Jim Talbott's Reviews > Sage Tales: Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud

Sage Tales by Burton L. Visotzky
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's review
Jul 29, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, male-author
Read from July 29 to August 04, 2011

I gave this book four stars because of the content. I found Visotzky's veering off into pop cultural asides to be a bit jarring, and it wasn't as though they really moved the book forward at all. It was as though his editor said, "This needs to be more accessible," and Visotzky would just add a reference to "The Matrix."

For the good, however, the book contains a very good introduction to critical readings of the midrashim featuring Rabbi Yochanan and his disciples. Though I was already familiar with most of the midrashim featured in the book, Visotzky's putting similar accounts next to each other and contrasting the different historical contexts that produced them was extremely helpful. It gave me a layer of understanding I didn't previously have, and it made the interconnections between the rabbis much clearer.

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