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A significant milestone in
the history of feminism and
the study of Scripture.

LEARN MORE

Wisdom Commentary: Tobit

Michele Murray

Wisdom Commentary: Tobit SEE INSIDE
Wisdom Commentary: Tobit
SEE INSIDE

ISBN: 9780814681145, 8114

Details: 320 pgs, 6 x 9 x 1 1/8
Publication Date: 07/03/2023
Cistercian Publications
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$49.95
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Blindness by bird excrement, seven husbands murdered by a love-sick demon, a father with the corpses of his sons-in-law interred in the backyard, and a magical fish. These farcical elements make the book of Tobit a striking work of humorous fiction in a long Jewish tradition of storytelling. But it is more than just an entertaining read. We might well laugh, but we cannot laugh too hard, for we also sympathize with the characters’ sincere struggles to understand God’s plan for their lives. This commentary considers the book of Tobit through a specifically feminist lens, discoursing on topics fundamental to the human experience in the story, such as grief, death, family relationships, belonging to a minority community, disability issues, and contending with why bad things happen to good people.

Michele Murray is professor in the department of religion, society, and culture at Bishop’s University, in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, where she served as the dean of arts and science, and dean of arts, for a decade. She holds an MA in Second Temple period Jewish history from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a PhD in religion, specializing in Christian origins, from the University of Toronto. Her research areas include Jewish-Christian relations in the ancient world, and interaction among Eastern-Mediterranean religions in late antiquity; she is the author of Playing a Jewish Game: Gentile Christian Judaizing in the First and Second Centuries CE (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2004), and several articles and book chapters.

ISBN: 9780814681145, 8114

Details: 320 pgs, 6 x 9 x 1 1/8
Publication Date: 07/03/2023
Cistercian Publications

Reviews

"With this engaging treatment of Tobit, Michele Murray continues the high standards of the Wisdom Commentary Series. The social world of the story comes alive through comparisons to historical and modern equivalents. Feminist and intersectional concerns are prominent, creating a dialogue between ancient text and modern social issues. I was challenged on every page to return again to the text with new questions."
Lawrence M. Wills, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

"This book, the first full-length feminist commentary on the Book of Tobit, is simply a delight—a commentary that fixes its lenses on the ancient context and our own. Not only does it inform the reader concerning the background of Tobit and the interpretive issues it raises, but it also addresses, with sensitivity and grace, the fundamental matters of equity that emerge from the book. Its intersectional approach lifts up the connections among gender, sexuality, race, and ability as they pertain to social justice. And it accomplishes all this in a highly readable, compelling style."
Adele Reinhartz, Distinguished University Professor, University of Ottawa

"Tobit is a romp and this commentary is a feminist tour through its fantastical world. With an expert’s hand, Michele Murray guides the reader through Tobit’s deeper questions about suffering, community identity, and God. At the same time, she offers a range of personal reflections (from others as well as her own) on disability, childlessness, pregnancy loss, widowhood, and the companionship of dogs. Altogether, an engaging and thought-provoking commentary."
Jennifer L. Koosed, Professor of Religious Studies, Albright College

"An innovative approach to reading Tobit that interweaves basic information, feminist questions, and reflection arising out of the author's personal experience."
Eileen Schuller, Professor Emeritus, McMaster University, Ontario

"In her learned and lucid commentary on the humorous book of Tobit, Michele Murray bridges the distance between an ancient text and modern readers by harnessing the dynamic intersectional perspectives of contemporary feminism. Combining scholarly observations that shed light on the literary, intertextual, and cultural world of this work with insightful personal reflections and illustrative vignettes prompted by the social, ethical, and emotional dimensions of the story, Murray ensures that her readers will discover new meanings in the text and in themselves."
Christine Hayes, Sterling Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University

"A good introduction to a fascinating though too often side-lined book. Without being an in-depth critical commentary of Tobi, it serves as a useful guide for pastoral practice and an aid for the general student."
The Downside Review