As A Driven Leaf is a novel in which fictional and historical characters comfortably coexist. It is a gripping tale of the renegade Talmudic sage, Elisha ben Abuyah, caught in a personal struggle between his own faith and the compelling culture of Rome, circa 70 CE.
The genius of Milton Steinberg's great work is that it illuminates the political and intellectual conflicts of Rabbinic times in a way that shows their relevance to Jewish faith, nationhood, and personal development in every era, including our own.
A helpful Listener's Guide adds fascinating historical background on the book's events - including Bar Kochba's bloody revolt against the Romans - and its characters, among them the great woman scholar Bruriah and the revered Rabbi Akiba.
©1939 Milton Steinberg (P)2000 Susan Dworkin
"Imposing...remarkably effective." (The New York Times)
This book is not for everyone, as it is more about reflection, faith and doubt than sheer entertainment. However, for those who think about life and purpose, meaning and time, this is a wonderful story which teaches an important lesson.
The narrator spoke a bit softly. As I listen while I'm driving, I missed a bit; it simply wasn't loud enough, even with the volume turned up full. I felt as if I was a part of the world of 2000 years ago, but I suspect that quite a lot was cut out of the abridged edition, and the jumps in place and time were a little ragged. I imagine that an unabridged version would be even better. Still I enjoyed this thought-provoking audible book.
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