Limmud eFestival 2022 Limmud eFestival 2022
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Sweet Subversion: Politics and Theology of the Book of Ruth

- EST
Zoom 4

Elsie Stern, PhD. Is Associate Professor of Bible at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Her teaching and research focus on the role of Tanakh in Jewish communities and the ways in which historically grounded study of Torah can help us navigate the most pressing issues of our time. Stern (or Elsie--- depending on the style you are using) is the author of From Rebuke to Consolation: Exegesis and Theology in the Liturgical Anthology of the Ninth of Av Season and has contributed articles and essays to numerous publications including the Jewish Study Bible (Oxford University Press, 2014) and the Women’s Torah Commentary (URJ Press, 2007). Her most recent publications are The Dictionary of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media (co-editor) and “Israel’s History of Enslavement as a Prerequisite for Revelation” in INSCRIBED: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (CCAR Press, 2020).


The Book of Ruth may be the closest thing to a “beach read” in Tanakh. Its language is accessible; its characters are vivid and it has a satisfyingly happy ending. At the same time, Ruth articulates theological and political ideas that challenge perspectives that become dominant in the Tanakh canon and in early (and later) Judaism. In this session we will explore Ruth’s subversive ideas and reflect on its powerful strategies of persuasion.