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Solomon: The Lure of Wisdom (Jewish Lives) Hardcover – March 29, 2011

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Product Details

  • Series: Jewish Lives
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300137184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300137187
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Steve Weitzman turns the challenge of writing a biography of King Solomon into a meditation on the quest for unattainable knowledge, an enterprise equally embodied in the figure of Solomon in Scripture and in legend. There is something deeply human about this appealing book of intellectual distinction."--Robert Alter

(Robert Alter)

"In looking anew at Solomon’s life, [Weitzman] offers answers to many questions about the accomplished and wise king, and writes of Solomon’s significance to Jews, Christians and Muslims."—Sandee Brawarsky, Jewish Week
(Sandee Brawarsky Jewish Week)

"A thoroughly entertaining treatment of a controversial topic."—Publishers Weekly
(Publisher's Weekly)

"Weitzman captures the longstanding ambivalence regarding the pursuit of knowledge that has troubled many a Western imagination and that continues to the present day."—Eve Levavi Feinstein, Jewish Ideas Daily
(Eve Levavi Feinstein Jewish Ideas Daily)

Solomon is an engrossing, elegant and erudite exegesis of the quest for knowledge—and an examination of where wisdom originates, the shapes it takes, the Faustian bargains it often makes and the tragic end to which it often comes."—Glenn Altschuler, Forward

"Fascinating. . . . Provocative."—Aaron Leibel, Washington Jewish Week
(Aaron Leibel Washington Jewish Week)

"Compelling . . . .Weitzman’s subject matter is ostensibly Solomon, but what he gleans for modern readers are bigger lessons."—Priya Ramachandran, Baltimore Jewish Times
(Priya Ramachandran Baltimore Jewish Times)

"[Weitzman's] discussions of the way Solomon's story and its meaning have changed over time do an excellent job highlighting how an interpretation can tell one more about the storyteller than the original tale. . . . By not trying to be a traditional biography, Solomon: The Lure of Wisdom successfully shows how one can use the biblical text to gain a better understanding of the human condition."—Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter
(Rabbi Rachel Esserman The Reporter)

"Weitzman approaches his subject with levity and erudition, balancing his interpretive views between religious lore and secular scholarship in a voice that laypeople and scholars alike can appreciate. . . . Highly recommended."—S.H. Werlin, Choice
(S.H. Werlin Choice)

"This fascinating and informative book will be of interest to both Jewish and Christian readers."—Ellen Share, Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews
(Ellen Share Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews)

About the Author

Steven Weitzman is the Daniel E. Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and Religion at Stanford University. He was awarded the Gustave O. Arlt Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in the Humanities for his first book, Song and Story in Biblical Narrative, and has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Yad-Hadiv Foundation. His other books include Surviving Sacrilege and The Jews: A History.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bob Waxman, Ph.D. on July 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Weitzman takes a gamble by admitting that there's absolutely no scholarly or archaeological evidence to support the existence of King Solomon. Instead, he weaves together the most significant narratives within the relevant biblical books to present his interpretation of a "Solomon-that-might-have-been." Additionally, the author shares his own feelings and life experiences with the reader, which makes the book unique, insightful, and pragmatic.

Particularly interesting are Weitzman's assertions that certain Hebrew names are utilized as a literary device in the Solomon stories to define the life-purpose of various biblical characters. This claim opens the door for questioning the existence of many other biblical characters throughout the entire Hebrew Bible as well as the main characters in The New Testament (hopefully, a topic for Weitzman's next book).

Personally, I enjoyed Weitzman's style of writing, which is honest, refreshing, and down-to-earth. No pretense here nor any high-brow attitude that some academics like to use to impress us. To his credit, Weitzman has no religious agenda or theological bias. Instead, he presents a fascinating portrayal of a King Solomon, which is based on golden nuggets of inferences from biblical writers, redactors, and his vast knowledge of the subject.
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