Jephta and His Daughter by Lion Feuchtwanger
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1958. Hardcover. 255 pages ; 22 cm. $3.95 dust jacket, crossed out and has a few tears along the edges. Lean to spine. Pages are unmarked. Binding's firm.
Jephta and His Daughter
By LION FEUCHTWANGER
"Now Jephta the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the son of a harlot . . ." (Judges XI, 1.)
This is the story of a man, a man who stood monumental and alone in the Israel of long ago, Jephta the bastard, Jephta the bandit, robbed of his inheritance by his brothers, who yet found in himself strength of spirit and body to rise to be judge in Israel and to sit in the seat of his father Gilead.
Yet Jephta's is more than a Biblical success story. To reach his goal he had to battle not only his family, and his foes the Ammonites, but also the high priest Abijam and his god Yah-weh—and most of all his own doubts and fears. In the end Yahweh required of him a cruel and awe-inspiring sacrifice, the life of his beloved daughter Ja'ala.
It is a tale of primitive men and women, with primitive passions, struggling against foreign oppressors and even more against their superstitions. From the murky regions of legend and the stirring but enigmatic Old Testament account, Lion Feuchtwanger, dean of German historical novelists, has brought to life this intriguing story, and with all the great resources of his scholarship and literary skill has fashioned a compelling portrait of the hero as man of action and God-seeker, testing Yahweh and being tested—as indeed is modern man.
Readers everywhere will find this one of the most characteristic and fascinating works of the author of Jew Suss, Proud Destiny, The Ugly Duchess, Josephus, and many other international bestsellers.
Dr. Feuchtwanger now lives in Pacific Palisades, California. Born in Munich, he was educated in Berlin, left Germany when Hitler came to power, lived in France for some years and then came to the United States. He has just received the Great Munich Prize for literature.
From the Epilogue of Jephta and His Daughter—
"The story of Jephta is recorded in the Book of Judges, which contains some of the most beautiful and sublime passages to be found in the Old Testament: the rousing battle hymn of Deborah, the folk tales of Gideon, the Hewer, the Contender, the stories of mighty Samson and the Philistines, and above all the narratives relating to Jephta.
"In the forty-seven verses of the Bible which tell of the life of this Jephta, the fifth High Judge of Israel, are woven four ancient accounts which were written in four different periods and which originally had no connection with one another. Assuredly these four sources were based upon historical fact, but it is just as certain that the latter-day scribes and exegetes misinterpreted this material. Events could not have happened as the Biblical authors have recorded. Yet the Biblical authors were the first to possess a philosophy of history, a feeling of historicity, a consciousness of ebb and flow, an awareness of the dynamic and the dialectic. Their people not only live a life of their own; they are steeped in history.
"It has been my endeavor to lend such historicity to my novel, based on the broader knowledge of our times. In that sense, but in that sense only, Jephta is to be regarded as a Biblical novel."
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