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Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Artists Wrestle with the Torah
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Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Artists Wrestle with the Torah

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  73 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Announcing a smart, daring, original new take on the Torah. Imagine: 54 leading young Jewish writers, artists, photographers, screenwriters, architects, actors, musicians, and graphic artists grappling with the first five books of the Bible and giving new meaning to the 54 Torah portions that are traditionally read over the course of a year. From the foundational stories ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Workman Publishing Company
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 09, 2014 Martin rated it it was ok
This book had so much promise, SO much! But it fell flat on its face in its execution. The bible is endlessly inspiring, in terms of spirituality, but more so (at least for me) in terms of creativity. I have created many projects using The Good Book as source material. Here, however, what should have stood out as unique simply wasn't so. 54 writers were commissioned to reinterpret one torah portion each, and I would have expected the editor to ensure that each segment stood out by itself from ...more
Sep 24, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
A surprising, sublime, and creative celebration of the Torah.
I mean dang.
Loved. Loved. Loved.
Scott Haraburda
Nov 28, 2013 Scott Haraburda rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Book.


Re-writing ancient texts in modern ways provides readers fresh points of view to familiar stories. This is exactly what several writers and artists did with Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Artists Wrestle with the Torah: A Reboot Book. It’s a unique book addition to anyone’s religious library. Although many people would find it difficult to read, it offers a way to view Scriptures from contemporary perspectives. These were writte
This rating/review is based on a free copy of the book I got from a Goodreads giveaway.

Done! Finally!

This was an interesting read for me; because despite being raised Catholic, I have never read the Torah/Pentateuch. Still haven't. Each section starts with a recap of the biblical text then whatever the contributors wrote/drew/designed -- and to the book's credit there is a pretty wide variety of contributions. Most were kind of boring/uncreative/phoned in, but there were some really stand-out pi
Susan Brock
Sep 27, 2013 Susan Brock rated it liked it
This is an inviting and creative approach to a part of the Bible that can be difficult or intimidating. Short sections of Bible chapters are summarized then followed by stories, poems or artwork that explore the different themes. The explorations are filled with 21st century references (google, graphic art, movies, etc.) so I guess the intention is to make the ancient themes fresh and contemporary. To me the overall effect was somewhat strained and at times needlessly flippant. I did not find ...more
I'm honestly not even sure I'd give the third star. This just didn't do it for me from the very beginning. The background essays on the readings were too simplistic for a market ready to "wrestle." Most of the "wrestling" felt like reading notes someone else took in a class where they didn't get the material. Better idea: Pick up the Torah and wrestle with it yourself.

EDIT: There's gotta be a line somewhere in the Torah like "don't give the extra star on Goodreads just because you feel bad about
Janelle Fallan
Dec 24, 2013 Janelle Fallan rated it it was amazing
You do not have to be Jewish to enjoy this book. Whether you call the first five books of the Bible the Torah or the Pentateuch, this book is entertaining and thought provoking. Leviticus and Numbers especially can be such a dense, long slog.
"Unscrolled" gives us short stories (Hagar as a nanny come to New York from the South), a real estate ad for the Ark of the Covenant as a mobile home, the bizarre ritual of the red heifer told from her point of view, Moses dealing with a modern PR firm, car
David Rullo
So, I really enjoyed the concept of the bookm I also appreciated the brief description of the weekly Torah portion. Sometimes the writers pueces fell flat but for the most part I enjoyed what they were attempting. I'll read this again fir the next year and hope an Unscrolled Rebooted V2 is published soon.
Jun 24, 2014 Rachel rated it it was ok
I've read a lot of Torah commentaries written by a lot of different types of groups. I was disappointed in this one because I didn't feel I learned anything. Some sections were moving; others were funny. None made me fell like I saw the Torah text anew.
Sean Amore
May 22, 2014 Sean Amore rated it really liked it
The weekly "portions" of the torah presented in a very untraditional way. I read the whole thing but I go back every Friday night after services and review what I heard, how Rabbi digested, and how the book's contributors presented it. Proof that the Torah is one book with 1,000,000 messages.
Aug 06, 2015 Bethany rated it it was amazing
Excellent reading to go along with the week's Torah portion, or even just to read all the way through. Some of the pieces are really clever, and some are really irritating. (I'm looking at you, Ted from How I Met Your Mother.)
Barb Wiseberg
Provocative, unconventional, unique. The interpretation of each portion of the Torah is definitely not the same as what I learnt in school, but this book kept me up late, as I read it all in one sitting.

Kudos to reboot for initiating this project. It was an outstanding read!
Eric Sbar
Dec 10, 2014 Eric Sbar rated it liked it
I find it tough to have modern discussions when reading about stoning, unblemished red cows, how to deal with corpses, and various forms of sacrifices. I am not sure that the writers did well either. Some were quite clever but often just for the sake of being clever.
Jan 06, 2014 Rachel rated it liked it
A good, concise summary of the Torah. Some of the commentary essays and whatnots were off the mark, I think, but overall I really enjoyed actually learning what goes on in the Torah beyond the "big" stories.
Alexandra rated it really liked it
May 29, 2016
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Feb 05, 2014
DeEtte rated it it was amazing
Jun 27, 2014
Rifka rated it did not like it
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Dec 08, 2014
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Aug 11, 2014
Marjorie Ingall
Marjorie Ingall rated it liked it
Mar 01, 2016
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez rated it it was amazing
Jan 23, 2016
Shane Hankins
Shane Hankins rated it it was amazing
Jan 02, 2014
Samuel rated it it was amazing
Jul 18, 2015
Steve Silbert
Steve Silbert rated it liked it
Jul 24, 2014
Frank Lockwood
Dec 09, 2013 Frank Lockwood rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. It's intelligent, irreverent, funny -- a lot of fun to read.
David J. Israel
David J. Israel rated it really liked it
Nov 29, 2014
Donna Morrison
Donna Morrison rated it it was amazing
Jul 05, 2014
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Sep 28, 2015
Kate Farrell
Kate Farrell rated it really liked it
Jul 08, 2014
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