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As a Driven Leaf



In a brand new foreword, Rabbi David Wolpe takes a fresh look at this masterpiece of modern fiction, a historical novel set in second century Jerusalem and Antioch that tells the gripping tale of renegade Talmudic sage Elisha ben Abuyah's struggle to reconcile his faith with the allure of Hellenistic culture. His conflict between tradition and modern culture is at once both ancient and very modern. As Wall Street Journal columnist Joseph Epstein writes, "One imagines that in writing As a Driven Leaf Milton Steinberg was writing about his own intellectual conflict over the issuefaith or reason, and in what proportions?that remains fundamental to thoughtful people to this day. The tension that this conflict stirs in a first-class mind in his novel is compelling, and the incisive portrait of the man caught up in it is what gives As a Driven Leaf its standing as a masterpiece."

Publisher Marketing:
The age of the Talmud is brought to life in a breathtaking saga. First published in 1939, this masterpiece of modern fiction tells the gripping tale of renegade Talmudic sage Elisha ben Abuyah's struggle to reconcile his faith with the allure of Hellenistic culture. Set in Roman Palestine, As a Driven Leaf draws readers into the dramatic era of Rabbinic Judaism. Watch the great Talmudic sages at work in the Sanhedrin, eavesdrop on their arguments about theology and Torah, and agonize with them as they contemplate rebellion against an oppressive Roman rule.

Steinberg's classic novel also transcends its historical setting with its depiction of a timeless, perennial feature of the Jewish experience: the inevitable conflict between the call of tradition and the glamour of the surrounding culture. A literary masterpiece, As a Driven Leaf is still regarded as a major influence on contemporary Jewish life and thought.

This new edition includes two forewords: One new, by the renowned American Rabbi, Rabbi David J. Wolpe, the second from author Chaim Potok, originally written in 1996.

Both Wolpe and Potok stress in their pieces the contemporary relevance of As a Driven Leaf. As Wolpe recounts, "As a Driven Leaf tells a gripping story of Elisha ben Abuyah, the only Talmudic sage to be denounced and cast out as a heretic. It explores the two forces acting on us today...We are divided between the twin pulls of assimilation in the modern world and faithfulness to the tradition of the old."

As a Driven Leaf is an ideal selection for adult education classes and as recommended reading for congregational lay leadership.

Product Details


ISBN–13: 9780874419504

Publisher: Behrman House Publishing

Publication Date: Jan-1939

Pages: 480

Lexile Level: 0000

Ages: NA - NA