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The Joseph Paradox: A Radical Reading of Genesis 37-50 Paperback – May 22, 2012
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"Millgram focuses on the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors as a self-contained literary unit within the larger narrative of Genesis"--Reference & Research Book News.
About the Author
Hillel I. Millgram was born in the United States, was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and served in pulpits in the United States and Canada. Now living in Israel, he combines research and writing with teaching graduate courses on the Bible.
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I was troubled by the author's sliding from presenting conjectures of court life or of characters' thoughts and motivations into viewing these conjectures as facts to be used as building blocks in an argument. This meant that a lot of the pleasure in reading the book came from mental arguments with the author.
Millgram's presentation of the Joseph story in the book of Genesis will, in this reviewer's estimation, fascinate all readers. Both in content and style, it is not only an extraordinary achievement, but also a profoundly moving book that surely ranks among the best work in modern times written about the Biblical story of Joseph.
Millgram observes that the Joseph story concentrates on issues of human motivation and character, on the larger theological implications of free will, and on God's governance of human affairs. For modern readers not necessarily steeped in Biblical scholarship who are also not acquainted with the rabbinic literature, this book will be a source of enormous intellectual and emotional satisfaction and enlightenment. For those who do have a background in these disciplines, Millgram's book will provide great insight accompanied by the thought: "How come I didn't think of that!"
Many specific areas are explored in this book. For example: Joseph's life is closely tied to dreams, both his and other's. Were his dreams of grandeur prophetic? Western society has been fascinated by dreams. The Biblical story shows clearly that Joseph stage-managed his confrontation with his brothers. By stationing himself at the grain distribution center, it was inevitable that Joseph would encounter his brothers. Moreover, all applicants for food were expected to "prostrate themselves before the senior Egyptian official." The cat-and-mouse game that Joseph played with his brothers proves to be an "elaborate forcing to fulfillment" of his dreams. What does that say about prediction?
In order to come to a deeper understanding of the Joseph story and its place in the Bible I strongly recommend this volume.
Prof. S. Sharan, University of Tel Aviv
Rabbi Moshe Meirovich
Rabbi Dr. Avraham Feder, Jerusalem