The Grammar of God: A Journey into the Words and Worlds of the Bible, by Aviya Kushner is a book I was primed to love and enjoy, as Kushner follows my concerns about Hebrew, the bible, Jewish life, and the problems of the modern encounter with Judaism.
Overall, Kushner writes well about the topics she sets out to examine, building a wide frame of questions to investigate about the nature of Hebrew, its translation into English, and the importance of words and how they are conveyed in this very important text.
The core of the book has and stays true to these goals, but it is the periphery of the book where Kushner goes wrong. She is trying to write a very accessible text about Hebrew and the bible, so she takes the language and contextualizes it in her life. This is a fair approach: language lives in life, and should be explored in life. But her approach is bumpy and uneven. The stitching between the didactic and memoir parts of this book are too jarring. The work does not have the sense of an organic whole. At times, it appears Kushner did not know what kind of book she wished to write.
Despite this, Kushner’s work is still worth reading, especially for those without any knowledge of Biblical or Israeli Hebrew. It is a fair introduction to the topics say lays out.