As a Driven Leaf Summary & Study Guide

Milton Steinberg
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As a Driven Leaf Summary & Study Guide Description

As a Driven Leaf Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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As a Driven Leaf derives its title from the Biblical passage in Job: "Wherefore hidest Though Thy face...Wilt Thou harass a driven leaf?" It is an historical fiction about Elisha ben Abuyah, a Rabbi who lived in the time soon after Christ, who was a member of the Sanhedrin until his ex-communication, and lived most of his life in Antioch, Syria. It is the story of a man who questions his faith and tries to regain it through a search of literature, history, science and math over his lifetime of studies, only to realize too late that his search for truth without faith is an empty quest.

The novel begins with Elisha's birth in Palestine, to a mother who dies giving him life, and a father who is known in the Jewish community as a Greek sympathizer. Elisha lives with his father and his education includes Greek culture, literature and science until his father dies. At ten, Elisha is a wealthy orphan given into the care of his Uncle Amman. Amman points Elisha in the strict traditional way of the Jewish faith, and Elisha becomes a rabbi and a member of the Sanhedrin, the highest council of wisdom in Palestine. Elisha begins questioning his faith and his life and finally leaves his wife, the Sanhedrin, and Palestine to seek answers to his burning questions about faith and science.

Elisha moves to Antioch to live with his best friend Pappas. There he begins what will be his lifelong search for a scientific methodology to explain faith and truth. He meets a Roman soldier's concubine, Manta, and falls deeply in love with her. Prevented from having a normal life with Manta and still troubled by his quest for truth, Elisha buries himself in books and studies, surrounding himself with Greek ways and friends, and eventually coming to admire the Romans for their governmental structures.

When war breaks out between the Jews and Romans, Elisha stays true to his vow to a dying Manta and avoids execution by assisting the Romans to fight the Jews. When the war ends, he returns to his studies and finally faces the fact he may have been chasing dreams his entire life. He dies a broken, disillusioned man with no family, only a few dear friends left, penniless and disgraced in his homeland.

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