Our Fathers’ Wells

A Personal Encounter with the Myths of Genesis

by Peter Pitzele


A truly superb book, one that stretches the mind and nourishes the soul.”
— Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

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About this book

Born of thoroughly assimilated Jewish parents, Peter Pitzele journeys back from his various odysseys in alternative faiths to search out the roots of his own birthright. In discovering and claiming just what that means to him, he plants his focus firmly in the biblical book of Genesis. Here he finds the first articulation of those mythic paradigms that will form in time the legacy of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Here are “the fathers’ wells,” the deep and difficult source texts for our imagination of God.

Pitzele’s approach to Genesis is personal and pluralistic. He reads not only with a detailed knowledge of the tales, but with the imagination of a psychodramatist. Scripture for him is full of dramatic possibility and psychological truth. The great cast of archetypal figures – Adam, Eve, Cain, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph – are given a fuller dimension in his rendering of their stories. Woven throughout are slices of Pitzele’s own personal history, demonstrating the relationship between myth and experience, between the profound images of the Western spiritual tradition and the life of a man who wrestles with his roles as father, husband, son, and brother.

In the spirit of conservation, Pitzele seeks to clarify the wells of our spiritual inheritance. His journey of exploration and self-discovery has an immediacy for any of us grappling to find meaning and relevance in the gifts of the past. His purpose is not merely to retell but to re-animate our foundational stories and to bring them to bear on our own lives.

This anniversary edition features a new introduction from Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD.

Advance Praise

“Peter Pitzele . . . teaches us anew how to use our bodies to wrestle with Torah, how to find new meaning in the ancient archetypal stories through psychodrama that engages the very muscles and gestures, and not only how to reread Torah, but literally how to reenact and reembody it.”
— Arthur Waskow, author of Godwrestling, Seasons of Our Joy, and Down-to-Earth Judaism

“Peter Pitzele is the master of the psycho-spiritual approach to the Old Testament.” — David A. Cooper, author Renewing Your Soul

“As I finished reading these pages, I had the feeling that I had just encountered a new genre of literature . . . . The author takes the reader on a mindbending tour of Biblical mind and soul, and then back again in to the microcosm of our intimate relationships.”
— Blue Greenberg, author of On women and Judaism

“A remarkable book . . . Profound, helpful, personal and engaging, an exciting religious adventure.”
— Morton Kelsey


From Publishers Weekly

From Booklist