This volume provides a readable introduction to the narrative book of Ruth appropriate for the student, pastor, and scholar. LaCocque combines historical, literary, feminist, and liberationist approaches in an engaging synthesis. He argues that the book was written in the post-exilic period and that the author was a woman. Countering the fears and xenophobia of many in Jerusalem, the biblical author employed the notion of hesed (kindness, loyalty, steadfast love), which transcends any national boundaries.
LaCocque focuses on redemption and levirate marriage as the two legal issues that recur throughout the text of Ruth. Ruth comes from the despised people of Moab but becomes a model for Israel. Boaz, converted to the model of steadfast love, becomes both redeemer and levir for Ruth and thus fulfills the Torah. In the conclusion to his study, the author sketches some parallels with Jesus’ hermeneutics of the Law as well as postmodern problems and solutions.
I have long been a fan of André LaCocque's work, and this commentary is no exception. . . . What I particularly appreciated is the inclusion by LaCocque of many of the more marginal readings of Ruth. . . . LaCocque locates himself carefully within the existing scholarly literature, both within and beyond biblical scholarship, and dialogues with it in detail.
—Gerald West, School of Religion & Theology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, S. Africa
André LaCocque is Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Chicago Theological Seminary. He is the author of Thinking Biblically (with Paul Ricoeur), The Feminine Unconventional, and Daniel in His Time.