PRAISE FOR Seeds of Transcendence
"Can a book about plants be described as a tour de force? Absolutely. Jo Ann Gardner's decades-long fascination with both plant life and Hebrew Scriptures has produced a work that opens many worlds to the reader. . . about theology, history, and human relationships. . . order and meaning-and beauty-in the universe, provides information about health, about precision in biology and chemistry, the alternating delicacy and sturdiness of nature around us. This would have been gift enough. Yet it is but a fraction of what Gardner brings: she applies her profound grasp of nature to the meaning of Scriptures, narrative, and law alike. Though I have long studied and loved the Bible, I now understand it better. Remarkably, this erudite work of great depth and breadth remains reader friendly throughout. Surely it will become a classic. In sum, I am enthralled by this book."
--BLU GREENBERG, FOUNDER OF JOFA, THE JEWISH ORTHODOX FEMINIST ALLIANCE, AUTHOR OF On Women and Judaism and How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household
"This meticulously researched and thoroughly thought through book is a great contribution to the study of the Bible today. By affirming that the God of history who commands and the God of nature who creates is one and the same God, Gardner shows how this faith enabled the people Israel to truly 'serve the land and protect it' (Gen. 2:15) by becoming (in her words) 'a co-worker with God in turning the earth into a garden.' This could only be done by those who have the same intimate knowledge and love of the earth and its flora . . . as Gardner herself evidences in this exceptional book."
-- DAVID NOVAK, J. RICHARD AND DOROTHY SHIFF PROFESSOR OF
JEWISH STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
"This is much more than just a book about plants of the Hebrew Bible - it takes us on an exploration of the ancient Holy Land, providing fascinating stories, with vivid details of the people, culture, plants, and life of the times. Through incredible research on the plants, light is shed on many of the misidentified or misunderstood plants associated with biblical times - very enlightening. I consider this both a great read as well as an excellent reference."
-- HOLLY SHIMIZU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES BOTANIC GARDEN
"Jo Ann Gardner has brought her experience as a gardening writer to bear on her longstanding insterest in the Bible. The result is a naturalist's tour of the weekly Torah readings that encompasses large swaths of scholarship, folklore, and well-grounded imaginative thinking that will enhance every reader's appreciation of the greatest book."
-- JON GREENBERG, PH.D., BIBLICAL AND TALMUDIC BOTANIST
"In the pages of this beautifully crafted and well documented book, the lives of the ancient Israelites come to life with lovely reflective essays reflecting on particular passages in the Bible, the plants mentioned in them, and their relevance to the annual religious cycle."
-- PETER H. RAVEN, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN,