The Sparrow

by Mary Doria Russell

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In The Sparrow, what page is the quote that begins with "The Jewish sages also tell us that God dances when His children defeat Him in argument" found on?

The quote that begins with "The Jewish sages also tell us" is found on pages 252 and 253 of The Sparrow. It comes from Marc, who’s trying to justify God’s ways to man. He’s attempting to convince the other members of the party that there was a good reason why God brought another member of the expedition, Alan, all the way to another planet only to let him die.

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After the death and burial of Alan Pace, it’s left to the surviving members of the expedition to try and make sense of it all. In the wake of Alan’s death, Anne is more convinced than ever in her religious skepticism. She hates the fact that God appears to get the credit for all the good things that happen but never for the bad. Anne just can’t swallow what she calls such theological candy. Either God’s in charge of everything, in which case he should receive the blame for anything that goes wrong, or he’s not in charge, in which case he doesn’t deserve any praise.

But what Anne really can’t understand is why God would bring Alan all the way to another planet only to have him die. Marc accepts that this is a vital question, one that must be addressed. He goes on to say that, according to the Jewish sages, "God dances when His children defeat Him in argument, when they stand on their feet and use their minds." This is why questions like Anne’s are always worth asking, even if they challenge our religious faith. Maybe if we keep on demanding that God yield up answers to our questions, says Marc, then perhaps one day we might understand them. And then we shall dance with Him.

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