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Lisbeth S. Fried
Publication Date
May 2023


After the significant and ground-breaking commentaries on Ezra and Nehemiah by Lisbeth Fried, she now turns her attention to a different genre of biblical literature and to the book of Ruth. Fried approaches Ruth as folktale, specifically, a fairy tale. This new reading of Ruth allows the book to be experienced in a new way, a way infrequently recognized, that provides novel but compelling insights into the author’s intentions and goals.

Fried uses Propp’s Morphology of a Folktale to provide the guideposts for her strikingly refreshing approach. The story of Ruth is one of a stranger in a strange land. Ruth’s author explores the meaning of identity, assimilation and acceptance. He asks whether identity can be changed, whether the Judean god and the Judean nationality can be taken on voluntarily, whether assimilation is possible, whether the stranger can or should be welcomed into the bosom of a family, and indeed, whether he or she can be trusted. These are questions we deal with today, but it was a vital issue after the return from Babylon and on into the Hellenistic period, when foreigners (first Persian and then Greek) were everywhere, and in control of everyday life, and when their foreign ways were rampant. Ruth’s author recognizes that welcoming the stranger was and indeed is a scary proposition.

Like her Commentaries on Ezra and Nehemiah, the present volume includes a new translation of the book, plus text-critical notes on each verse which compares and contrasts the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Syriac versions as well as the Aramaic Targum. The Introduction and extensive chapter commentaries provide a discussion of the larger historical and literary issues. Fried’s commentary promises to revolutionize how we read the book of Ruth.

This is the fourth volume in the Critical Commentaries series.

SBL Press is the North American distributor for Sheffield Phoenix Press. Individual scholars or students may purchase the hardback edition of any SPP book at a 50 percent discount, whenever a paperback edition is not available.

SBL Press is the North American distributor for Sheffield Phoenix Press. Customers outside of North America can purchase this book directly from Sheffield Phoenix by clicking here.