In this fluent and penetrating study of the Book of Ruth, Yael Ziegler provides a masterful primer on how to read biblical narratives with sensitivity and depth, using recent methodological breakthroughs in the study of Tanakh. Beyond providing an eye-opening reading of a familiar biblical book, the author creatively demonstrates that midrashic readings can reveal deep strata of textual meaning, and combines these insights with classical and contemporary scholarship to uncover the religious messages of this beautifully crafted story. In Ruth: From Alienation and Monarchy, modern techniques of literary analysis and rabbinic homilies merge to yield common insights into themes such as leadership, redemption, identity, and social morality.
The Book of Ruth, with its focus on the exemplary behavior of Ruth and Boaz, stands at the crossroads between society’s downward trajectory during the era of the Judges and its ascent during the era of the monarchy. It teaches the timeless lesson of how two individuals can act in accordance with their own conscience and, through small acts of kindness and humanity, change the course of history and restore hope and unity to a nation.