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Thus Saith the Lord: The Revolutionary Moral Vision of Isaiah and Jeremiah [Hardcover]

By Richard E. Rubenstein (Author)
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Item Number 160662  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.3" Height: 1.09"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2006
Publisher   Harcourt
ISBN  0151012199  
EAN  9780151012190  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
According to Richard Rubenstein, the beautiful words of Isaiah and the frightening pronouncements of Jeremiah have shaped our contemporary views of justice, ethics, and faith.

In referring to Isaiah's foreknowledge regarding the outcome of the situation with Hezekiah and Sennacherib, Rubenstein says, " The light that dawned as my research continuted was that Isaiah and Jeremiah were not fundamentalists trying to protect their nation and its traditional culture against foreign enemies. On the contrary, they were sophisticated, innovative thinkers who seized on ideas emanating from the imperial centers, fused them with their own traditions, and used the product-a new ethics and theology of history-to criticize both sides and chart a new course for their people."

Rubenstein traces the influence of these revolutionary prophets on our own moral codes and argues how they transformed the God of the Israelites into Adonai, the universal sovereign who demands ethical behavior from his people.

Richard Rubenstein is a professor of conflict resolution and public affairs at George Mason University. A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, he was a Rhodes Scholar and studied at Oxford University.

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Publishers Description

In ancient Judea, Jeremiah and Isaiah advised kings and priests and watched the great armies of the ancient Near East sweep across the desert, threatening and overtaking their tiny country with its burgeoning faith. Across centuries a new view emerged based on their words: Might does not make right; we are all the children of one God.

Both the beautiful words of Isaiah and the frightening words of Jeremiah helped form our contemporary ideas of justice, ethics, and faith. Richard Rubenstein shows us the evolution of our own moral codes and how they transformed the god of the Israelites from a local deity into Adonai, the universal sovereign who requires ethical behavior and demands the pursuit of justice for all people.

 A work of historical and religious insight, Thus Saith the Lord will inspire readers to reexamine their beliefs and hear anew the words of these religious revolutionaries.

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More About Richard E. Rubenstein

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! RICHARD E. RUBENSTEIN is professor of conflict resolution and public affairs at George Mason University and an expert on religious conflict. A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, he was a Rhodes Scholar and studied at Oxford University. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.

Richard E. Rubenstein currently resides in Fairfax, in the state of Virginia.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Old Testament   [2074  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Old Testa   [1604  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General   [10297  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > History of Religion   [1161  similar products]
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics   [884  similar products]
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History   [4688  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Fascinating Work- Puts the Prophets in Perspective  Oct 2, 2007
Richard Rubenstein is perhaps most famous for being a proponent of the "God is Dead" theology of the 1960s. "Thus Saith the Lord" is a far cry from that, however (though the before-mentioned theology probably lurks beneath the surface). Rubenstein has a gift for making an issue which most people find boring interesting, and this he does with the old testament prophets.

The author begins his book with a reflection on September 11, when he expressed wonderment that believers in one God could be capable of such crimes. So he decided to being an in-depth study the prophets (the nevi'im in the Hebrew bible) to see if they might have anything relevant to say to our post-9/11 world. From there, Rubenstein gives a narrative of 3 prophets- Elijah, Jeremiah, and Isaiah- and of their relationship to Israel. Rubenstein is an excellent storyteller, and his narrative makes history come alive. His basic thesis is that, when Jeremiah and Isaiah upbraid Israel not for failing to observe proper ritual, but for failing to show justice to the marginal of society, they extended the biblical ethic from a tribal to a universal scope. In addition, in portraying the Babylonians and Persians as agents of God's justice, Jeremiah and Isaiah extended the blessing of God from Israel to all humanity. Rubenstein claims that Jeremiah and Isaiah taught the uselessness of imperial power, and the link between local injustice and global catastrophe. The last paragraph in his book sums up how the author applies the prophets to today: "Baal or YHVH. Coercion or Justice. Domination from above or globalization from below. Now, as ever, the choice is ours."

Anyone who wants to understand the prophets from a Jewish perspective would do well to read this book. There are few who can make the readers understand the world the prophets lived in as Rubenstein does, and his discourse will help readers to read Isaiah and Jeremiah with renewed understanding and insight. Furthermore, his descriptions of the ancient empires that Israel had to contend against is fascinating. Finally, his application of the message of the prophets to the current American political situation is interesting, if not entirely convincing. His conclusion is that yes, the prophets do have something to teach the post-9/11 world- that we are all bound by the same obligations to justice, and that we must work together to achieve it.
Entrancing read  Feb 6, 2007
Author Richard Rubenstein has compiled a compelling text that reads like a tale of high adventure worthy of any of today's movie-going audiences. I was riveted to it from page one.

Rubenstein has intensely studied the historical texts that cover the time periods related by the Old Testament, and then added the scriptures themselves to produce an eye-popping treatise. In reading Thus Saith the Lord, I came to know Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, and Jeremiah in a new and awesome light. They were all serious prophets to be reckoned with, and they were not to be denied. They spoke the truth. Reading about them may enable us to recognize the prophets speaking the truth today. Not all will accept the truth, but the truth will not be denied.

In Israel and Judah, Jeremiah and Isaiah advised different kings and priests with the words of God delivered through them as messenger-prophets. Such men warned a people to return to their moral roots and to right the wrongs of current society, because it was their calling to do so. Their words were not always heeded, and catastrophes of war came to pass for those who turned away, but the prophecies came to pass in full.

Isaiah spoke in poetic stanzas and Jeremiah used terrifying words. Elijah and Elisha had been their forerunners, using messages from God and outlandish deeds to warn the leadership of the Middle East to seek right conduct. Together, they all contributed to the development of our contemporary methods of justice and ethical conduct, under Jehovah God.

Today, we want an unflinching standard and a hero who will enforce it for us. That does not always occur, but we do have two dozen brands of court TV, each meting out a small measure of justice. How we wish that this could be broadened to encompass the world of wars and powers!

Rubenstein's chapter titles about a time when justice was more certain are attention-grabbing, including:

-- If YHVH Is God, Follow Him!--Elijah, I Kings 18:21
-- The Heart Is More Devious Than Any Other Thing--Jeremiah 17:9
-- I Will Make You the Light of the Nations--Isaiah 49:6

I was entranced by each chapter.

Armchair Interviews says: Those interested in history, justice, and adventure will love this book.
Thus Saith the Lord makes good reading  Feb 5, 2007
Feel the need for religious voices advocating for the cause of justice and inclusion rather than hatred and arrogance? Wondering whose vision will lead us in a moral direction? Welcome to Thus Saith the Lord! Rubenstein not only brings people and historical periods to life, he also shows their effect on the present. Maps, endnotes, a selected bibliography and an index enhance the text. Readers of all faiths, or none, can enjoy and profit from Rubenstein's insights.
Subtitle is a little misleading  Jan 29, 2007
Whenever I pick up a book to read, I read the full title to give myself an idea of where the author is going. Here, the author's subtitle was "The Revolutionary Moral Vision of Isaiah and Jeremiah." Following from this, I thought the book would primarily cover the teachings/prophecies of these two biblical figures.

In reading the book, I see Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, Jeremiah, and two Isaiah's covered in the book. This isn't a bad thing, but it made me step back from the reading to wonder why the author chose to do this. After reading, I am still not sure why.

Setting that aside, I agree with another reviewer that this is a very readable book. Even though Richard Rubenstein has done a lot of research, the narrative flows quite easily. It was easy to get immersed in the text, and for that, I applaud the author.

Rubenstein places the prophets in their historical context, which at first put me off. It made me think that he was minimizing any idea of divine vision. Paying attention to the words, however, showed me that that was not his purpose. He was merely showing the reader the setting in which these prophets lived.

By giving us a firm understanding of the setting, the author then shows us a glimpse of today. At that point, the book suddenly becomes very clear and moving. This book is definitely intended to be taken as a whole. Merely reading chapter by chapter will not show the big picture. The reader has to compare the settings to see the pattern.

I would recommend this to others wanting a historical understanding of the Old Testament as well as people wanting a better perspective on today.
Appreciation from a Rabbi  Dec 17, 2006
Thus Saith the Lord is one of the best commentaries on the Bible I have ever read. Professor Rubenstein masterfully reconstructs the original political, social and psychological contexts from which the great prophets Hebrew Isaiah and Jeremiah spoke. Meticulously researched and skillfully presented, this book makes these ancient messages come alive with a clarity and impact that speaks to our times. Rubenstein has succeeded in combining enthusiasm, insight and compassion to produce a book that manages to be both deeply profound and highly readable at the same time. I found myself cruising through the chapters. This inspiring book has given me new hope and a fresh outlook on the current world situation. I have already begun to apply Thus Saith the Lord to my work as a rabbi.

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