Yitzhak Berger advances a distinctive and markedly original interpretation of the biblical book of Jonah that resolves many of the ambiguities in the text. Berger contends that the Jonah text pulls from many inner-biblical connections, especially ones relating to the Garden of Eden. These connections provide a foundation for Berger’s reading of the story, which attributes multiple layers of meaning to this carefully crafted biblical book. Focusing on Jonah's futile quest and his profoundly troubled response to God's view of the sins of humanity, Berger shows how the book paints Jonah as a pacifist no less than as a moralist.
List of Abbreviations
A Note to the Reader
1. Escape to Eden
2. Wrathful Moralist
3. Peaceful Dove
4. A Song of Thanks in Waters of Eden
5. Nautical and Hermeneutical Dilemmas
Yitzhak Berger displays extraordinary textual learning as he picks up multiple verbal resonances connecting Jonah to the Tanakh. He is methodologically disciplined in defending these parallels as genuinely allusive rather than coincidental and as exegetically significant. His use of secondary literature in several languages is exemplary.
Benjamin D. Sommer
Jewish Theological Seminary
Berger displays a virtuoso mastery and exemplary control of a spectrum of literary devices, including inner-biblical allusion, multiple resonances, and various types of wordplay . . . to propose a new interpretation of the Book of Jonah.
The Heythrop Journal