The author of this insightful work is Senior Lecturer in Hebrew Bible at the New York campus of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. In the introduction (ch. 1), she explains that the purposes in writing Biblical Narratives and Their Neighbors were to explore how Israelite characters interact with other peoples (their “neighbors”) both within and beyond national borders and to gauge the quotient of violence in biblical narratives toward those strangers. Leveen presents close readings of scenes of encounters of Israelites and others from Exodus through 2 Kings, with an eye to literary features, such as characterization, word plays, dialogue, allusions, and repetitions. As the author says early on, “As these vignettes suggest, attitudes toward strangers . . . exist on a broad spectrum in the Hebrew Bible. They may be critiqued, attacked, and brutalized, or praised, respected, and at times quite purposefully included” (p. 28).

After the introduction,...

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