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As a Driven Leaf [Anglais] [Cassette]

Milton Steinberg , George Guidall

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.7 étoiles sur 5  61 commentaires
85 internautes sur 87 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A bracing, if poignant, tale of estrangement and Truth 28 novembre 1999
Par Stuart W. Mirsky - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Although this tale is somewhat wooden in execution and its characters never come fully to life, and while the thrust of the tale, itself, is an intellectual rather than a visceral one, I was greatly moved by it. There is a tradition in the Talmud that four great sages sought to go beyond the realm of man's knowledge. One died. One went insane. One became a heretic. And only the great Akiba came out of it whole, only to be tortured to death by the Romans in the aftermath of the third abortive rebellion against the Empire. Well, Elisha ben Abuyah, the central character of this tale, is the one who became a heretic. He is recalled in the Talmud as a member of the Rabbinate who forsook his faith and people for the Greek way, thereby condemning himself, in life and memory, to excommunication and the label of heretic. This tale attempts to visualize what might have driven such a man and where it would have taken him in the end. The actions of the story are really quite commonplace until one gets to the final Roman war against the Jews in Palestine. But even these events are seen only from a distance. The real crux of this tale is the seeking and the life-events which might have underlay the tale of Elisha and help explain why he did what he did. His is the tale of the child of a Hellenized father, wrested at his father's death from the larger, intellectual Greek world and shoe-horned into a realm of orthodoxy in keeping with the narrow prejudices of his deceased mother's brother. His Greek learning aborted, Elisha becomes an enthusiastic student of his people's traditions rising, in time, to membership in the revered Sanhedrin. But the Greek seeds (or something else) have been planted and in time take root, pushing out the superimposed shrubbery of orthodxy. And Elisha begins to doubt and question. Unable to reconcile his restless questioning to the blind teachings of orthodxy, he seeks wider knowledge, causing a rift with the community of the orthodox. Driven into exile in Antioch he begins a life of study and inquiry, trying always to use his reason to erect an edifice in which he can wholeheartedly believe. But events catch up with him even as his understanding increases. There is a very fine rendering here of that process by which we try to understand the underpinnings of the world in which we exist and one sees clearly the metaphysical problems and Elisha's burden in grappling with them. He does seem a bit simple at times and one can't help thinking that this, in some sense, is the author's own tale, writ into a fable about a first century Jew in the Roman world. But it's all very compelling and, at times, riveting, especially as it captures the hellenistic world and its thought. But it's a book of ideas, in the end, rather than people. Ideas which tear at all of us in the end.

Stuart W. Mirsky
author of The King of Vinland's Saga
67 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Ancient Look Back at a Current Problem Facing Modern Jews 10 décembre 1999
Par Mark Schreiber - Publié sur
"As a Driven Leaf" is a magnificent work of historical fiction. Brings to life a little know time of ancient Israel. Steinberg paints a picture of life in ancient Israel during the time of the Roman occupation just prior to the final days of the Judean War that answers so many questions of those of us who only knew the period through religious readings. The dilemma that faces the novel's protagonist is a problem that is as current in today's assimilated society as it was in the days when Jews were facing the pull toward Hellenism. Unwilling to accept Judaism's blind faith in God, the protagonist returns to the Hellenistic roots of his childhood, only to find that he loses his place in either world. Great book that should be the subject of discussion groups in synagogues across the country. Highly recommended.
40 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A wonderful allegory about the trials of modern Jews 22 août 2001
Par J. A Magill - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The recent vogue among Jews to read this book is not surprising. Indeed, it is a wonderful tribute to an author and theologian of great potential who was taken from us far too young.
The book tells the story of Elisha ben Abuya, one of the contributors to the Talmud who we are told lost his faith. The Talmud tells us little about him, but Steinberg does a marvelous job weaving the character into a historical tapestry that drapes over one of the great crisis of the Jewish nation, the destruction of the second temple and eventual exile. Through the book, we meet the various personalities that participated in the writing of the Talmud. To Steinberg's, each is interesting, unique, and richly brought to life.
That said, many people have made the same mistake with this book that they do with other historical fiction; assuming that they can assume Steinberg accurately describes this milieu. I am fairly certain that were the author alive, he would laugh at such an absurd presumption. Rather, the genius of this work is that Steinberg projects some of the major problems facing modern Jewry on to an ancient context. While several of the arguments that appear in the text are historic, the central conflict between Hellenist (secular humanist) philosophy and Jewish ethics is a modern conflict we continue to fight to this day. Any reader of Rabbi Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, will recognize many of the arguments that Steinberg puts in his character's mouth as coming from the writings of that modern sage.
This book touches modern Jews exactly because it speaks to the trials they face as we weave together and try to make compatible a life of torah and our place in the modern world. Steinberg speaks powerfully and emotionally to that conflict, recognizing that it is more than simply intellectual, but is also visceral.
If you have struggled with such issues, I hearty recommend this work.
20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliant historical novel of the intertestimental period 25 octobre 1997
Par smarmer - Publié sur
This book should be of interest to both Jews and Christians. It follows the life of Elishia Ben Abouya, a brilliant young rabbi who lived in the first century of the common era. Based on accounts reported in the Talmud, this book contains Steinberg's imaginative and sensitive depiction of a time strangely like our own, in which the stresses and strains between the secular world and old and new religion play themselves out. Jews will find many of their rabbinic heroes portrayed -- such as Rabbi Akiba and Rabbi Meir. Christians will be fascinated by the tensions between the Hebrew Christians and the Gentile Christians of the first century. Particularly moving is Steinberg's elaboration of Ben Abouya's reaction to the deaths of Meir's children, a story also based on talmudic writings. This is historical fiction at its best. A classic. Very highly recommended.
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 "Wilt Thou harass a driven leaf?" -- Job 13:25 27 juin 2001
Par Esther Nebenzahl - Publié sur
Set at the time shortly after the destruction of the second temple, this novel is based on a traditional tale from the Talmud. The tale describes how four sages journeyed into the realm of metaphysics and as a result one died, one became insane, one became an heretic, and only one (Akiba) was able to come through the experience. The main character, Elisha ben Abuyah, is in fact a historical figure, and has come down through history as an heretic rabbi, an apostate, a dualist who betrayed the Jews to the Romans after the rebellion in 132-135 C.E. (the "Aher" -- the one who took another point of view).
Elisha's faith, already shaken by the influence of Greek and Roman culture, looses his faith in God after witnessing the accidental death of a child. Like Job, Elisha challenges God -- "Wilt Thou harass a driven leaf?" The dictum of the sages "it is not in our power to explain either the happiness of the wicked nor the sufferings of the righteous," was not an adequate answer to calm his distress. In his attempt to find axioms and a succession of propositions on which the doctrines of the Tradition might rest, Elisha opens a Pandora box in his mind.
Although Elisha's despair is honest, his persistent reverence and reliance on intellect turns his life into tragedy. He becomes aware that neither reality outside man, or feeling within him, is altogether logical, there is always a residue of the irrational never to be resolved into lucidity. Man's mind is an inadequate isntrument to achieve certainty. For all truths rests ultimately on some act of faith, geometry on axioms, and sciences on the assumptions of the objective existence and ordeliness of the world nature.
Published for the first time in 1939, this novel remains forever important in its dealing of a fundamental philosophical issue: the limitations of reason and the power of faith in the search of Truth.
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