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Mouth of the Donkey

Re-imagining Biblical Animals

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The Hebrew Bible is filled with animals. Snakes and ravens share meals with people; donkeys and sheep work alongside us; eagles and lions inspire us; locusts warn us.

How should we read their stories? What can they teach us about ecology, spirituality, and ethics?

Author Laura Duhan-Kaplan explores these questions, weaving together biology, Kabbalah, rabbinic midrash, Indigenous wisdom, modern literary methods, and personal experiences.

She re-imagines Jacob’s sheep as family, Balaam’s donkey as a spiritual director, Eve’s snake as a misguided helper. Finally, Rabbi Laura invites metaphorical eagles, locusts, and mother bears to help us see anew, confront human violence, and raise children who live peacefully on the land.

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Praise for Mouth of the Donkey

Mouth of the Donkey is a little book that inspires creative biblical reading, expands imagination, and deepens focus.”
Christian Century

“Packs ancient and modern wisdom into a delightful parcel.”
Jewish Independent

“Rabbi Duhan-Kaplan, with her captivating writing and charming sense of humor, created a book like no other. An informed Jewish reader will find that the author's reliance of centuries of serious scholarship eases them into looking at the text in ways they never thought of before, this time highlighting the role of the animal world within the richness of the biblical narrative. Animal lovers, on their part, will be mesmerized by Rabbi Duhan-Kaplan’s sensitivity and love for all of God’s creatures, and will be introduced to the beauty and richness of Jewish biblical commentary. Both audiences will be impressed with the author's commitment to justice, ethics, and a better world.”
Amazon Review

“I’ve been studying and teaching the Hebrew Bible for 30 years. I just finished reading Laura Duhan-Kaplan’s new book titled, Mouth of the Donkey: Re-imagining Biblical Animals. It is an amazingly creative little book. I highly recommend it. Laura’s book is scholarly, rabbinic, clever, political, humorous and very readable. It is not an understatement to say that you will forever see animals in the Torah in a whole new way that will excite you.”
Amazon Review

About the Author

Laura Duhan-Kaplan is Director of Inter-Religious Studies and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vancouver School of Theology. Laura is also Professor Emerita of Philosophy at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Rabbi Emerita of Or Shalom Synagogue, and a U.S. Professor of the Year. She lives in Vancouver, Canada, on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, with her husband (and musical partner) Charles, their young adult children, and a changing array of companion animals.

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