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Discover the Jewish Jesus
It's time to discover the Jewish Jesus!
Because a welter of details sometimes conceals the Torah's aura of holiness, Jewish mystics and spiritual teachers have for centuries attempted to reveal that aura through creative interpretation of the Torah text. The Aura of Torah explores these attempts in an effort to bridge the gap between the Torah text and the modern Jewish spiritual quest.The book collects a wide variety of interpretations of Torah passages, commentaries, and midrash rooted in the mystical side of Jewish tradition, translated by Rabbi Larry Tabick, with original Hebrew and Aramaic texts included. The quoted authors span many centuries and speak from many schools of thought: kabbalists writing within the tradition of the Zohar and other gnostic works; Hasidic teachers from the modern movement founded by the Ba'al Shem Tov in eighteenth-century Ukraine; and German pietists, or Hasidei Ashkenaz, of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Tabick examines how these texts build on the underlying principles of the Torah--the supremacy of God, the interconnectedness of nature and morality, and the unique (though not exclusive) role of the Jewish people in the divine plan for all humanity--to point to a deep spiritual truth in the world of the divine and the soul.
For centuries, Jews have been known as the "people of the book." It is commonly thought that Judaism in the first several centuries CE found meaning exclusively in textual sources. But there is another approach to meaning to be found in ancient Judaism, one that sees it in the natural world and derives it from visual clues rather than textual ones. According to this conception, God embedded hidden signs in the world that could be read by human beings and interpreted according to complex systems. In exploring the diverse functions of signs outside of the realm of the written word, Swartz introduces unfamiliar sources and motifs from the formative age of Judaism, including magical and divination texts and new interpretations of legends and midrashim from classical rabbinic literature. He shows us how ancient Jews perceived these signs and read them, elaborating on their use of divination, symbolic interpretation of physical features and dress, and interpretations of historical events. As we learn how these ancient people read the world, we begin to see how ancient people found meaning in unexpected ways.
What's the problem with Messianic Judaism? Stan Telchin, a Messianic Jew and former pastor, explores in depth the heart and soul of Messianic Judaism. He exposes the motive behind its creation, its controversial doctrines, and its ineffectiveness in Jewish evangelism. Messianic Judaism has grown significantly in fewer than four decades. While intended originally to appeal to Jewish people, unexpectedly it appeals also to Gentiles. Telchin, in following the teaching of the apostle Paul, sees Messianic Judaism as divisive. With a firm and loving approach, he addresses the dangers of this movement, reiterates God's intention for his church to serve as "one new man" and, most importantly, advocates unity among the body of believers. Perhaps you're a pastor concerned with the enticing pull of Messianic Judaism on your congregation. Perhaps you've merely wondered about the validity of this movement. Or maybe you're a Gentile who has been made to feel less than worthy. Whatever the reason, if you believe that God sees a difference between Jews and Gentiles in the Body of Christ, then this book will help you think again. "It took courage for Stan to write so pointedly from his broad and insightful experiences within the Messianic movement. Forthright and comprehensive, these chapters deal with a problem all followers of Jesus face-the desire to be accepted by those who have yet to experience God's transforming love."-Arthur F. Glasser, Ph.D., dean emeritus, School of World Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary "What Stan tells you in this book may come as a revelation. Certainly it will be controversial. Questions should arise, and much discussion should be the result."-Moishe Rosen, founder, Jews for Jesus "Whether you agree with everything he says or not, you will find the book interesting and enlightening."-D. James Kennedy, Ph.D., senior minister, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
The Jewish coming-of-age ceremony of bar mitzvah was first recorded in thirteenth-century France, where it took the form of a simple statement by the father that he was no longer responsible for his thirteen-year-old son. Today, bar mitzvah for boys and bat mitzvah for girls are more popular than at any time in history and are sometimes accompanied by lavish celebrations. How did bar mitzvah develop over the centuries from an obscure legal ritual into a core component of Judaism? How did it capture the imagination of even non-Jewish youth? Bar Mitzvah, a History is a comprehensive account of the ceremonies and celebrations for both boys and girls. A cultural anthropology informed by rabbinic knowledge, it explores the origins and development of the most important coming-of-age milestone in Judaism. Rabbi Michael Hilton has sought out every reference to bar mitzvah in the Bible, the Talmud, and numerous other Jewish texts spanning several centuries, extracting a fascinating miscellany of information, stories, and commentary.
Based on extensive scrutiny of primary sources from Nazi and Jihadist ideologues, David Patterson argues that Jihadist anti-Semitism stems from Nazi ideology. This book challenges the idea that Jihadist anti-Semitism has medieval roots, identifying its distinctively modern characteristics and tracing interconnections that link the Nazis to the Muslim Brotherhood to the PLO, Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, the Sudan, the Iranian Islamic Republic, and other groups with an anti-Semitic worldview. Based on his close reading of numerous Jihadist texts, Patterson critiques their antisemitic teachings and affirms the importance of Jewish teaching, concluding that humanity needs the very Jewish teaching and testimony that the Jihadists advocate destroying.
Most people understand Judaism to be the Torah and the Torah to be Judaism. However, in The Invention of Judaism, John J. Collins persuasively argues this was not always the case. The Torah became the touchstone for most of Judaism's adherents only in the hands of the rabbis of late antiquity. For 600 years prior, from the Babylonian Exile to the Roman destruction of the Second Temple, there was enormous variation in the way the Torah was understood. Collins provides a comprehensive account of the role of the Torah in ancient Judaism, exploring key moments in its history, beginning with the formation of Deuteronomy and continuing through the Maccabean revolt and the rise of Jewish sectarianism and early Christianity.
A deeply personal look at death, mourning, and the afterlife in Jewish tradition After One-Hundred-and-Twenty provides a richly nuanced and deeply personal look at Jewish attitudes and practices regarding death, mourning, and the afterlife as they have existed and evolved from biblical times to today. Taking its title from the Hebrew and Yiddish blessing to live to a ripe old age-Moses is said to have been 120 years old when he died-the book explores how the Bible's original reticence about an afterlife gave way to views about personal judgment and reward after death, the resurrection of the body, and even reincarnation. It examines Talmudic perspectives on grief, burial, and the afterlife, shows how Jewish approaches to death changed in the Middle Ages with thinkers like Maimonides and in the mystical writings of the Zohar, and delves into such things as the origins of the custom of reciting Kaddish for the deceased and beliefs about encountering the dead in visions and dreams. After One-Hundred-and-Twenty is also Hillel Halkin's eloquent and disarmingly candid reflection on his own mortality, the deaths of those he has known and loved, and the comfort he has and has not derived from Jewish tradition.
It is generally accepted that Jews and evangelical Christians have little in common. Yet special alliances developed between the two groups in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Evangelicals viewed Jews as both the rightful heirs of Israel and as a group who failed to recognize their true savior. Consequently, they set out to influence the course of Jewish life by attempting to evangelize Jews and to facilitate their return to Palestine. Their double-edged perception caused unprecedented political, cultural, and theological meeting points that have revolutionized Christian-Jewish relationships. An Unusual Relationship explores the beliefs and political agendas that evangelicals have created in order to affect the future of the Jews. Additionally, it analyses Jewish opinions and reactions to those efforts, as well as those of other religious groups, such as Arab Christians. This volume offers a fascinating, comprehensive analysis of the roots, manifestations, and consequences of evangelical interest in the Jews, and the alternatives they provide to conventional historical Christian-Jewish interactions. It also provides a compelling understanding of Middle Eastern politics through a new lens.
Providing a unique anthropological perspective on Jewish mysticism and magic, this book is a study of Jewish rites and rituals and how the analysis of early literature provides the roots for understanding religious practices. It includes analysis on the importance of sacrifice, amulets, and names, and their underlying cultural constructs and the persistence of their symbolic significance.
Providing an excellent overview of the latest thinking in Maimonides studies, this book uses a novel philosophical approach to examine whether Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed contains a naturalistic doctrine of salvation after death. The author examines the apparent tensions and contradictions in the Guide and explains them in terms of a modern philosophical interpretation rather than as evidence of some esoteric meaning hidden in the text.
In The Other Judaisms of Late Antiquity the late Alan F. Segal is at his very best. This reissued and expanded editionanow containing his celebrated "Heavenly Ascent in Hellenistic Judaism, Early Christianity, and Their Environment"adelineates the variegated nature of both Judaism and Christianity in their formative periods. As Segal demonstrates, it is more accurate to speak of Judaisms and Christianities. Through his deft deployment of social-scientific methods and due attention to Jewish primary sources from the Second Temple period, Segal is able to trace the intricate, internecine struggles among Jewish, Christian, and gnostic communities in the earliest days of the Common Era. In doing so, Segal masterfully validates the importance of inductive historical reconstruction and analytical comparative study for illuminating the complex religious world of the first three centuries.
This book is both a themed volume on translation and a Festschrift for Leonard J. Greenspoon, the Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Professor in Jewish Civilization and professor of classical and near Eastern studies and of theology at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Professor Greenspoon has made significant contributions to the study of Jewish biblical translations, particularly the ancient translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, known as the Septuagint. In this volume, an internationally renowned group of scholars presents a wide range of essays on Bible translation, the influence of culture on biblical translation, Bible translations' reciprocal influence on culture, and the translation of various Jewish texts and collections, especially the Septuagint.
Maimonides was the greatest Jewish philosopher and legal scholar of the medieval period, a towering figure who has had a profound and lasting influence on Jewish law, philosophy, and religious consciousness. This book provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to his life and work, revealing how his philosophical sensibility and outlook informed his interpretation of Jewish tradition. Moshe Halbertal vividly describes Maimonides's childhood in Muslim Spain, his family's flight to North Africa to escape persecution, and their eventual resettling in Egypt. He draws on Maimonides's letters and the testimonies of his contemporaries, both Muslims and Jews, to offer new insights into his personality and the circumstances that shaped his thinking. Halbertal then turns to Maimonides's legal and philosophical work, analyzing his three great books--Commentary on the Mishnah, the Mishneh Torah, and the Guide of the Perplexed. He discusses Maimonides's battle against all attempts to personify God, his conviction that God's presence in the world is mediated through the natural order rather than through miracles, and his locating of philosophy and science at the summit of the religious life of Torah. Halbertal examines Maimonides's philosophical positions on fundamental questions such as the nature and limits of religious language, creation and nature, prophecy, providence, the problem of evil, and the meaning of the commandments. A stunning achievement, Maimonides offers an unparalleled look at the life and thought of this important Jewish philosopher, scholar, and theologian.
Within this close textual analysis of the Babylonian Talmud, Yishai Kiel explores rabbinic discussions of sex in light of cultural assumptions and dispositions that pervaded the cultures of late antiquity and particularly the Iranian world. By negotiating the Iranian context of the rabbinic discussion alongside the Christian backdrop, this groundbreaking volume presents a balanced and nuanced portrayal of the rabbinic discourse on sexuality and situates rabbinic discussions of sex more broadly at the crossroads of late antique cultures. The study is divided into two thematic sections: the first centers on the broader aspects of rabbinic discourse on sexuality while the second hones in on rabbinic discussions of sexual prohibitions and the classification of permissible and prohibited partnerships, with particular attention to rabbinic discussions of incest. Essential reading for scholars and graduate students of Judaic studies, early Christianity, and Iranian studies, as well as those interested in religious studies and comparative religion.
First published in 1991. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
The recovery of 800 documents in the eleven caves on the northwest shores of the Dead Sea is one of the most sensational archeological discoveries in the Holy Land to date. These three volumes, the very best of critical scholarship, demonstrate in detail how the scrolls have revolutionized our knowledge of the text of the Bible, the character of Second Temple Judaism, and the Jewish beginnings of Christianity.
A revealing look at the Jewish American encounter with Buddhism Today, many Jewish Americans are embracing a dual religious identity, practicing Buddhism while also staying connected to their Jewish roots. This book tells the story of Judaism's encounter with Buddhism in the United States, showing how it has given rise to new contemplative forms within American Judaism-and shaped the way Americans understand and practice Buddhism. Taking readers from the nineteenth century to today, Emily Sigalow traces the history of these two traditions in America and explains how they came together. She argues that the distinctive social position of American Jews led them to their unique engagement with Buddhism, and describes how people incorporate aspects of both into their everyday lives. Drawing on a wealth of original in-depth interviews conducted across the nation, Sigalow explores how Jewish American Buddhists experience their dual religious identities. She reveals how Jewish Buddhists confound prevailing expectations of minority religions in America. Rather than simply adapting to the majority religion, Jews and Buddhists have borrowed and integrated elements from each other, and in doing so they have left an enduring mark on the American consciousness. American JewBu highlights the leading role that American Jews have played in the popularization of meditation and mindfulness in the United States, and the profound impact that these two venerable traditions have had on one another.
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