A wide-ranging exploration of the story of Ruth, a foreigner who became the founding mother of the Davidic dynasty

"[A]n insightful exploration of the book's themes of otherness, kindness, and loyalty. This is a valuable contribution to the literature on Ruth."--Publishers Weekly

"A virtuoso exploration of the Book of Ruth as an admirable touchstone in the realms of literature, art, and human values. Ilana Pardes foregrounds the timeless emergency of migrants and refugees with compassion and depth."--Galit Hasan-Rokem, author of Web of Life

The biblical Ruth has inspired numerous readers from diverse cultural backgrounds across many centuries. In this insightful volume, Ilana Pardes invites us to marvel at the ever-changing perspectives on Ruth's foreignness. She explores the rabbis' lauding of Ruth as an exemplary convert, and the Zohar's insistence that Ruth's Moabite background is vital to her redemptive powers. In moving to early modern French art, she looks at pastoral paintings in which Ruth becomes a local gleaner, holding sheaves in her hands. Pardes concludes with contemporary adaptations in literature, photography, and film in which Ruth is admired for being a paradigmatic migrant woman. Ruth's afterlives not only reveal much about their own times but also shine new light on this remarkable ancient tale and point to its enduring significance. In our own era of widespread migration and dislocation, Ruth remains as relevant as ever.

Publication Date: 
October 4, 2022