My Name is Asher Lev

If you are a reader of fiction and have not yet read My Nameis Asher Lev and The Gift of Asher Lev… stop what you are doing, logon to, buy An Evangelical Social Gospel, then both of these books by author, painter, rabbi & my new hero – Chaim Potok. Just kidding, forget the first one and just by the two Asher Lev books.
Seriously, my wife read this book a long time ago and told me I would like it. But I ignored her advice. I’m an idiot. Potok is a great writer.
Top 5 reasons I love Asher Lev:
1. It is a great way to learn about Jewish culture and customs. As a theology nerd, the peek inside Hassidic culture was hypnotic.
2. Asher is a great misfit male lead – which are usually my favorite leads. My top 5 misfit male leads in order are: Owen Meany, Asher Lev, Holden Caulfield, Lloyd Dobbler (I know it’s a movie, but deal with it), and Martin Eden. (Ed from the TV show ED gets honorable mention).
3. It is beautiful and sad. I’m reading The Chosen by Potok right now and it doesn’t have the magic Asher Lev has. It’s good, but Potok really hit on something in Asher Lev’s character, and especially in the literary voice of these two novels. They are stunning works of art.
4. The first book really functions as a great meditation on the meaning and role art plays in society, as well as an aesthetic primer for people who love art, but have not majored in art history. Both really delve deeply into the internal struggle of the artist.
5. If you read it we can talk about it. I’m dying to visit with people about this book.

About Tim Suttle

Tim Suttle is a pastor, writer, and musician. He is the author of several books: Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), and An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade Books, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals. Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. He has planted three successful churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • Scott Stone


    Read The Promise for a NT class last year. What a wonderfully written book. Synopsis sure mirrors what is going on in a lot of the evangelical community today.

  • Gwyneth

    Hi Tim, A friend just sent me your blog address today and I am amazed that Chaim Potok was the first entry. I love his work and would strongly encourage you to follow through and read The Promise after The Chosen. It is one of my favorite books, I've read it several times. There is something about the "otherness" of Hasidic Judaism that is fascinating. Happy reading!

  • Tim Suttle

    Okay – that's two recommendations for The Promise. 1/2 Price Books, here I come :-)

  • Rowland

    It's great isn't it? I finished it the other day. I'm a bit nervous about reading the sequel though. I want Asher to go off and be happy but I've got a horrible feeling that won't be the case.

  • Tim Suttle

    In my opinion, the second one is just as good. It complicates the narrative in ways that I think help the first novel – if that's possible!