editor of Kenyon Review

"I find The Nakedness of the Fathers exciting and moving. I feel certain that many readers will share in the excitement--seeing how these ancient texts weave into the imagination and experience of a contemporary poet and a woman."

--Elaine Pagels, author of The Gnostic Gospels

The Nakedness of the Fathers belongs on the bookshelf of Jewish feminists beside Plaskow's Standing Again at Sinai. The challenges Plaskow presents to theology, Ostriker presents to the Hebrew Bible. To Gentiles, the Jew is marginal. But in Judaism, the Jewish woman, as a woman, is marginal....Ostriker cannot stop being Jewish and cares enough to engage the tradition in argument. She is encouraged to re-examine the Bible because the rabbis tell us, "turn it and turn it, for everything is in it." Ostriker reminds us that argung with God is as old as Abraham, Moses and Job. The book pleads for a transformation within Judaism and closes with a prayer to the Shekhinah to make it happen.

Toby Brooks, Outlook

[This is] Ostriker's most sustained effort to interrogate the Hebrew Bible from a feminist perspective.... Ostriker takes on a variety of personae, male as well as female, from Isaac to the Queen of Sheba...To those feminist readers who would question the attention paid to the patriarchs, Ostriker replies, "I am my fathers as much as I am my mothers."

--Maeera Shreiber, Tikkun

Alicia Ostriker combines her talents as poet, essayist, and literary critic in this witty and profound meditation on key narratives of the Hebrew Bible....[She] highlights two characteristics of the text that provide both the thematic continuity and interpretive rubrics: the roles of family and of language. ....The meaning of the akedah is examined from several perspectives--Abraham's, Sarah's, Isaac's, and even the ram's, who turns out the be a very pragmatic philosopher.... [This book] is vital reading for anyone concerned with contemporary women's reimagining of the sacred.

--Amy Benson Brown, Cross Currents

Pre-empting the collective cultural indictment of "blasphemer," "witch," "crazy" and "ignorant woman," Ostriker taps into the feminine root of chokmah, remembering "When my name was woman of valor/ When my name was wisdom," claiming the Torah as hers and encouraging the "traces, leakages, lacunae, curious figures of speech" of the Bible to reveal the kinds of fathers whose patrimony must be made to include the twentieth century daughter.

--Sydney Stoyan, Religion and Literature

This book is a fascinating, provocative journey.

--Sue Fishkof, Jerusalem Post


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