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In the Whirlwind: God and Humanity in Conflict Hardcover – April 25, 2012

3 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


The plot of the Hebrew Bible is a grail in the vault of a mountain fastness, and it may be that no assault will ever quite take it, if it is even there to be taken, but what a siege Robert Burt has mounted! The closest of readings, the subtlest and most seductive of midrashic inferences, the severest of ethical verdicts, all with the precision of a first-rate legal mind and the wrestling effrontery of Job. (Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography)

In this intriguing and moving book, Robert Burt reads the Bible as a tragic vision of the gap between perfect justice and what humans actually can achieve. Burt movingly unpacks the Biblical stories to argue that they show God and human beings constantly attempting to find their way to love and trust, through constant disappointments. (Suzanne Last Stone, Cardozo School of Law)

A work highly recommended not only for Bible students and political scientists but also for general readers who welcome new approaches to both sacred texts and contemporary political concerns and discourse. (Carolyn M. Craft Library Journal 2012-05-01)

Many of Burt's arguments are enlightening and theologically sophisticated...Burt uses the Bible as a prism through which to reassess the modern obsession with analyzing and defining legitimate political power...Burt's book is full of thought-provoking ideas and it goes to show that law professors can sometimes turn out to be accomplished and challenging biblical interpreters. (Jonathan Wright Catholic Herald 2012-08-10)

Burt's discussions provide many useful and challenging insights. He demonstrates the difficulty inherent in the relationship of authority between rulers and ruled, whether human or divine. (A. J. Waskey Choice 2012-11-01)

Burt's study of the interaction of divinity and humanity in establishing authority, divine and human alike, in the Bible is a closer literary reading of the entire Bible than most on offer from either divinity schools or literature departments. Yet his interest as a professor of law in contrasting the reciprocal establishment of mutually heteronomous authority in the Bible with the unilateral establishment of autonomous authority in modern political theory gives his work the forward thrust of a courtroom argument. The book of Job, in which the protagonist calls God's authority into explicit question, and then God, from the whirlwind, calls the protagonist's standing into question, becomes here the fulcrum of a study that brilliantly establishes this problematic as common to the Old and the New Testaments alike.
(Jack Miles Common Knowledge 2013-09-01)

About the Author

Robert A. Burt is Alexander M. Bickel Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Apparent First Edition edition (April 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674065662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674065666
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,689,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I will be frank I have yet to finish In the Whirlwind, but I feel I must give this book five stars because of the horrible 1 star review it got from a reader who disagreed with the content. The only reason to give a one or two star review is if the writing and or research was atrocious...Or if you got a device in the mail and doesn't even work. In the Whirlwind is anything but, in fact it is exacting and wonderfully critical and pushes and challenges your own beliefs in exciting new ways. If you object to a viewpoint that is your opinion...and you are welcome to it, but to give a one star reviee solely because you believe your opinion trumps the authors or anyone elses is intellectually offensive and malignantly ignorant. Author's dedicate years of their lives to writing a book of this calibre and to condemn it with 1 star because you do not agree with it is... Agh...shallow. It is obvious that the reviewer picked out the wrong book...which is why you read the back cover/ published reviews beforehand.

In the Whirlwind is heavy on Judeo-Christian theology but nonetheless easily readable which belies a certain supreme skill that the first reviewer seems to simply overlook. The book is cogent, intriguing, and while the author may not be 100% correct the book is definitely a fun, easy and interesting read. When I finish the book I will update the review, but to anyone thinking of buying or getting it at the library this book deserves nothing lower then four stars, a three if you don't like it. Superb book from a first time theological author.

To enjoy this book you must have a flexible view and ability to critize God otherwise you will find it offensive. Not for the religiously conservative. If you enjoy In the Whirlwind it is very akin to Jung's Answer to Job.
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I understand the mindset of those involved with law. Some strike out for absolutes, 'lie' or 'truth' and others look for the middle a coming together with mutual agreement (a win-win scenario) some even still closer to the thought of 'come let us reason together' ending with amiacable understanding for one's way (or the others, if it won). A reading of The Constitution in Conflict I suspect that this man would love for equality across the board for everything and everyone rather than seeing that a Creator would never look for such an equality that demeans the one who did the creating. I found it sad that Dr Burt brought argument of doubt about the character of a God he really doesn't know. The book was a disappointment, I was naively hoping. I had thought this book would be more in line with Midrash commentary, but no this PhD has no clue. To think that maybe such an educated and excellent mind in law (think Judeo-Christian law) would have a stability in justice that yes, does look for people to come together and reason things out for each as God also said come and reason with him. However, this Almighty God expects one to realize, recognize that in coming to reason with him you would be acknowledging a wisdom and an understanding of who and what God is. God has no trouble with our asking questions, even debating his word with him (the Jewish sages have done such for a very long time and do yet still live), but this God brooks no one taking his glory nor anyone standing before him in pride or arrogance of thought thinking we mere created ones are smarter than God. This Creator made the heavens and the earths, created the angelic hosts and therein the Devil as well as mankind, for his almighty purpose (whether one likes that or not is not up for debate, theocracy has no such divide).Read more ›
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